Montana’s Mapviewer Web Application: Direct Access to 1.4 Million Animal Observations, Wetland and Land Cover Mapping, Land Management and Georeferenced Photos

Bryce Maxell, Dave Ratz, Karen Coleman, Allan Cox, Linda Vance, Karen Newlon


The Montana Natural Heritage Program (MTNHP) was established by the Montana State Legislature in 1983 and charged with statutory responsibility for the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of information documenting Montana’s flora, fauna and biological communities (Montana Code Annotated 90-15). In order to track the distribution and status of species, MTNHP has developed databases containing nearly 1.5 million animal observation records and over 160,000 locations where a formally structured animal survey protocol has been followed. This information is used to create a variety of other data products, including, range maps, species occurrence areas used in environmental review processes, and predicted distribution models. Agency biologists and resource managers have direct access to this information as well as more than 2.2 million acres of mapped wetland and riparian areas, statewide landcover mapping, land management information, and georeferenced photos on MTNHP’s new MAPVIEWER web application. MAPVIEWER is compatible with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome and will eventually be compatible with touch screen devices. Users can submit animal observations, search for a place names and map coordinates, get summaries of land cover and land management within preselected areas, select different wetland types for viewing, overlay a variety of information layers, create a variety of customized queries, and generate image, pdf, and excel reports through the application.

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