New WWF web tool maps Arctic nature and activities

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From WWF International, 13 May 2013...

As Arctic Council Ministers prepare to meet to outline priorities for the Council’s next two years, WWF has released a mapping tool to help inform those priorities, ArkGIS.

The web-based map synthesises the latest Arctic research and helps answer questions such as where Arctic oil activity clashes with valuable biodiversity, and how the melting of the polar ice cap has influenced shipping routes.

By releasing a new web tool mapping both nature and activities, WWF hopes to be able to make relevant information universally available – in a very visible manner.

“Arctic nature and peoples desperately need environmentally sustainable management practices. A well informed and active public can help push for such practices, and these maps can help in supplying that information. Everywhere in the world, good maps are preconditions for sound management and informed public debate about natural values and human activities,” says Nina Jensen, CEO of WWF Norway.

The ArkGIS is a web based mapping system, allowing anyone to produce their own maps showing natural resources and updated overviews of activities like shipping or oil drilling. It allows any user to download pre-made maps and videos, as well as developing customized maps on their own, using an interactive map service.

“One of the strengths of this tool is that both natural values and developments that may interfere with those values can be made visible on the same maps. Another strength is that we have comprehensive information covering the entire Arctic region – available for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection,” says Lars Erik Mangset, WWF project lead for ArkGIS.

ArkGIS is a project initiated and managed by WWF, but it brings together data from a host of information providers, including several Arctic Council working groups, the Institute of Marine Research, and the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Map layers to date include 368 identified areas of heightened ecological significance, and Arctic ship traffic, ice coverage, and bathymetry. ArkGIS can be accessed at www.arkgis.org.

For more information, contact:
Lars Erik Mangset, WWF Norway
+ 47 – 93 20 94 94
lemangset@wwf.no

Martin Sommerkorn, WWF Global Arctic Program
+47 – 92 60 69 95
msommerkorn@wwf.no

Riannon John, WWF-Canada
416-347-1894
rjohn@wwfcanada.org

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