Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Treehugger Tuesday

International Map of Biodiversity

Scientists from Yale and the University of Colorado are creating a world-wide digital map of biodiversity called the "Map of Life".

Here is the introduction from the website:

Welcome to the Map of Life first demonstration release!

The current release allows you to explore globally the geographic distributions for any terrestrial vertebrate species (as well as North American freshwater fish). Specifically you are able to:

- Display expert range maps, point occurrence records, records from study areas such as reserves and larger regions. These are shown as layers on maps, and a layer control widget allows you to adjust ordering, visibility, etc .
- Retrieve a list of species for the vicinity of any location worldwide using the species list tool. Simply set search radius and group of interest, and right click (control-click on Macs) your mouse button on a point of the map.

This is a first demo public release, so please let us know if there are any issues or problems. The demo will work on all current browsers but we cannot guarantee backwards compatibility. Two short videos demonstrate taxonomic searches and the species list tool.

The larger vision and many of the next steps for this project are outlined in this 2012 Trends in Ecology and Evolution paper. In near-future releases, we plan to greatly increase and enhance data coverage and functionality. We will soon add more datasets for vertebrates and extend coverage to plants and invertebrates. You will be able to:

- Filter data based on characteristics such as seasonality, or date of observation
- Flag and edit distribution data and provide feedback about those edits
- Upload your own datasets, access them through their own workbench and publish them to the community
- Intersect distribution data products with environmental data such as land cover and climate
- Download redistributable products
- Retrieve more thoroughly annotated species lists
- Calculate, display and download gridded summary patterns of e.g. species richness, endemism, etc.
- Calculate different measures of species global global range size

The mid to long term goal is a modeling framework including environmental data to produce more refined, quantitative estimates of of current-day and projected future species distributions.

We appreciate your feedback on all aspects of Map of Life, especially how we can improve the experience of using the application, and the highest valued next steps based on your needs. Please feel free to click the “Feedback” tab in the application and let us know your thoughts.

Your Map of Life team

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I was really impressed with this amazing tool in the short time that I played around with it. It has incredible potential. You should check it out.

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