Arctic GIS Workshop Poster Abstract
A Framework for a Four-dimensional Web-based Circumpolar Arctic Geobotanical Atlas
The Circumpolar Arctic Geobotanical Atlas is a collection of maps and supporting documentation from throughout the arctic regions of the world. These maps represent the collaboration of a many scientific researchers who have worked in the Arctic over the last thirty years. At present, it brings together information from three primary sources:
At present the maps in the Atlas are images that can be viewed on the website: http://www.neaml.uaf.edu/. While most of the maps available in the Atlas were created by us or one of our direct affiliates, some were not. For those maps created by separate groups/agencies, you will find links to their home pages and email addresses below the maps so that you may contact them with requests for data or further questions. In the near future, we plan to make this an Interactive GIS site with the capabilities to overlay and query any of these maps online. For purposes of this atlas, the Arctic is defined as the tundra phytogeographic zone beyond of the northern climatic limit of trees.
The atlas has a four-dimensional framework that allows users to select the following: (I) the region of interest (the horizonatal dimension); (II) the scale of interest (the vertical dimension); (III) the topic or theme of interest (the depth dimension); and (IV) the year of interest (the time dimension). Most areas of the Arctic do not have databases for all these dimension, but the framework allows additions as new databases become available.
The horizontal dimension determines the location of the map of interest, which can be initially identified by reference to either an location index or by clicking on a series of maps at successively finer scales starting at the circumpolar scale. The vertical dimension represents the hierarchy of scales available in the Atlas. This can vary from region to region within the Arctic, but for some areas in Alaska, particularly the Kuparuk River region, there are as many as 8 scales available, ranging from plot-level databases, that display individual plant species in small 1 x 1-m plot to the circumpolar scale.
The depth dimension represents the variety of themes or map attributes that are available for a given area and scale of map. Example attributes include vegetation, surficial geology, bedrock geology, soils, percent water cover, topography, and remotely-sensed digital spectral data. Shown here are themes available for the Toolik Lake Grid (original map scale, 1:500). Each map contains a legend and supporting information. Eventually, each legend item will be linked to a description of the unit with photographs.
The time dimension deals with maps thaw explore the changes occurring over time in selected areas, where there are multiple years of geobotanical and infrastructure information. This information is important for understanding what has occurred especially in areas of intensive development, and can help in planning for the future. It is especially useful in assessing the cumulative impacts of development.