1. Why do we have overlapping and/or ‘duplicated’ protected areas?

End users of DOPA Explorer will notice in the maps and tables a non-negligible number of overlapping and/or ‘duplicated’ protected areas coming from the WDPA. This is usually the case where an area is covered by different legal designation types and/or IUCN management categories, and thus has multiple records in the WDPA. Exceptionally there may also be true duplicates that are erroneously included in the WDPA. To avoid double counting, any spatial overlaps between protected areas have been removed in the coverage statistics that one can find in the DOPA Explorer for the country and ecoregion level.

2. Why is an indicator missing for a protected area in DOPA?

The complexity of our indicators and the frequent problems encountered when processing geospatial data containing errors inevitably leads to wrong results which cannot always be easily traced. We processed large data sets for nearly 16,000 protected areas and 35,890 species and validating the information for each protected area is impossible in the short term. It is also the purpose of the forthcoming DOPA Validator to provide the experts with means to report errors and correct the information from DOPA Explorer.

3. Why is information differing between different sources

We have taken great care in generating information according to current best practice and using standard data sets and methods as documented, but one will find that information is often not similar across organisations. For a few analyses there is still little or no standardisation about the way to process the spatial data, and different choices in map projections, for example, will have an impact on the final results. We are trying to minimize these differences as far as possible by sharing experience with other organisations. In general, one would expect data provided by the countries to be more accurate (but maybe not easily comparable to other countries) than data managed by international organisations working on larger scales.

4. I find mistakes in DOPA!

Most information provided in DOPA depends on data sets produced by third parties. We are aware of a number of errors in these data sets and DOPA Explorer is also conceived to help users and data providers to spot these where possible. A number of global data sets are also seriously outdated (i.e. road maps, land cover maps, maps of lakes and water bodies, ....). We encourage everyone to contribute to the verification and validation of the information presented, and it will be the main objective of the forthcoming DOPA Validator to provide end users with means to improve the existing information.

5. Why is the access to DOPA tools often slow?

Using the DOPA Explorer, for example, requires that you have access to the internet and that our web services are capable of quickly computing your requests for data and figures that are generally computed on the fly. Access to DOPA Explorer can, under some conditions, be very slow but we are doing our best to try to provide you with a reliable service running 24h/24, any day of the year.

6. Why can I find differences between countries species statistics in DOPA with those from the IUCN web site?

The IUCN Red List is presenting countries statistics (http://www.iucnredlist.org/about/summary-statistics ) that are sometimes different from those proposed in DOPA. While DOPA is currently using exclusively statistics generated from a spatial overlay of range maps with countries, the IUCN is presenting expert based in information. IUCN assessors are required to code up all countries in which a species occurs according to extant, possibly extinct, extinct post-1500, and presence uncertain). Awaiting for an API from the IUCN Red List, we hope to provide in future both the expert-based information and the one generated from the automatic data processing.