USGS and Esri have released a very high detailed Global Ecological Land Units (ELUs) map of the world. This very detailed ecological map with a base resolution of 250 meters, with the ecological facets characterised based on four input layers bioclimate, landform, lithology, and land cover parameters. The project was lead by Roger Sayre, Ph.D., Senior Scientist for Ecosystems, USGS, and Randy Vaughan, Manager of Content Engineering, Esri.
This is the first time a web-based, GIS ready ecophysiographic data is made available for the advantage of land managers, scientists, conservationists, developers, and the public to use for global, regional, and landscape analysis and accounting.
Access Global Ecological Land Units (ELUs) map of the world:
– The online maps application
– GIS ready map layers of ELUs – ArcGIS Online Landscape Layers Group
– Story Maps: Ecological lands units across the globe
The map was derived out of principles of big data, that enables synthesis and classification of ecologically important data layers into distinctive and meaningful geo-referenced land units at a large scale.
“ELUs and other potential ecological facet aggregations provide an accounting framework to assess ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and soil formation, as well as risks such as environmental degradation.” says Randy Vaughan.
According to Roger Sayre "While ELUs do not definitively characterize ecosystems at multiple scales, they do provide information and pointers to the ecological patterns of the globe. They will be useful for constructing research agendas and for understanding global processes such as climate change.”