Tool for studying mountains worldwide

December 22nd, 2017, Published in Articles: PositionIT

A new tool that gives users a highly detailed view of the world’s mountains is now available from the US Geological Survey (USGS). The Global Mountain Explorer can help a variety of users – from scientists to resource managers and policy makers – seeking information about these prominent yet often understudied landscapes. Mountains occupy anywhere from 12 to 31% of the land surface of the Earth, and provide significant water, timber, and mineral resources, and food, fibre, and fuel products. Mountain areas are also home to diverse ecosystems and wildlife, and these landscapes are also prone to natural hazards.

An example display from the Global Mountain Explorer tool showing a map of mountains on top of a satellite image background.

An example display from the Global Mountain Explorer tool showing a map of mountains on top of a satellite image background.

The USGS developed the Global Mountain Explorer in partnership with Esri and three organisations at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Users can select an area by zooming in or by typing a place name to view its elevation and type. They can also select from a number of backdrops, such as satellite images, topographic maps or political boundary maps, on which to display the different types of mountain classes. The tool was developed as part of a Group on Earth Observations initiative to accurately delineate mountain regions using best available data. It is intended to provide information on the global distribution and a variety of mountain data with a resolution 16 times more detailed than previous mapping efforts.

Contact Roger Sayre, USGS, rsayre@usgs.gov

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