Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mapping Life on Earth


The Map of Life is an impressive attempt to map life on Earth.

Using the application it is possible to click on a Google Map and get a list of all the different types of bird, fish, reptile, amphibian or mammal that live in a set radius around that location. For example, if I click on my address the map returns a list of 168 different types of bird and 32 different types of mammal.

It is also possible to use the map to view the worldwide habitats of different species. If you enter the name of an animal species the map will shade in the areas of the world that the animal inhabits.


The USA National Phenology Network's Phenology Visualization Tool helps monitor the influence of climate on the phenology of plants, animals, and landscapes in the U.S..

The site allows users to select a plant or animal and view where that species has been reported on a Google Map. It is then possible to view an animation of the species' phenology (phenology refers to recurring plant and animal life cycle stages) through time.

It is also possible to view climate data on the same map. Users can view maximum temperature, minimum temperature and precipitation either by month or annually. If you animate species data through time, with climate visible, you will see the climate data on the background change alongside the phenology data.


The Atlas of Living Australia is the public face of a $64.7 million initiative, funded over 6 years by the Australian Government. Using the Atlas users can find, access, combine and visualize data on Australian plants and animals. It aims to enable any user to quickly locate and access information on all aspects of Australian biodiversity.

The website uses Google Maps to allow users to search, analyse and combine biodiversity and environmental data geographically. The Species Map allows you to search for species by common or scientific names. Occurrences are then mapped as points or as numbered cluster markers. Clicking on the map at a particular location returns a query on how many occurrences of particular species are in a 10km radius from the selected point.

The application comes with a long list of contextual layers. All are well referenced to metadata with auto-generated legends for easy identification of what various color scales mean. Created maps can be saved as images for further reuse.


The Web of Life provides a Google Maps based interface for easily visualizing and downloading data on ecological networks of species interactions.

The map displays circular markers where ecological networks are located. The color of the markers indicates the type of ecological interaction of the network. Red markers show pollination and yellow markers seed dispersal. If you left-click on a marker you can view information about the network, including the number of species, number of interactions and the name of the species.


The OBIS-Seamap uses Google Maps to show the distribution and the ecology of marine mammals, seabirds and sea turtles across the globe.

It is possible to search and view data on the map for a number of different marine species. It is also possible to filter the data shown on the map by taxon group; 'sea bird', 'sea turtle' or 'marine mammal'.
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