More and more people are beginning to return the sometimes neglected field of geography to understand the world of environmental change (and degradation). In the process, the skills of highly trained cartographers and geographic information specialists are in great demand. Organized as an official United Nations Environment Programme centre, the GRID-Arendal group provides public policy officials, researchers, and the curious public access to hundreds of their detailed maps via this site. As might be expected, the visual and graphic interface parts of the site are quite user-friendly, and users can view maps by themes (such as water, climate change, and biodiversity). For those looking for a random piece of information, there is the random graphic of the date offered here on the homepage. It’s a fine way to get the flavor of the site, and may also spark a new interest. One rather compelling collection is the University of the Arctic Atlas, which can be viewed in its entirety here. Using zoom features and themes that can be toggled (such as lakes, cities, protected areas), visitors can learn a great deal of information about this region of the world. As a teaching aide or as a way to bring together spatial data for research, this is a very commendable site.
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