Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Forests of Europe

EU Forest is an impressive interactive Google Map showing the location of over half a million trees in Europe. The map plots the EU-Forest dataset, compiled by Achille Mauri, Giovanni Strona & Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz.

Forests cover around 33% of land in Europe and this interactive map provides a fantastic visualization of which countries have dense forest cover and which countries have very few trees. The map includes a number of quick links which allow you to view the forest cover in individual European countries.

When comparing individual countries on this map you should consider that the data may not be complete. For example on the map Belgium appears to have very little forest cover. Belgium is a very densely populated country and indexmundi reports that the amount of land covered by forests in 2016 was 22.58%. That is a long way below the European average but not enough for the country to look so comparatively sparse on this map. For example according to indexmundi the UK only has 13.07% forest land cover. On this map, however, it appears to have much more forest cover than Belgium.

Putting these problems with the data aside this map is an impressive technical visualization of a very large dataset. Plotting half a million points on an interactive map doesn't come without its technical challenges. In this case the challenge was met by using the Google Maps API and You can read more about how this was achieved on Visualizing More than 500,000 Trees using Google Maps and

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