GIS services are the latest information tool for planners and decision makers to graphically represent terrain, environmental and social data. One service I recently discovered is out of Washington State, but has many BC rivers and catchments on it as well.
Ecotrust remains committed to an open development philosophy and to democratizing access to spatial analysis technologies and platforms. In 1999, we partnered to develop the Conservation GIS Starter Kit as a stand-alone workbook of tutorials, and for years, Inforain has served as a clearinghouse for data about the region.
More recently, we have joined in utilizing and promoting open-source tools for spatial analysis. We will continue to seek open, adaptive and collaborative frameworks for building an ever greater understanding of this region’s nearshore marine areas, watersheds, and agricultural and forestlands.
So what can you use this tool for? Silverman hopes that savvy types use it to inform others, and to get people thinking about their city, their neighborhood, and the natural systems that support and are affected by those developed systems. "To me, that’s an intriguing way of immediately pulling people out of their mental models, and offering an alternative one," he says. "Climate change is important on a global scale, but there are nested scales, and the watershed is one regional scale that is very important."
By building up GIS data and presenting it in web-based interfaces, communities and interested groups can get easy access to the information about the creeks and streams in their region. This service still needs many gaps to be filled in, but the future of this technology is pretty transparent.