Welcome, Early Adopters

A website shouldn’t just sit there; it should do something. LandScope America does something. It lets you explore information about natural places through an interactive map viewer that works in very powerful and interesting ways. Here are a few things you should know to get started exploring via the map viewer.

Base maps are background image tiles for the map. Your base map choices (the buttons on the top right of the map viewer) are Street, Satellite, or Hybrid. Themes are the spatial data content that overlay on top of the base map. Your theme choices are Conservation Priorities, Protected Areas, Threats, Plants and Animals, and Ecosystems (use the Select Theme button). Each theme automatically displays several thematic layers—different data sets relevant to that theme. Layers from any theme can be overlaid and viewed together (“mixed and matched”) using the Customize Theme button.

Here’s another cool feature: the map viewer isn’t just for accessing spatial data; it also is the fastest way to find stories, photos, and other related content for any place. Notice the column on the right-hand side of the map viewer, which we call the “right rail”. Under the Explore Related Items header, you’ll see tabs for Sights and Sounds, Words, and Map Data. The content displayed here changes dynamically depending on where you are on the map! Zoom in from a national view down to central Colorado, for example, and only the photos, videos, stories, and other related items relevant to central Colorado are listed on the right rail. Zoom back out, and you’ll see a different set of related items. You can pop open these items in two ways: either by clicking on thumbnails in the right rail, or by mousing over the symbols on the map.

One of the things we’re working on right now is developing a tutorial that will provide a graphical tour of the features of the map viewer. But we didn’t want to make things too easy for you early adopters!

- Rob Riordan

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