Mapping on e-fauna bc

Crane Fly, photo © by Diane Williamson


Mapping is a significant component of E-Fauna BC and helps us visualize species distributions. On E-Fauna BC, we use dynamic interactive mapping for most groups that allows users to explore species distributions using a comprehensive centralized data set. However, we also present static maps provided by experts for some groups.

GIS Mapping:  Dynamic Interactive Mapping

Dynamic interactive GIS mapping is significant in two ways.

1) A dynamic map is one that is generated at the moment of a search and this means that the maps are based upon the most up-to-date versions of available databases--that is, they are current. We update our mapping database regularly.

2) Interactive GIS maps are more than 'just maps'--they are analytical tools that allow users control over the information they wish to view. That is, instead of simply displaying distribution, the interactive maps provide users with analytical capability. The interactive map can be used to explore a species distribution using the data layers that are provided.

Key Points About Our Interactive Mapping

  •  When using our  interactive maps, you will be viewing the distribution of a species as represented by 1) collections, 2) photo records. The maps do not represent a complete distribution of a species. Overall, they represent distribution based only on the layers you choose to display.
  • Interactive maps are aimed at user interaction. Users participate in the presentation of the map by choosing which layers to view. This gives you analytical opportunities when using the maps. Once you open the full-sized interactive map for your species, then decide which layers you prefer to view.
  • For our maps, we provide occurrence records (from collections, photo records) that you can select from, and we provide biogeographic layers that you can overlay on the maps to explore ecological components of species.
  • Layers can be turned off and on in any combination. Users can view them singly, can turn on all layers, or can turn on only selected layers.
  • Once you have selected the layers you wish to view, you can then view the data that lies behind each distribution dot.  To view the data behind our dots, just click on a dot. The associated data will be displayed in the data box on the lower right-hand side of the map.

The data layers we provide include all available databases of plant distribution in BC. This includes both collections-based and observation-based databases (e.g. the BEC and IAPP database). These databases are listed in the data box on the right hand side of the map. Details on the databases are provided below. Note that the distribution shown on our maps is only as accurate and up-to-date as the databases we use.  Each institution works to update their database and their collections identifications on an ongoing basis. New taxonomic work may or may not be reflected in a database immediately.

The maps focus primarily on species distribution in BC and the Pacific Northwest but may also provide some coverage of other regions. Pan the interactive maps to view distribution dots in other regions.


Note that sometimes our distribution maps are blank. This can happen for several reasons:

1) We do not presently have any data to display for a particular species or faunal group. This can happen for one of several reasons:

  • we have not yet found a data source to access and so cannot map the species
  • although a data source exists, the data has not yet been made available to us
  • there isn't much data available on a group because there has been very little survey work done. Funding for some groups is often non-existent

2) The data provider may not yet have databased all of their collections, so some groups may not yet be represented. We will add data for species or groups as it becomes available.

3) Blank distribution maps may also occur in E-Fauna because, while there may be collections in a museum for a species from a given region, the specimens may not have precise locality information (that is, latitude and longitude) recorded. These records cannot be mapped until this information is added to the database.

4) Blank maps may also occur where specimens might be in museum collections under other names (synonyms). We will be working over time to add more synonyms to our species databases in order to 'capture' these additional collections.


To view a list of the database used in the E-Fauna mapping, visit the How to Report Map Errors page.


Please cite these pages as:

Author, date, page title. In:   Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2017. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Date Accessed]

© Copyright 2017 E-Fauna BC.