New Crowdsourced Forest Maps Offer Unique Insights

by | Mar 31, 2015


This is the second version of the map that was calibrated using regional and country-level forest statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization, making it more useful for economic modeling. Image courtesy of IIASA Geo-Wiki, Google Earth.

Austria's International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) mapped global forest cover with its crowdsourcing Geo-Wiki team. The new maps show the location and extent of forests for ecology, climate change and economic modelling as well as provide insight to researchers looking for the best reference information to estimate deforestation and forest degradation.

The new maps rely on a combination of recent multisensory remote sensing data, statistics and crowdsourcing, says Dmitry Schepaschenko, the study's lead author. By combining different data sources, and incorporating the input of trained citizen scientists, we were able to produce new maps that are more accurate than any existing data source.

The study produced two global forest maps, both at 1-kilometer resolution. The first map was developed from eight different data sources and relied on a network of citizen scientists to check or validate land-cover classifications based on high-resolution satellite imagery of different locations. The second map was calibrated further using regional and country-level forest statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The maps, published in the journal Remote Sensing of the Environment, are available for free on the Geo-Wiki Web site. The two maps were produced for 2000, and the team plans an update for 2010.

Read more here.



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