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Map of Life
A Jabiru stork at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

MOL Blog

Building a better map (of life)

Monday, October 22, 2012

We are excited to announce a major upgrade to Map of Life! Lets walk through all the changes:

  1. An upgrade to the user interface. You’ll immediately notice one useful feature — you can easily hide most of the widgets (e.g. the search widget, the layers widget) so that you can more easily explore the maps. You can just as easily show the widget again via open/close arrows. We have also moved elements around to be more sensible, so that the species list tool and species search tool are both at the top of the mapping application, and most of the other, ancillary map controls are at the bottom. The new design really optimizes screen real-estate for looking at maps, which is what we are all about.
  2. The species list tool is much easier to use. You just need to click anywhere in the map when the tool is turned “on” and you get results. You can toggle the tool ON/OFF easily, in case you don’t want to have clicks generate list results.
  3. You should definitely click on the “dashboard” for two reasons. First, the dashboard has been completely re-designed. Our initial dashboard was a blocky table of providers and sources. The new one is a much nicer list of datasets, explaining the source of those data, the type of dataset, and number of species names and records. The very top of the dashboard provides some summary statistics over all the datasets. You can easily filter a list by using the handy text boxes also near the top of the dashboard. If you enter, for example, “Loc” into the “type” textbox, you filter just to “Local Inventories”.
  4. The second reason for clicking the dashboard is to see the 36 new datasets included in Map of Life. These new datasets include a new “type” of dataset, called a “gridded survey”. We have ten gridded survery datasets, mostly bird atlases from Africa. You can see how these gridded surveys display on Map of Life – as “cells” of different sizes representing presences from survey work. Search on an African bird taxon such as “olive sunbird” to check out these gridded products.

Map of Life is growing fast! We expect a lot more date to be made available soon and we very much hope you want to check it out again if you haven’t seen it in a while. Although the core remains the same, there are major additions and improvements across the board!