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 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 distributions in BC. This includes both
collections-based and observation-based databases (e.g. the UBC Spencer Entomological Collection
database). These databases are listed in the data box on the left 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.
While the E-Fauna BC Atlas focus is on species found in BC, with our new mapping you can now view the entire world-wide distribution of all species.
LIMITATIONS OF THE MAPPING: No Dots on the Map?
Note that sometimes our distribution maps are relatively blank. This can happen for several reasons:
1) We do not presently have any BC-specific 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.