The Anthropocene Review, Published Online 15 July 2014
By Andrew Zolnai
“Provision of broadly accessible and spatially referenced visualizations of the nature and rate of change in the Anthropocene is an essential tool in communicating to policy makers and to the wider public, who generally have little or no contact with academic publications and often rely on media-based information, to form and guide opinion. Three examples are used to demonstrate the use of geo-referenced data and GIS-based map compilations to provide accurate and widely accessible visual portrayals of historical processes. The first example shows the spread of Neolithic agriculture from Mesopotamia west and north across Europe over several millennia. The second plots the history of the drainage of the Fens (wetlands) in eastern England from the early seventeenth century onward. A third example illustrates one way in which releasing data in the public domain can lead to the enhancement of public data holdings.
Data posted directly on the internet (Zolnai, 2012) from sources discussed in the text: this map story has the abstract at left, the map at centre and the legend at right. It is a synoptic view putting all information in the line of sight along with its geographical context. Panning left and right or zooming in and out helps orient the reader and facilitate a better grasp of the details.
“A concluding discussion outlines ways in which the methodology illustrated may be applied to processes key to understanding the Anthropocene.”
Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2014, 5, 694–700
By Jason L. Brown
“1. Species distribution models (SDMs) are broadly used in ecological and evolutionary studies. Almost all SDM methods require extensive data preparation in a geographic information system (GIS) prior to model building. Often, this step is cumbersome and, if not properly done, can lead to poorly parameterized models or in some cases, if too difficult, prevents the realization of SDMs. Further, for many studies, the creation of SDMs is not the final result and the post-modelling processing can be equally arduous as other steps.
Illustrative overview of SDMtoolbox. Basic Tools. SDMtoolbox contains 19 basic tools for converting and batch processing shapefile and raster data.
2. SDMtoolbox is designed to facilitate many complicated pre- and post-processing steps commonly required for species distribution modelling and other geospatial analyses. SDMtoolbox consists of 59 Python script-based GIS tools developed and compiled into a single interface.
3. A large set of the tools were created to complement SDMs generated inMaxent or to improve the predictive performance of SDMs created inMaxent. However, SDMtoolbox is not limited to analyses of Maxent models, andmany tools are also available for additional analyses or general geospatial processing: for example, assessing landscape connectivity of haplotype networks (using least-cost corridors or least-cost paths); correcting SDM over-prediction; quantifying distributional changes between current and future SDMs; or for calculating several biodiversity metrics, such as corrected weighted endemism.
4. SDMtoolbox is a free comprehensive python-based toolbox for macroecology, landscape genetic and evolutionary studies to be used in ArcGIS 10.1 (or higher) with the Spatial Analyst extension. The toolkit simplifies many GIS analyses required for species distribution modelling and other analyses, alleviating the need for repetitive and time-consuming climate data pre-processing and post-SDManalyses.”