Like many LERCs, GCER is looking to increase its online presence to offer more services for data users. Back in April we contacted ecological consultants who regularly use our data searches, to find out what they feel about this and how we might improve our outputs. We are grateful to the 27 consultants who took the time to answer the detailed Survey Monkey questionnaire which asked a range of questions about our current and potential data searches. Some of the findings:
- all but one of the 27 respondents had used other LERCs as well as GCER
- half (52%) have used online data search forms and outputs as well as printed or emailed results
- 3 respondents often used online payments for searches and 3 occasionally - but the majority have never paid directly online
- around one quarter (26%) had never got data directly from the National Biodiversity Network, but over a third had (36%), at least for species data
- GCER's "answers to general queries", "data analysis" and "interpretation" services were less-often used, but all scored as "good" or "excellent"
- "species lists", "maps" and "standard data search reports" were used by most of the respondents and were mostly graded as "good" or "excellent", but some thought these services to be "patchy" in usefulness, especially the printed maps.
The general response was positive, with several consultants praising Rob's helpfulness and prompt response to queries. We got lots of valuable constructive comments, particularly about how online services could be useful - and how not - and how the tricky task of mapping species records might be improved.
Many thanks to everyone who did this survey - it's much appreciated. The results will help us to develop a better service with the limited resources available.