Today, maps are a critical part of nearly all place-based conservation efforts. Maps enable scientists and conservation practitioners to identify where they operate, allocate resources, organize and present data, and communicate the results of their work. It’s hard to imagine modern-day conservation without maps. Before the age of computers, map-making was typically the domain of specialists. But as computers became more mainstream in the 1980s and 1990s, map-making became more accessible, driving a sharp increase in the creation and use of maps as platforms for presenting an ever-growing array of data. TNC’s map showing forest loss in Borneo. Presented on ESRI’s ARCGIS story map platform. A great enabling factor in the acceleration of map-making was the development of geographic information systems (GIS), frameworks for capturing, storing, managing, and analyzing spatial data. And no company has been a bigger player in the GIS space than Redlands, California-based ESRI. Founded in 1969 as the Environmental Systems Research Institute, ESRI products like ArcGIS have been the basis for countless applications across numerous industries. In the conservation realm, ArcGIS has been used to manage and present data for an enormous array of applications, from mapping wildlife habitat to understanding the impact of climate change to demarcating protected areas on land and in oceans. ESRI was founded by Jack and Laura Dangermond, who committed the privately held company to “sustainable growth” from its early days. In practice, this has meant investing heavily in research and development, eschewing outside investment to allow it to focus on…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer