Mapmakers take action on climate change

A showcase of projects on climate change projections, impacts, drivers, action and reduction

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Nov 9, 2021

Mapmakers take action on climate change

A showcase of projects on climate change projections, impacts, drivers, action and reduction

Guest

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Nov 9, 2021

Mapbox is committed to climate action across our operations, in navigation and logistics products, and especially in support of everyone using location tools to address the climate crisis. 

Read on to explore the work of many of our partners who are using maps to visualize climate projections and impacts, illustrate drivers of climate change, provoke political action, and help implement solutions to reduce emissions. We hope this inspires more climate-related mapping that is urgently needed. If you’re working on climate we can support your work: Connect with us on the Community team.

Hazard risk in Manila, Philippines from Project NOAH

By now, the graphs of increasing CO2 levels and temperature are very familiar. The specifics of how climate change might impact specific local places is harder to understand. Scientists have developed sophisticated models, but these are very data heavy and typically result in maps not oriented for a general audience. 

Several map makers are making climate change data more accessible. Probable Futures illustrates projected climate impact in a personal way for every person, no matter where they live in the world. FloodFactor takes climate and flood models, and assesses risk for every structure in the U.S., and Project NOAH similarly analyzes and informs on flood and storm surge hazards in the Philippines. Independent developers Sebastian Meier and Fabian Dinklage built a popular open source climate change risk map localized for Germany.

Future climate of Paris will be Mediterranean by Plus2c

Data also comes alive in strong stories. Plus2c makes climate change tangible in a very creative way, by matching the future climate of any place to another location that currently has that climate. The Kontinentalist team is producing interactive stories about climate impacts in Asia, such as how the rapidly warming Tibetan plateau is threatening water and regional security for billions of people. The LEO Network is sourcing observations and stories of environmental change from the arctic and around the world.

Supply chain of soy from Argentina by trase

Climate change is driven primarily by use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and intensive agriculture. Driving these activities is the need to source and transport materials for our global economy. Understanding these massive supply chains is essential to climate action.

The availability of production and trade data is leading to deep insights into commodity flows and impact. The Global Metabolism Initiative reports details on commodities production and environmental impacts producing regions face, and trase visualizes exactly how much product moves between nations.

Assembling this data is not straightforward but spatial data and remote sensing can help. In addition to public, global registries of palm oil mills, Palmoil.io uses satellite data and analysis of PDFs of corporate reports to find previously unknown mill sites. In Australia, the Climate Council finds and aggregates oil exploration permits from state governments across the country.

Palm oil mills linked to a refinery in Malaysia from Palmoil.io

Political action has forced decision makers in government and the private sector to bring their attention to climate change. Maps play an important role to engage concerned citizens in the political process.

The 50 Hottest Places in US Politics from Azavea

Azavea’s 50 Hottest Places links climate model data (made available by Probable Futures as Mapbox tilesets) and government data to help citizens hold elected officials to account. Fossil Free Future used maps to organize protests demanding an end to fossil fuel financing. In France, the L’Affaire du Siecle campaign by Greenpeace has helped drive legal action, including a citizen petition and publicly mapped testimonies of lived experiences of climate change.

Carbon impact of different transport modes by CO2 mobility

Solutions to drive down emissions must take many creative forms, across industry, agriculture, government and individuals. Flexport integrates emissions calculations into their shipping tools, to help drive down the significant emissions of the shipping industry. Amazon shares details of global renewable energy projects, to reach their commitment to net-zero by 2040. And at an individual level, CO2 Mobility analyzes how much farther sustainable transport choices get with less emissions.

Forestry also remains a critical part of addressing CO2. NCX and explore.land use precision maps to analyze and explain the climate benefits of reforestation and carbon forestry projects. And Ecosia turns online search and mapping activity into a solution, by using ad revenue to plant trees.

Data and maps will make a critical contribution to climate action, this is just the start. Let Mapbox Community know how we can help.

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

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