Sunday, May 15, 2016

Maps of the Week

This week I was impressed with two story maps - one exploring the geological formation & history of North America and the other the importance of the Lancaster Sound area to wildlife and the Inuit people.

Making North America is a PBS Nova documentary film exploring the history of the geological formation of North America and how the continent's land and mountains have emerged and evolved over time.

You can now also learn more about North America, its formation and its evolution, on the PBS Nova Making North America map. Using the map you can view satellite imagery of some of North America's most distinctive geological sites and view multi-media content explaining the origins of these features during Earth's long history. Be sure to click on the flying satellite on the map to view a great tour of how some of the United States' greatest geological features were originally formed.

Tallurutiup Tariunga, otherwise known as Lancaster Sound, is the southern point of the Last Ice Area, the only area of the Arctic which is expected to retain its summer sea ice until 2050.

The World Wildlife Fund has released an interactive map of Lancaster Sound in order to raise awareness of the area's delicate ecosystem and to promote a campaign to designate the Lancaster Sound a National Marine Conservation Area. The map includes a wealth of information about the importance of the area to both wildlife and the Inuit people.

If you scroll through the 'Story' section of the map you can learn about the Sound's polar bears, whales, migratory birds and other wildlife. The 'Gallery' section allows you to watch videos of the wildlife and the area's environment. Finally the 'Explore' section of the map explains how the Inuit and local wildlife co-exist and how development could place the whole area at risk.

The Berliner Morgenpost has analysed hundreds of satellite images in order to determine Germany's greenest towns. These are Germany's Greenest Towns ranks Germany's 79 major cities in order of how much vegetation they have.

Most previous analysis of Germany's greenest cities has been determined by the amount of public parks and public recreational areas a city has, The Berliner Morgenpost has used detailed analysis of satellite imagery to provide a more accurate picture of the amount of vegetation in each city. Their analysis includes other natural areas, such as planted roofs, private gardens, urban trees and private backyards.

To analyse the satellite imagery the Berliner Morgenpost developed this EarthEngine Script. The script examines Landsat 5, Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 satellite images, with less than five percent cloud cover, taken in the summer months of June and July 2005-2015. Using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index the Berliner Morgenpost was able to determine how much greenery was present in each 30 by 30 meter square in the imagery.

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