http://www.globalforestwatch.org/(reviewed in CHOICE November 2014).
[Visited Aug’14] Global Forest Watch (GFW), currently in beta phase, is a dazzling, open data website that aims to monitor deforestation worldwide. With partners like Google, the Jane Goodall Institute, and UNEP (among many others) and “convened by the World Resources Institute,” GFW will impress visitors with its beauty and obvious value. In order to provide “near-real-time” access to information like logging practices, GFW uses satellite images and provides a hub for local communities to upload photos and report illegal deforestation by use of smartphones and GPS mapping. The goal is to track these events as they happen, instead of months or even years later. Unfortunately, it is not possible for all the maps to be updated instantly. Users must agree to a lengthy terms of service agreement before entering the site, ensuring that they understand the limitations of the data presented.
Technology-adept users will find GFW extremely intuitive. Users begin with a 2-D map featuring multiple overlays; displays can be selected from sections such as Forest Change, Forest Cover, Forest Use, and Conservation. Data can be limited by years, ranging from 2001 to 2013. The Countries section contains more in-depth information. The site also features stories about deforestation, a blog prepared by the GFW team, and an alert service. GFW is rightfully confident of its benefits, providing a detailed plan of how the site can be utilized. Significantly, GFW clearly identifies the sources of the information retrieved, supporters of the site, and funding sources. Brief tutorials and FAQs offer additional information. Nearly everyone can find a use for this site and the inestimable data within–whether as a teaching tool or as a primary source for research. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic, general, and professional library collections.”
–C. M. Woxland, Utah State University
Copyright 2014 American Library Association