The MAPA Project exists in large part to help conservationists make the work they do, the wildlife they protect, and the problems that they care about, more visible.
As far as problems are concerned, few would argue that rhino poaching occupies a very central place on the conservation agenda at the moment.
With seemingly insatiable demand for rhino horn in Asia, rhino deaths at the hands of poachers rose sharply in 2011, and soared in 2012. But see for yourself: we created an interactive Fusion Table map of SANParks’ tally, which they released earlier this week. Click on the polygons to explore the situation in each of South Africa’s nine provinces, and in the Kruger National Park.
Rhino poaching is a difficult problem, but there can be no denying that a lot of organisations are doing wonderful work, tackling it from many different angles. Some run awareness campaigns in Asia, others lobby governments, and others yet help kit out and support anti-poaching rangers.
While it’s great that so many organisations are throwing their weight behind the issue, the general public is often lost when it comes to knowing exactly where to direct their money, and attention. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that they could find out exactly who was doing what, and where they were doing it?
We think that we can create exactly such a resource…with your help.
All you have to do is to add your project here, and whatever you add will appear both on our Google Earth conservation layer and searchable Google map. Not only will anyone looking for information on rhinos be able to find you on the map, but you can also create a custom map of the information that you care about by downloading your search results to Google Earth.
But our map is not the only way we help conservationists make their work visible.
Did you know that (without having to be a programmer) you can create a similar map from your own data, using a free tool called Fusion Tables? (Here’s a tutorial if you would like to try).
Over the last couple of years, we’ve increasingly used free Geo tools like Google Earth, Google Maps and Fusion Tables to create and help create data stories for our own project, and for other conservationists that we work with….and we’d like you to get the most out of these tools too!
If you have a story, animation or mapping project that you would like to include in the MAPA Google Earth layer, a report or your website, it can probably be done quite quickly using these online tools. If you prefer to explore and learn on your own, head over to the Google Earth Outreach site to get started. Otherwise, tell us what you want to do and we’ll help, or at least point you in the right direction.
We look forward to hearing from you!