Celebrating Earth Day with Maps, Apps and Story Maps

Earth Day (and Earth Week for that matter) is upon us and with that we share a number of fine story maps that have been created to explain and share how we interact with and help the Earth, in particular, Earth’s climate issues and environmental concerns. This is always a fun, educational, and informative week for the Geographic community and we get a huge boost be seeing and hearing about things our clients, colleagues and users of our Admin Tools for ArcGIS Online and GEOPowered Cloud are doing to help the cause.

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.

We are reminded by Esri of the important role GIS plays on this important day.

For scientists everywhere, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a critical tool in helping them answer one of the most important scientific questions:  where.  Scientists know that location matters – and that is why so many scientists turn to GIS to help them understand and provide empirical evidence and context around the important component of where.  Spatial analysis helps connect the dots for so many current scientific quandaries – from climate change and its impact on people and places to how epidemics and outbreaks spread throughout a community. 

As scientists gather around the world on Earth Day to call attention to the importance of strong science as we work together as a global community to better understand and interact with the world we share, these are some of the latest Story Maps Esri has created which use location to help people better understand complex issues many of you around the World are working to resolve.

·         Policy Workbench for Arctic Spatial Data Pilot Project:  The Policy Workbench is a comprehensive demonstration app that can help policy makers better understand Pan-Arctic issues. The web mapping app was created for the Open Geospatial Consortium Arctic Spatial Data Pilot Project, an initiative by the US Geological Survey and Natural Resources Canada designed to demonstrate the value of enhanced spatial data sharing among organizations.  Built using Esri Story Maps, the app enables analysis of Arctic food security issues, including how environmental changes are threatening traditional food sources like caribou.  It has maps showing different aspects of store-bought and traditional food.  The maps illustrate locations of major retail food stores and their spatial density, transportation routes, 30 years of Landsat imagery, the polar area covered by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna working group of the Arctic Council, and local language areas.

arctic spatial data project

·         Climate Migrants:   The Climate Migrants Story Map depicts how climate change is already displacing people, with examples in Alaska, Louisiana, and Pacific islands. It spotlights the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta in Bangladesh and India as a heavily populated region facing grave threats from climate-change-induced sea level rise and severe storms. Citing a new study by the Wilson Center, it explains how climate change has been a factor in Darfur and Syria, two recent conflicts that forced millions of people from their homes. Although causes and impacts of conflicts like these are complex, climate change is one of the underlying causes of these crises, a phenomenon that will likely occur more frequently in the future.

·         Protected Lands:  For the first time ever, the US Geological Survey is compiling all of the protected lands and waters of the United States into a single Protected Lands Database of the U.S.  The America’s Protected Areas Story Map helps illustrate some significant data – for instance, that National Parks (likely the most well known method of protecting lands) cover only 3.4% of the country; while 24% of the nation’s land area is under some form of protection.  However, protected status means many things:  the western lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management allow for grazing, coal mining, and oil and gas production; some National Forests allow for lumbering on their lands; and some marine protected areas allow for fishing.

Have you created and shared  a map or Story Map to address a Global concern this Earth Day? Please do share it with us in a comment below of via a tweet to @geojobegis

For more about Earth Day (April 22, 2017) see http://www.earthday.org/

For more about creating a Story Map see https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/

See also the following about Story Maps:

GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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