Posts Tagged ‘nev’

Conflict conservation: Biodiversity down the barrel of a gun (Economist)

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

[Editor's note: Featuring the DMZ on the Korean peninsula and Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia) of the Indian Ocean. Both of these features can be found in Natural Earth, the free GIS map of the world.]

Republished from the Economist. Feb 8th 2010

THERE was a time when conservation meant keeping people away from nature. America’s system of national parks, a model for similar set-ups around the world, was based on the idea of limiting human presence to passing visits, rather than permanent habitation.

In recent years this way of doing things has come under suspicion. To fence off large areas of parkland is often impractical and can also be immoral—in that it leads to local people being booted out. These days, the consensus among conservationists is to try to manage nature with humans in situ. But there are still “involuntary parks”, to borrow a phrase from the writer and futurist Bruce Sterling, that serve to illustrate just how spectacularly well nature can do when humans are removed from the equation.

Some such “parks” are accidents of settlement, or its absence. Nature is preserved in those rare places that people just have not got round to overrunning—for example the Foja Mountains in western New Guinea, an area of rainforest that teems with an astonishingly rich variety of plants and animals. Others are accidents of conflict: places from which people have fled and where the fauna and flora have thrived as a result.

Continue reading at the Economist . . .

Natural Earth version 1.1 download + release notes. Free, great world GIS map data:

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

[Editor's note: I'm pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 1.1 of Natural Earth! Three months after our initial launch, the project reaches a major milestone. The download manager will be updated the next couple weeks. In the meantime, please check out the ZIP and release notes below.]

Continue reading and download the data at NaturalEarthData.com . . .

Posts for the week of March 1st

Monday, March 1st, 2010

No posts this week. I’m out and about speaking in Reno Wednesday, in SF rest of week.

However, for your viewing pleasure, Natural Earth 1.1 will be released tomorrow. Check back in this space.

The MODIS 500-m map of global land cover and urban extent (UW-Madison)

Friday, February 26th, 2010

asia_modis500m_map2

[Editor's note: With over half of humanity now living in an urban environment, this exciting new remote sensing dataset can help planners better estimate global urban sprawl. I hope to use this as a foundation to refine  Natural Earth's urban polygons and mash them up against GeoNames.org features. Thanks Annemarrie!]

Republished from UW-Madison.
Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The MODIS 500-m global map of urban extent was produced by Annemarie Schneider at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in partnership with Mark Friedl at Boston University and the MODIS Land Group. The goal of this project was generate a current, consistent, and seamless circa 2001-2002 map of urban, built-up and settled areas for the Earth’s land surface. This work builds on previous mapping efforts using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data at 1-km spatial resolution (Schneider et al., 2003; 2005), which was included as part of the MODIS Collection 4 (C4) Global Land Cover Product (Friedl et al., 2002). Here we addressed weaknesses in the first map as well as several limitations of contemporary global urban maps by developing a methodology that relies solely on newly released Collection 5 (C5) MODIS 500-m resolution data. Specifically, a supervised decision tree classification algorithm was used to map urban areas using region-specific parameters (see Schneider et al., 2009; 2010 for full details on methodology).

The intended audience for the MODIS 500-m map of urban extent is primarily the academic research community working at regional to global scales on questions related to the geophysical environment; please keep this in mind as you put the data to use.

More about the data »
Download the data »
Note: Email registration required

b. Land cover classes

In the global land cover map, the classes are defined according to the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) 17-class scheme shown in Table 1.

No.

Class name

Description

1

Evergreen Needleleaf Forest

Lands dominated by woody vegetation with a percent cover > 60% and height exceeding 2 meters.  Almost all trees remain green all year. Canopy is never without green foliage.

2

Evergreen Broadleaf Forest

Lands dominated by woody vegetation with a percent cover > 60% and height exceeding 2 meters.  Almost all trees remain green year round. Canopy is never without green foliage.

3

Deciduous Needleleaf Forest

Lands dominated by woody vegetation with a percent cover > 60% and height exceeding 2 meters. Trees shed their leaves during the dry season; e.g. Siberian Larix.

4

Deciduous Broadleaf Forest

Lands dominated by woody vegetation with a percent cover > 60% and height exceeding 2 meters. Consists of broadleaf trees with an annual cycle of leaf-on and leaf-off periods.

5

Mixed Forests

Lands dominated by woody vegetation with a percent cover > 60% and height exceeding 2 meters. Consists of mixtures of either broadleaf or needleleaf trees and in which neither component exceeds 60% of landscape.

