During the initial stages of Transboundary Conservation Area (TBCA) planning, the planners often do not have access to appropriate geographical maps. Maps are a living, tri-dimensional source of knowledge—a map represents thousands of words.

Is it possible to develop a Global Atlas with selected data that would allow focus on identified conservation areas in the UNEP-IUCN WCPA’s World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) as a functional conservation planning tool during the initial phases of TBCA development?

The Transboundary Conservation Foundation made an experiment to test the usefulness of such a Global Conservation Atlas. This was accomplished through a conservation grant from ESRI and in cooperation with UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).

At the core of the Atlas is the use of bookmarks of any of the selected polygons or conservation areas in the WDPA as a zooming tool to illustrate all of the selected datasets in the database in and surrounding the identified conservation area.

Central to the Atlas was the use of a web based GIS technology accessible via ESRI and its Living Atlas of the World.

During the next few days I will be placing introductory information on the concept and ways and means for this tool to become useful to a wider range of people.