A Map is Worth a Thousand Words

GLF 2017 Blog Competition
Alexander Watson

My experience is that it is difficult to describe a reforestation project to an investor so that they get a clear and complete picture of the project. Reforestation is always embedded in a dynamic landscape and all project components have a visual, time, and spatial dimension. Therefore, a project story is more than a linear structured report.

Maps are a suitable tool to provide an idea of the spatial distribution of the project components. Whereas photos and videos can provide visual insights right from the field, like showing planted trees, involved smallholders, as well as deforestation threats.  Further, written reports can help to achieve better understanding of project settings such as political and social circumstances, and the development over time.

We believe that an interactive web map is a powerful tool to bring together various thematic maps, photos, videos, monitoring data, as well as text descriptions. The interconnection of all media makes it easy to guide a visitor through all dimensions of the projects virtual space.

Now I want to show how already a few web map views and a short description can guide a visitor through the project story. We have selected typical questions which might be asked by interested externals (investors).

Where is the project located?

The project is located in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

How has the surrounding landscape changed over the recent years?

Two satellite images, one from 2000 on the left side and one from 2015 on the right side, show the status of the forest cover. With the help of an interactive swipe functionality they can be compared.

The reddish coloring on the satellite maps show deforested areas caused by the establishment of palm oil plantations or gold mining activities. From 2000 to 2015 the forest loss in the project region is about 60.000 hectares.

What are the key drivers of deforestation and how does the landscape look like today?

Gold mining and palm oil plantation establishment are the major drivers of deforestation in the project region.

Who are the persons involved and what are their activities?

Hundreds of plots are being reforested with a leguminous tree species by local smallholders.

What has been achieved and can it already be seen and measured?

This is how it looks before and after reforestation. Drone images taken at different points in time are overlaid to measure the reforestation success.

Maybe you have other questions the web map can answer?

Become a visitor of this reforestation project and explore the web map yourself by clicking on the following link: http://karte.fairventures.org/

If you want to learn more about the project visit the web page of Fairventures Worldwide.

We believe that interactive web maps have the potential to become a universal tool to support project communication & reporting, while telling the stories in a comprehensive and empathic way.

Only he who sees can understand and act!

Thanks for reading! ? If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more, get in contact with us (alexander.watson@openforests.com) or follow us by subscribing to our newsletter HERE

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