6

Closed Shrublands

Lands with woody vegetation with a height less than 2 meters. The total percent cover, including the herbaceous understory, exceeds 60%. The shrub foliage can be either evergreen or deciduous.

7

Open Shrublands

Lands with woody vegetation with a height less than 2 meters, and sparse herbaceous understory. Total percent cover is less than 60%. The shrub foliage can be either evergreen or deciduous.

8

Woody Savannas

Lands with and herbaceous understory, typically graminoids, and with tree and shrub cover between 30-60%. The tree and shrub cover height exceeds 2 meters.

9

Savannas

Lands with an herbaceous understory, typically graminoids, and with tree and shrub cover between 10-30%. The tree and shrub cover height exceeds 2 meters.

10

Grasslands

Lands with herbaceous types of cover, typically graminoids. Tree and shrub cover is less than 10%.

11

Permanent Wetlands

Lands with a permanent mosaic of water and herbaceous or woody vegetation. The vegetation can be present in either salt, brackish, or fresh water. Only wetlands covering extensive areas (i.e., more than 500 km2) will be mapped (e.g., Sud, Okavanga, Everglades).

12

Croplands

Lands where crops comprise > 60% of the total land cover.

13

Urban Areas

See (a) above.

14

Cropland – Natural Vegetation Mosaic

Lands with mosaics of crops and other land cover types in which no component comprises more than 60% of the landscape.

15

Snow and Ice

Lands under snow/ice cover for most of the year.

16

Barren or Sparsely Vegetated

Lands with exposed soil, sand or rocks and has less than 10% vegetated cover during any time of the year.

17

Water Bodies

Oceans, seas, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Can be either fresh or salt water bodies.  Coded as 0 in the MODIS-based maps.

A tutorial for creating good layer packages (ESRI)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

[Editor's note: The 9.3.1 release of ArcGIS adds the ability to embed GIS data in layer packages for easy sharing. This blog post from ESRI steps thru how to create and leverage layer packages. Natural Earth will soon be available as a layer package!]

Republished from ESRI ArcExplorer blog.

With the release of ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 the ability to create layer packages was introduced. Layer packages encapsulate the data, cartography, and other properties of the layer as it’s authored in ArcMap (or ArcGlobe) into one easily shareable package.

Layer packages can be shared with other ArcGIS Desktop users, shared on ArcGIS Online (public beta soon), and are also supported in ArcGIS Explorer 900 along with layer files. What’s significant for Explorer users is that now the cartographic capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop can be seen using Explorer. In the past only simple rendering options were available in Explorer for local data sources, now these are expanded to include ArcGIS Desktop cartography via layer files and layer packages.

ArcGIS 9.3.1 was released not long ago, and ArcGIS Explorer 900 is currently in Beta. But since you may want to begin to create layer packages now for use in Explorer 900 when it becomes available we thought we’d cover a few basic pointers on how to create good layer packages.

We began by downloading some data and an ArcMap document (.mxd file) from the USGS. The data we downloaded was from an open file report with data from the Engineering aspects of karst map.

We downloaded the data, started ArcMap, opened the provided map document, and this is where we started. Our goal for this post was to take the karst_polys_polygon layer in the map and share it as a layer package with ArcGIS Explorer 900 users.

You can see the data (from a personal geodatabase) is already symbolized so we have a good start. But there’s a few things we want to do during the process of authoring the layer package that will ensure those we share the layer package with have the best possible experience and that we present the data in the best possible way. We think authoring is a good way to think about this process, and we’ll step you through the basics of what to consider.

Continue reading at ESRI ArcGIS Explorer Blog . . .

Cambodia rebukes Google over disputed Thai border map (AFP)

Monday, February 8th, 2010

screen-shot-2010-02-08-at-55002-pm
View Larger Map

[Editor's note: The dispute with Thailand over the Preah Vihear temple (and access) gets taken to another level. Lucky for me, doesn't register as a pixel in Natural Earth due to the scale. Thanks Craig!]

Republished from AFP.

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia has accused Internet giant Google of being “professionally irresponsible” over its map of an ancient temple at the centre of a border dispute with Thailand, a letter seen by AFP Saturday showed.

The Google map “places almost half of the Khmer (Preah Vihear) temple in Thailand and is not an internationally recognised map,” said the letter written by the secretary of state of the Cambodian Council of Ministers, Svay Sitha.

