Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mapping Human Impact on Oceans

Today's Science Times in the New York Times had an interesting piece by Andrew Revkin on the impacts of humans on the oceans. As is so often the case these days with the Times, there were some great graphics (see above). I especially liked the newsprint version of the shipping lanes map since it is a subject I've studied and written about in the past.

Without mentioning GIS by name, Revkin discusses how these maps were generated:

A paper in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science is the first effort to map 17 kinds of human ocean impacts like organic pollution, including agricultural runoff and sewage; damage from bottom-scraping trawls; and intensive traditional fishing along coral reefs.

I tried to look up the Science article referred to by Revkin, but I don't have a subscription. It is called "A Global Map of Human Impact on Marine Ecosystems," by Halpern et al., 2/15/2008, p. 948-952, in case you're interested in sleuthing it out.

Another site referred to in the Times piece is the Census of Marine Life. The available map seems to be a work in progress but it is a place to watch for marine data and info.


scw said...


I'm one of the authors of the paper, and the primary geographer. Just to let you know, the paper and detailed information how we created the layers is available through our NCEAS website -- we have all the data layers online, and a direct link to the paper which is accessible to non-subscribers.

Shaun Walbridge

Meg said...

Terrific! Thank you for the link, Mr. Walbridge. I wish I had seen this site before. Not only do you have the link to the Halpern, et al., Science article that I couldn't get to, but there is a great link to the marine impact KML that launches Google Earth. Thanks for writing!