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:
- My Treehugger Tour 2010 route map
- A map of the mountains I climbed to collect vegetative data for my masters thesis
- A basic map of sites where I took genetic samples of Impatiens glandulifera for a project
- 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!