Later is Now

For the past two years, a project team from NatureServe, National Geographic Maps, and several state partner organizations have been working to build the website that you see here.  We have aimed big, and it has been a fascinating challenge. Now, we’re far enough along that we are ready to share the results with you. Knowing that we have much work still to do, we humbly label this as LandScope America Beta.

The technical challenges in integrating multiple types of geo-referenced content into a dynamic map viewer are daunting, so let me acknowledge upfront that as you explore the website, you’ll surely find pages that aren't complete, images that may seem out of place, and aspects of the map viewer that need fine tuning.

That being said, we feel it’s important to get feedback from the users of the site as early as possible. So we trust that you’ll view and constructively criticize what you see here, in the spirit of helping us to improve it. We’ll listen closely to your comments, which will help shape how the site develops as we move from the beta version to LandScope 1.0 and beyond.

I recently heard Thomas Friedman, the author and New York Times columnist, give a talk on biodiversity, climate change, energy, and our future (more on Friedman’s talk in an upcoming posting). When it comes to facing big challenges, he said, for several decades America has been able to say “we’ll get to that later”. But no longer; the time for inaction has ended, and “later is now”. I thought that was a powerful way to put the need for conservation action into perspective. Later is now. Welcome to LandScope America.

- Rob Riordan

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