Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center’s Geospatial Portal
The mission of the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center is to generate and integrate knowledge and information to provide credible prediction, early detection, and quantitative assessment of environmental threats in the western United States. The Center hosts a geospatial search engine that is remarkably detailed and deserves a review in this blog.
To use the geospatial search engine, go to http://www.wwetac.us/GSE/GSE.aspx. After entering a search term such as “rivers”, you will receive results by data type and service type, such as WMS, ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS, and Shapefile. These terms and interface indicate that obviously site is designed for GIS users, and some knowledge of data formats and services is necessary before using the site. Resources are returned for more than the region of the western USA, despite the site’s name.
Sadly, this is another site where the user’s expectations are higher than the results obtained from the site. The site is somewhat unresponsive. A little persistence, and experimenting with different browsers, yields some useful results. But the main challenges to the site are that (1) there does not seem to be a browse function, so search terms need to be in mind beforehand; and (2) so much data is returned that the user needs to wade carefully through the stack, and choose search terms carefully. Still, the resource might be useful as a back up or “last resort.” Choices in data and how to obtain it are usually good things to know about.