On February 20, 2014, at the Washington D.C. Newseum, over 300 guests, including panel member Dr. Christopher Justice and several other Department employees, attended the World Resources Institute launch of Global Forest Watch (GFW): a mapping application that provides nearly real-time data of forest activity across the globe. The application, created by a combination of governments, scientists and environmental groups over the last two years, utilizes a variety of satellite data, including Landsat and MODIS, to "view political boundaries, protected areas, and commercial areas for logging, mining, or palm oil production. Maps are accompanied with sliding time bars to allow users to scroll backward and forward. The data sets underpinning the website are linked in a single place, helping scientists new to the geographical data navigate the information" (Kintisch, The World's Forests at Your Fingertips, Science; 24 February 2014). GFW made international headlines and had nearly 100,000 visitors within the first 24 hours.
For additional information on this new tool, please visit www.globalforestwatch.org. To read more about the launch party, please click here. To read the Science article, "The World's Forests at Your Fingertips," please click here.