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An Introduction To Using Google Earth As A GIS Data Layer Viewer For Conservation Practitioners

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Published on Aug 31, 2012

This video provides an introduction to the concept of using Google Earth as a data layer viewer to allow GIS Specialists to share spatial data with conservation practitioners who may have little experience, knowledge or access to specialist GIS software.

It does this by presenting two case studies, one from a research station in the Peruvian Amazon (the Manu Learning Centre), and a second looking at the ranges of a poorly known family of cetaceans (the Digital Beaked Whale Atlas).

This talk was originally presented at 18:00 on the 31st of August 2012 at the European Congress on Conservation Biology (ECCB).

Conference Abstract For This Talk:

Using Google Earth To Bridge The Gap Between GIS Specialists And Conservation Practitioners

Colin D. MacLeod (1), Andrew Whitworth (2), Ross C. MacLeod (2),

1 - GIS In Ecology, Glasgow, UK.
2 - Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK.

GIS has become a powerful tool in conservation biology. However, its use is limited by the cost of software licences and a lack of technical expertise amongst many conservationists. This creates a barrier to the flow of spatially-explicit information from GIS specialists to conservation practitioners who could benefit from using it to inform their decision-making. Google Earth is a powerful, freely-available mapping tool that is already widely used by conservation practitioners. Here we use two case studies to demonstrate how Google Earth can be used to allow conservation practitioners without GIS training to access data generated by GIS specialists . Firstly, we show how GIS data layers created for a tropical forest biodiversity survey project at the Manu Learning Centre in the Peruvian Amazon have been converted into a Google Earth compatible format to allow data sharing with staff, volunteers and local people. Secondly, we show how Google Earth is being used to provide marine managers and conservationists with the most up to date information on the global distribution of beaked whales. Through these examples, we demonstrate the power of using Google Earth to bridge the gap between GIS specialists and non-GIS users who would benefit from accessing spatial data.

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