Thursday, February 19, 2015

The US Geological Survey publishes the most detailed map in the world

The US Geological Survey has published a global ecosystems map which it says is the most detailed in the world.
The map is an interactive mosaic of 3.5 billion cells, detailing more than 40,000 unique ecological areas based on four different factors that determine the make-up of an ecosystem – bioclimate, landforms, rock type and land cover. Cartography nuts can use the browser to click on any spot of the map to be given a description of the ecosystem in that exact location as well as scroll through a selection of places the USGS has picked out for special mention (see examples below). The Association of American Geographers, which developed the new map with the USGS, explains it was created to allow scientists, land managers, conservationists, developers, and the public “to improve regional, national, and global resource management, planning, and decision making”. 

You can view the map here, and read a blog post about the research behind it here.