Committing Half the Earth to nature.

Earth is experiencing a biodiversity crisis. The rate at which species are going extinct is more than 1,000 times higher than it has ever been before. To save ourselves and the irreplaceable animals, vegetation, and ecological systems we depend on, we must act now.

We’ve been working with the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Map of Life and Esri on the construction of an interactive globe depicting the diversity of life on Earth and answer E.O Wilson’s call-to-action to commit half of the planet’s surface to nature. If we conserve half the Earth, we can safeguard the bulk of biodiversity from extinction. We are working towards visualising biodiversity richness and rarity at 1km resolution globally, to inform decisions on which half to protect.

The Half-Earth Map is visualising global biodiversity on a local scale. Together, scientists, designers, user researchers, and developers are creating an experience that’s grounded in data and scientific methodology.

Visualising biodiversity.

Data collected by scientists, satellites and sensors are painting an increasingly detailed picture of our planet. The huge amount of data on the distribution of species, human encroachment, and existing conservation areas is combined using ESRI’s ArcGIS API for JavaScript. The API leverages the built-in webGL functionality of modern browsers, which utilises your computer’s graphic card computing power to render 3D scenes. This smooth technology allows users to spin, magnify and layer data smoothly, giving them a semi-immersive experience.

Educate with delight.

Presenting information in novel ways, like an interactive globe, opens up the possibility of learning something new, or gaining a fresh perspective on known facts. We believe it’s easier to inspire change when people feel joy, surprise and delight, so every detail is designed to spark curiosity and engagement. To do that, our designers collaborated with Esri’s John Nelson to create the custom, vibrant Half-Earth base map.

Tracking progress

The Half-Earth Project uses the latest science and technology to map thousands of species around the world.

We used Esri’s ArcGIS API to visualise the map and data layers.

The underlying data is carefully curated by Map of Life.

Half-Earth Map update: National Report Cards added.

Check it online.

Next project.