It started — as a good story should — at an Addis Abba hotel. Roger Sayre, the Senior Scientist for Ecosystems at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), had finished presenting a new map at the 2013 African GIS conference when he ran into Esri CEO Jack Dangermond.
The two started talking, and Sayre mentioned that he had been tasked with developing a high-quality global map that would detail about 4,000 ecosystems and the impacts climate change may have on them.
A little more than a year later, the USGS and Esri have released the most “data-driven” global map ever created, according to Sayre.
Using satellite technology, the map features shots of the entire globe at 250 meters resolution. To scientists working on one particular ecosystem — like the Congo or the Amazon — 250 meters may actually sound coarse, Sayre said. But when compared to other global maps, 250 meters is much better than the standard one kilometer resolution offered. This new map allows researchers and policymakers to examine data in four times the detail compared to those maps.
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Introductory Blog Post/Interview with Map Developers (via ESRI)