New map resource for Earth scientists

Researchers at Cornell University have been compiling digital maps of a wide range of data for the last 8 years.  The Digital Earth project’s web site is http://atlas.geo.ecornell.edu .  There, it is possible not only to download various data sets for use in a GIS, and to track down primary sources for data, but also to build your own maps.  Digital Earth comprises over 100 data sets, on global, regional and North American scales, that include geographical, geological and geophysical themes.  The mapping tool takes a while to get used to, and runs slowly with a 56k connection, but should behave well with broadband access.  I tested the tools by creating a geological map of NE Africa.  This was pleasingly up to date and showed moderate detail, but the lack of a legend is something of a drawback.  Understandably, the level of stratigraphic division is limited, so that all Precambrian areas appear in the same colour.  Similar detail is not yet available for Europe, only a coarser resolution world geology data set covering it.  Downloads are in either Postscript or jpeg form, the latter suffering from artefacts generated by compression.   This is a site well worth a visit.

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