Rat Race: Mapping Conservation in the Galapagos Archipelago

As many know, CartoDB’s commitment to elevating efforts in conservation, climate change, and the environment has shaped our practice and given way to many exciting mapping projects such as the creative and impressive Carbon Calculator and the Global Forest Watch Map that allows users to monitor deforestation in real time.

Recently, we came across a very interesting case-study article in conservation and invasive species mitigation published by the international weekly journal of science, Nature. The article, titled Invasive species: The 18-km2 rat trap and authored by Henry Nicholls, depicts a narrative of passionate and dedicated conservation through invasive species eradication (specifically rats) in the Galapagos archipelago off of the Ecuadorian mainland coast. As the article states: “The rodents feed on the eggs and young of seabirds, land birds and reptiles, and have brought several species — including the rare Pinzón giant tortoise (Chelonoidisduncanensis) — to the brink of extinction…[the effort] promises to allow unique species to flourish again and, building on the prior removal of feral pigs and goats from much of the archipelago, to make Ecuador a world leader in the eradication of invasive species”.

Fueled by our passion for cutting-edge mapping technology and the environment, Nature’s article inspired us to take this beautiful static map of the conservation effort phases and create an interactive and versatile version that allows for in depth exploration using the CartoDB platform!

####Check it out!

###Map Annotations

The CartoDB Rat Race Map serves as a wonderful example of just how CartoDB can be used in journalism, planning, and information design in a broad sense. One of the key features of this map is the annotation styling that allows any CartoDB user to place text information directly related to specific Geo-spatial locations on the map. This often overlooked built in feature offers versatile labeling capabilities that anyone can use!

#####This is how it works:

In the upper left hand side of your CartoDB visualization editor (not the table editor), There is an option to “Add Element”. This drop down menu contains CartoDB’s built in capabilities for labels, text boxes, images and annotations.

Annotation1

Clicking on add annotation item, generates a movable element that attaches itself to the geographic location on the map. This feature remains fixed on the specific latitude and longitude and moves with them map, unlike the label, text, and image options.

The built in styling interface allows for your annotations to be fully customizable and comes with a wide range of features to get the most out of your maps.

Annotation2

The user interface allows users to modify the text, color, orientation, size, bounding box, and many other styling options to fit the needs of the map and story being told. The styling example above, generates this annotation:

Annotation4

in the styling interface, the option “Zoom (min-max)” adds an additional level of customization to your annotations by designating the parameters where your annotations are the most prominent. In the example above, the parameters are set from zoom level 8 to 28. This means that the opacity and prominence of the annotation is reduced outside of these boundaries. Here is what the same annotations look like at zoom level 7:

Annotation3

As you continue to explore and create with CartoDB don’t forget to share your maps, stories, and data visualizations with us @cartodb on Twitter. We’re always excited to see new maps and interesting visualizations that we can share with our mapping communities!

Happy Mapping!

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