Update on Global Forest Watch
A few years ago we wrote about the geospatial data available from the Global Forest Watch from WRI. Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a dynamic forest monitoring system that provides aims to provide “timely and reliable” information about the state of the world’s forests. Using a combination of satellite imagery, open access data, and crowd sourced information, GFW builds on earlier projects such as the Forest Frontiers Initiative and the Forest Atlases. These are included in the case studies that we highlighted in our book, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, which promotes the sustainable management of forest resources.
One way to access the geospatial data available from GFW is to access the interactive map, select the layers you are interested in, and download them (shown below). The layers are organized into broad categories such as forest change, land cover, land use, conservation, and people, but the interface is easy to navigate. Besides the Graphical User Interface improvements since our first review of the site, many of the GFW layers can now be streamed via ArcGIS Online. To access the layers in this way, use the Open Data Portal and you will see the option for featured data sets or all data. At the time of this writing, 107 layers were available, many of which can be opened directly in ArcGIS Online. API links to GeoJSON URLs are also provided.
I did find a few data links, such as mining, that point to “not found” – but by and large, the site is wonderfully functional and has nicely expanded its capabilities since we first reviewed it. We would be interested in your feedback in the comments section, below.