King’s College London releases treasure trove of geographic KML

Mark Mulligan, Reader in Geography at King’s College London, has been gathering an incredible collection of KML geography layers, but until recently did not have the server resources to make them public. That’s changed, so here they are, below.

I’ve only had a limited time to play with them, but what’s obvious is that these layers are highly detailed, thorough and labyrinthine. Check out the Amazon layer, for example: There is visualized information available both at the regional level and at specific hyperlocal places (with some highly detailed aerial photography).

Geographers and university geography departments should take a close look at this collection, as there is sure to be plenty of material here that is useful for their own projects. Perhaps other geography departments could follow Mark Mulligan’s lead and publish their own geographic resources — to help inform the public on the current climate change debate, but also to enthuse future generations of geographers…

Here is Mark’s outline of the available layers

These are public domain environmental data aimed at improving the information (raw and visualised) available to the scientific and conservation communities. The data are freely accessible to all for non-commercial use. Some of the data have been on a slow server for more than 18 months but I have been unable to publicise them until I improved the server capacity, which I have now done. Many of the datasets are works in progress and comments or contributions are welcome. The data are visualised in Google Earth and, in many cases, links to the actual downloadable GIS files also provided. Region based network links are used so zoom in to see the information. I list the main ones here with the ones most relevant to the user community listed first. Another couple of very large ones will become available within the month. All can be accessed through this list (where future databases will also be added) but each also has a shortcut URL as indicated below:

The data are held at King’s College London, Department of Geography: [online] – 5 million geographic features (places etc from the GNS, editable with ‘geowiki’) [online] – 30m resolution outlines of coasts and water bodies from the shuttle radar topography mission [online] – 90m resolution near global analysis of coastal indundation (sea-level rise) scenarios under different levels of sea level change, based on the SRTM data – [online] animation from the MODIS blue marble new generation at full resolution (500m pixels) – showing the impact on vegetation and snow of the passage of seasons over the earth and more or less cloudless colour consistent imagery (collaborative with the CGIAR) [online] – 90 m hole filled shuttle radar topography data and visual overlays (collaborative with NASA JPL) [online] – the protected area archive – historic (1972-2007) false colour satel;lite imagery for global protected areas (natural colour version online by end of july) (collaborative with INPA) [online, growing] – a pan amazon database including annually updated landsat imagery for looking at land use change and other environemental issues affecting the Amazon [online] – a 1km rainfall climatology including monthly and annual totals, intensities and derivatives Based on data from the tropical rainfall monitoring mission [online] – near global 3 hourly rainfall data since 1998 at 0.25 degree spatial resolution including trend analysis (drying, wetting) and seasonality analysis, based on TRMM/GOES data [online] – tropical montane cloud forests distribution and threats [online] – hydrology and climate of central america [online] – very high resolution (sub centimeter) aerial photography and other data for a unique lowland amazon rainforest research site [online] – oil related activity in the (western) Amazon [online] – near global tree cover and tree cover change 2000-2005 based on MODIS VCF product

You can reach Mark Mulligan via this page.