Ecosystem maps & SRTM (30m) derivatives

Published: Oct 20 2008

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is collaborating with global and African non-governmental agencies to develop a consistent and innovative classification and mapping of African terrestrial ecosystems at a finer spatial resolution than any previous characterization for the continent.

GEOSS Ecosystems Mapping model The standardized African ecosystems mapping project integrates the best existing, continentally-comprehensive data for bioclimate regions, biogeographic regions, landforms, soil moisture, lithology, and land cover.  The approach to mapping Africa’s terrestrial ecosystems builds upon prototype efforts in South America and the United States. It represents a regional (Africa) response to the charge of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) task EC-06-02, “the development of a robust, standardized, and practical global ecosystem classification and map”.

The products from this effort will be made public-domain accessible through the SERVIR-Africa portal, GEO web portal, and other outlets.  In addition, customized, user-defined ecosystems for any geography of interest will made possible by the provision of the input datasets, which can be recombined with different weights or other inputs. 

One of the input datasets is the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Level 2 (30-m) resolution digital elevation model. The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has allowed the USGS to secure, process, and release a set of derivative products at 1 arc-second (30m) resolution (i.e., drainage basins, slope, aspect, flow accumulation, flow direction, hillshade, and shaded relief).

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