Conservation tools for all: Map builders at the World Conservation Congress

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Sep 2, 2021

Conservation tools for all: Map builders at the World Conservation Congress

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Sep 2, 2021

Location technology for conservation —monitoring, planning, protecting, and advocating for our planet— is improving fast. Six of our partners are sharing their latest during the IUCN World Conservation Congress this month. These mapping tools are designed to be accessible and inclusive for all, and are major contributions that help conservationists and local communities act more quickly and responsibly. Read on to learn about their work.

Mangrove extent in Senegal, Global Mangrove Watch

Real-time monitoring data for all: Global Mangrove Watch

Mangroves are critical habitats for aquatic species, and provide livelihood for and protect millions of people.The Global Mangrove Alliance has built the Global Mangrove Watch platform to provide near real-time information on how mangroves are changing, including high-resolution data on topography, soil conditions and hydrology. The platform provides coastal and park managers, policymakers, and communities with the evidence they need to respond to illegal logging, pinpoint the causes of local mangrove loss, and track restoration progress.

See the work of the Global Mangrove Alliance at multiple IUCN sessions, including restoration successes and the State of the World’s Mangroves report.

Conservation scenario modeling in Botswana with Marxan Cloud

Collaborative spatial conservation planning: Marxan Cloud

Conservation planning requires joining a huge amount of data together, and complex modeling to identify the most important places to protect and restore. Marxan is the leading conservation planning software and is now coming to the cloud as an accessible, collaborative platform for government, industry, and local communities to co-develop and communicate conservation plans. Marxan Cloud is built by a coalition of partners, including Microsoft, The Nature Conservancy, and  Vizzuality, and powered by Mapbox. 

Marxan’s session on September 6 will introduce the new tool and discuss how to make evidence-based spatial planning more democratic, repeatable, and credible.

Combining real-time data streams in EarthRanger (Image: Grumeti Fund)

Applied conservation at scale: EarthRanger

EarthRanger is used by protected area managers and wildlife advocates around the world to make informed operational decisions across vast landscapes. The software solution, built with Mapbox GL JS, combines real-time data from ranger patrols, remote sensing or imaging, and diverse sensors and is an initiative of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

On September 4, catch the IUCN session sharing how EarthRanger and their protected area partners have succeeded in scaling the technology from individual, on-the-ground teams all the way to country-wide implementations and data sharing collaborations between protected areas across Africa.

Monitoring deforestation in palm oil production with Palmoil.io

Radical transparency in supply chains: Palmoil.io

The palm oil industry has massively complex supply chains: Just one ton of a palm oil derivative like stearic acid likely contains palm oil from hundreds of mills supplied by thousands of plantations. As a result, it is difficult for any company to guarantee that their products use only deforestation-free palm oil. Palmoil.io is the first independent monitoring system to provide an industry-wide view of palm oil producers. Built by MapHubs, Palmoil.io provides map-driven, actionable insights and tailored reports to help companies to avoid buying from or investing in plantations that are causing deforestation and habitat loss —a key topic at IUCN this year.

Waorani activist Oswando Nenquimo speaking about MAPEO at Mapbox (Image: Kersh Branz)

Geospatial tools by and for Indigenous Peoples: Digital Democracy

Indigenous peoples and local communities are effective stewards of nature, yet they frequently lack consistent and timely access to the data, technologies, and resources necessary to effectively uphold their land rights and monitor for threats to the nature they safeguard. MAPEO is a free digital toolset for community-led mapping and monitoring built by Digital Democracy in collaboration with Indigenous partners in the Amazon, and a key part of the new Earth Defenders Toolkit.

In an IUCN panel session on September 4th, learn how Digital Democracy and allies are spearheading the Indigenous mapping movement. Also at IUCN, Digital Democracy's partner Amazon Conservation Team is launching a new storytelling map about efforts to protect the Guiana Shield.

Community-generated data in the Congo Basin Community Atlas

Decolonizing conservation: Rainforest Foundation UK

Alongside the IUCN Congress, an alternative event on September 2 and 3 ‘Our Land Our Nature’ hosted by Rainforest Foundation UK and partners is a platform for Indigenous Peoples and local communities excluded from Global Biodiversity Framework negotiations. Many Western-dominated approaches to conservation result in exclusion of and damage to local communities, but initiatives like the Congo Basin Community Atlas offer alternative approaches that respect human rights and the environment.


Thank you to all our partners who are advancing conservation technologies around the world. If you are building with location tools to support inclusive and responsible conservation, connect with the Mapbox Community team to partner with us.

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Maps feature data from Mapbox © Mapbox, OpenStreetMap © OpenStreetMap and their data partners, including Maxar (if applicable, © Maxar).