He described the map as “radically misleading”.

“We, therefore, request that you withdraw the already disseminated, very wrong and not internationally recognised map and replace it,” Svay Sitha wrote.

The complaint was made as Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen was Saturday making his first visit to the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

Cambodia and Thailand have been at loggerheads over their border for decades. Nationalist tensions spilled over into violence in July 2008, when the Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

Continue reading at AFP . . .

Adding new rivers and lakes to 10m Natural Earth in North America

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Tom and I have been busy adding 4 times the rivers and 3 times the lakes we had for North America. This adds in many “missing” hydro features that one might normally find on a 1:10,000,000 hydrologic reference map.

Why were they missing from the first version of Natural Earth? It’s hard to wade thru 1:1,000,000 features to figure which to add and an even tougher job to attribute them with the correct name and scale ranks. There’s another factor: these extra features are great if you’re making a watershed map, but can be a little noisy when used as a background layer in say a political reference map.

Cody Rice, now of the EPA but formerly of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) send along an amazing link last week. The CEC is a joint agency between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Specifically: USGS, Natural Resources Canada, INEGI-Mexico. Each country contributed base data for a 1:10,000,000 digital atlas. The data is available in many popular formats and is in the public domain. Better yet, it includes GIS data attributes like river name!

We’ve compared with our existing Natural Earth linework and identified which features were missing. For those we’re adding, we’ve adjusted the new linework a nudge here and there so it lines up with SRTM relief and our existing linework. We’ve also gone thru and created lake centerlines and applied scale ranks to all in three new steps (10, 11, and 12). We have some final polishing but will be releasing, along with some slight adjustments to the original data, by the end of January.

Do you have time to donate? Unlike ranks 0 to 9 (the original data), this new data will NOT come tapered. We’d like it to be and can show you how.

Know of a similar, attributed with name, 1:10,000,000 regional dataset we could adapt into Natural Earth to build out our coverage? Please let me know at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

Preview images below:

Red = new at rank 10. Blue = new at rank 11. Black = new at rank 12. Grey = old at ranks 0 to 9.

Click images to view larger sizes.

hydro_west_coast

hydro_mid_west

hydro_east

hydro_mexico

hydro_alaska

hydro_yukon

hydro_quebec

Updating Natural Earth Populated Places (Kelso)

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Dick Furno and I have been busy revising and expanding the populated places included with Natural Earth, released in December. We’re adding around 1,000 places to get to ~7,300 total towns and settlements around the world. We include more admin-1 capitals and make a first stab at linking to GeoNames via their unique IDs. Dick has gone over the towns and created a new 30m scale rank that helps cut the 20m clutter in half. We hope to have the update pushed out by the end of January.

Here’s a preview: Click images to see larger version

Added locations
(red = added general place, black = added admin-1 place at less than 10m scale rank, grey = existing places)

added_place_or_admin_1_capital

Scale rank changed
(red = change, grey = no change to existing or added at less than 10m scale rank)

scale_ranks

Changed the name, location, feature class, population, or other property
(blue = changes to existing features, grey = existing or added)

names_location_featureclass_population

Places with GeoName ID linkages
(green = with ID, grey = lacks ID for mostly small population settlements)

geonames_id

An autonomous Vojvodina: Exit strategy (Economist)

Friday, January 8th, 2010

ceu921[Editor's note: I'm often asked why Natural Earth has units between admin-0 and admin-1 and this week the Economist has the perfect map showing why. Vojvodina is a semi-independent region within the sovereign state and country of Serbia. It has a regional capital and is formed of admin-1 units ("states" in the US) and the "region" of Serbia proper is also formed of admin-1 units. Together they form the "country" of Serbia. You'll find these type of sub-national polygons in Natural Earth's admin-0 "details" units and map-subunits.]

Republished from the Economist.
Dec 30th 2009 | BACKA TOPOLA AND NOVI SAD

A Serbian province wins greater self-governance

SERBIAN nationalists are outraged over a new autonomy statute for Vojvodina, their northern province. Their country has in effect been shrinking for two decades, and this may be the thin end of a wedge leading to Vojvodina’s independence. After all, Kosovo and Vojvodina had equally extensive autonomy until Slobodan Milosevic scrapped it in 1989. And in February 2008 Kosovo, whose population is overwhelmingly Albanian, declared independence.

