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High-Resolution Terrestrial Biome Data

The USGS Global Ecosystems Viewer (background info here) lets you view terrestrial biome data in very fine detail, with extensive categorization levels. Coverage is currently limited to the US, but the background page indicates that the rest of North America, South America and Africa are currently being worked on. Click on the map, and get a popup detailing vegetation classification, lithology, moisture, terrain, and other data:


For this example, the Ecosystems data is:

Southern Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine Savanna (580)

Topo Moisture Potential:
Dry Uplands (3)

Land Surface Form:
Hills (6)

Surficial Lithology:
Non-Carbonate Residual Material (3)

Upper Supramediterranean Dry (51)

and the Topographic data:

2248 meters

7375 feet


102° (E)

You can also do a colored plot of any of the ecosystems parameters by themselves, like this one of the Surficial Lithology:


With a button to bring up the legend in a pop-up window:


Background imagery can be satellite photos (as in the example above) with and without borders and placenames, topographic maps (USGS 100K), or no background at all. Finally, you can order data for your current view for download in georeferenced format (UTM, Albers or geographic projection) in ArcGrid, GeoTiff or ERDAS IMAGINE formats. Data will be prepared and available for download via FTP; you get email notice of this, but there’s also a status update page you can use. When I tried it, the data was ready for download in less than five minutes.

Via Spatial Sustain.

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