Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mapping Natural Resources

My second bachelor`s degree from Penn State is in Geography and over the years I have been able to use GIS (computer mapping) to do some really interesting analysis of habitats or resources by putting them into a spatial context. Not only does seeing things visually make a huge impact on people, but mapping and adding a spatial component to conservation issues can largely influence decision making.

Although I have been trained in using one of the most complex and expensive GIS software programs available, ESRI ArcGIS, the most influential GIS tool at the moment is certainly Google Maps/Earth. Google has provided a free, open source platform for spatial data. This is super important!! Without Google Maps/Earth, we wouldn`t have access to some of the major mapping resources that we are now lucky enough to have at our fingertips. PLUS, it`s very easy to use. For example, I`ve made these simple maps before to convey information to people:

  1. My Treehugger Tour 2010 route map
  2. A map of the mountains I climbed to collect vegetative data for my masters thesis
  3. A basic map of sites where I took genetic samples of Impatiens glandulifera for a project
  4. A fun map of the 100 mile bike trip I took through the Florida Keys and all the places I stopped (I HIGHLY recommend you do this if you ever get a chance!! It was one of the funnest things I have ever done!)
View Florida Keys Bike in a larger map

     5. A map I made to welcome my best friend Karen to Tampa and help her find her way around

Well, I bring this all up because not only am I a complete map geek, but these maps are really fun and helpful. Here is a really amazing map that I just happened upon today while looking into some Google Maps coding information. It is a Global Conservation Map which you can play with to display threatened marine or terrestrial resources across the entire world. I applaud the Nature Conservancy scientists who made this! Great job for getting people interested and informed!

No comments: