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Esri's New ecological land units world map is some piece of work!
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“This map provides, for the first time, a web-based, GIS-ready, global ecophysiographic data product for land managers, scientists, conservationists, planners, and the public to use for global and regional scale landscape analysis and accounting,” said Roger Sayre from the USGS. “The Global ELU map advances an objective, repeatable, ‘big data’ approach to the synthesis and classification of important earth surface data layers into distinct and ecologically meaningful land units.”
The ecological land units provide a spatial accounting framework for assessments of ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and soil formation, as well as important risks such as environmental degradation. Esri has created a Story Map and custom app that allow for additional exploration and insight.
This map as well as the data layers used to create it can be explored in a new story map that introduces ecological land units. The data is available in the form of services and can enrich any GIS effort.
The collaborative partnership between Esri and USGS resulted in a dynamic online map representing the world’s ecological diversity at unprecedented detail and authority. This work leveraged quantitative methods, geographic science, and big data produced by government agencies and the scientific community. To create this map the data were processed in Esri’s ArcGIS cloud computing environment. This map provides new knowledge and understanding of geographic patterns and relationships by distinguishing the geography of the planets’ ecosystems.
To better understand the significance of the new Global Ecological Land Units (ELUs) map and the data behind it, I recently met with project leads, Roger Sayre, Ph.D., Senior Scientist for Ecosystems, USGS, and Randy Vaughan, Manager of Content Engineering, Esri.