(Tetun) Ever wondered how many pigs are in each suco? Or how current rainfall compares to historic averages?
Well, wonder no longer! The research team at Seeds of Life has released nine interactive Google Earth maps featuring climate, soil and agricultural census data to answer these questions and more.
These publicly available maps contain information on soil test results, weather station data, climate change data, watershed boundaries, and statistics about population, crops and livestock in Timor-Leste.
Google Earth is a simple and powerful mapping tool that is free to download and use. It provides a simple way to spatially map data and can be used offline, even on mobile devices, meaning the data is available virtually everywhere!
Another benefit of these maps is that users can navigate to a specific area such as a suco or district and access data relevant to that location.
These new maps were developed in partnership with AidData, an American research and innovation firm focused on tracking development finance and advocating for open data.
One of the maps includes a visualisation of aid projects from the Ministry of Finance’s Aid Transparency Portal, showing the location of development activities in Timor-Leste as reported by donor agencies.
Seeds of Life will continue to update the files as more data becomes available. SoL is currently collating as many soils tests as possible to make them available on Google Earth.
These Google Earth maps add to the more than 1,800 maps at a wide range of scales already available from the Seeds of Life website, which are assisting ministries and NGOs to better coordinate planning or agricultural and rural development activities across Timor-Leste. These base maps (showing rivers, roads, settlements and boundaries) can be viewed separately or in combination (over-laid) with a number of individual thematic maps (e.g. showing topography, elevation, slope, soils and current land use).
How do I access and use the maps?
To access the maps you need to have Google Earth installed. If you don’t already have it, you can download it for free.
Once Google Earth is installed, simply access the files from Google Drive (no login required).
If you are new to Google Earth we recommend downloading the “SoL Starter Pack” file which has a great set of maps for you to explore.
If you double click on a kmz file it will open the Google Earth program automatically and put the map layer in your “Temporary Places”. We suggest dragging this up to “My Places” so its there every time you open the program.
Note that Google Earth can operate offline. Initially you need to be online and zoom into your area of interest. Your device will “cache” the maps of this area (i.e. store them in its memory) so you can open it later while offline. Once you download the kmz files from our site they are then functional offline.
Some of the maps have data table pop-ups that you can simply copy and paste into your word document or spreadsheet for reporting and analysis.
You can also tilt your Google Earth map for a 3D perspective and then save the image to create a simple and effective map. Or try putting Google Earth on a tablet or smartphone to view the data when you’re in the field.
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks goes to Lauren Harrison and Sam Brecker who volunteered their time at Seeds of Life from June to August 2014 as part of an AidData project to help create these Google Earth maps.