Such scaremongering is nonsense, says Bojan Pajtic, Vojvodina’s prime minister. So are comparisons with Catalonia and Scotland, where autonomy is based on language or history. Some 65% of Vojvodina’s 2m people are Serbs who have no wish for independence. Moreover, compared with the autonomy the province had between 1974 and 1989, the powers now being devolved look modest. Indeed, sceptics say what is really at stake is a battle for party power, influence and money between Mr Pajtic and Serbia’s president, Boris Tadic.

Mr Pajtic rejects such claims. What Vojvodina has gained, he says, is the ability to develop just like other European regions. But Relja Drazic, a publisher based in Novi Sad, the region’s capital, who otherwise welcomes more autonomy, sees this as grandstanding.

Most locals seem not to care much, partly because they do not know what more autonomy will mean in practice. In the past Vojvodina has seen devastating wars and big migrations that have made it one of the most ethnically mixed places in the Balkans. After the second world war, ethnic Germans were driven out and their empty villages repopulated, mainly by Bosnian Serbs. The Balkan wars of the 1990s led to more migration. Vojvodina has six official languages, including Ruthenian and Slovak.

Hungarians (some 14% of the population) comprise the biggest minority. But over the past two decades younger Hungarians have drifted back to Hungary. In the small town of Backa Topola, whose population is mostly Hungarian, Janos Hadzsy, a journalist, laments that anyone with enough brains runs away. Yet though much of Vojvodina remains poor, some parts have done well. Much of the province is flat and fertile farmland, and there is some thriving small industry as well.

Vojvodina is also home to Serbia’s most successful brand: the Exit music festival, created in 2000, which has done more than anything else to improve Serbia’s post-war image. Its manager, Bojan Boskovic, talks of turning Novi Sad into the Edinburgh of the Balkans. He is speaking of culture, not politics.

Limbo World: Countries that don’t actually exist (Foreign Policy)

Friday, January 8th, 2010

KURDISTAN: A shepherd tends to his flock in Iraqi Kurdistan. Few would-be countries have reached a happier state of limbo than this relatively stable Iraqi region.

[Editor's note: I discovered a dozen or so "countries" working on Natural Earth that exist on the ground but hardly any other nation recognizes. This article from Foreign Policy give you an arm-chair geographer's guide to several.]

Republished from Foreign Policy (which is a The Washington Post media holding)
BY GRAEME WOOD
| JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010

They start by acting like real countries, then hope to become them.

On my most recent visit to the Republic of Abkhazia, a country that does not exist, I interviewed the deputy foreign minister, Maxim Gundjia, about the foreign trade his country doesn’t have with the real countries that surround it on the Black Sea. Near the end of our chat, he paused, looked down at my leg, and asked why I was bleeding on his floor. I told him I had slipped a few hours before and ripped a hole in my shin, down to the bone, about the size of a one-ruble coin. Blood had soaked through the gauze, and I needed stitches. “You can go to our hospital, but you will be shocked by the conditions,” Gundjia said. So he pointed me to the building next door, where in about 20 minutes I had my leg propped up on a dark wooden desk and was wincing at the sting of a vigorous alcohol-swabbing by the health minister himself. I was not accustomed to such personalized government service. Fake countries have to try harder, I thought, and wondered whether it would be pressing my luck to ask for the finance minister to personally refund my vat and for the transportation minister to confirm my bus ticket back to Georgia, which is to say, back to reality.

Abkhazia, along with a dozen or so other quasi-countries teetering on the brink of statehood, is in the international community’s prenatal ward. If present and past suggest the future, most such embryonic countries will end stillborn, but not for lack of trying. The totems of statehood are everywhere in these wannabe states: offices filled with functionaries in neckties, miniature desk flags, stationery with national logos, and, of course, piles of real bureaucratic paperwork — all designed to convince foreign visitors like me that international recognition is deserved and inevitable. Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian separatist enclave within Azerbaijan, issues visas with fancy holograms and difficult-to-forge printing. Somaliland, the comparatively serene republic split from war-wasted Somalia, prints its own official-looking currency, the Somaliland shilling, whose smallest denomination is so worthless that to bring cash to restock their safes, money-changers need to use draft animals.

These quasi-states — which range from decades-old international flashpoints like Palestine, Northern Cyprus, and Taiwan to more obscure enclaves like Transnistria, Western Sahara, Puntland, Iraqi Kurdistan, and South Ossetia — control their own territory and operate at least semifunctional governments, yet lack meaningful recognition. Call them Limbo World.

Continue reading at Foreign Policy . . .