NASA Interactive Climate Time Machine

This website, which is powered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, shows an interactive map that details how some of the key indicators of climate change have changed in Earth’s recent history. The webpage breaks down four different topics that can be used to visualize the effects of climate change. The four topics are sea ice, sea level, carbon dioxide and global temperature. Once a topic is selected, an interactive video is shown that details the shifts in these different topics over an extended period of time. For two of the topics, you have the ability to change what geographic region you view the data for.

USGS Earth Explorer

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) Earth Explorer website is a tool that allows you to find satellite imagery data for any given geographic coordinate. To get the data, you can either enter an address, a city, or a set of coordinates into the search criteria search bar, set the date range you would like to receive satellite imagery from, decide what dataset(s) you’d like to get satellite data from (such as Landsat, AVHRR, Sentinel, Radar, etc., these are all different types of satellites that have sensors which give data at different pixel and temporal resolutions. The one you use depends on the type of data you’re looking for.), and then click the “results” button to see the images. This is a tool that would be useful for a geographer because it could be used for various geography fields, such as Remote Sensing and GIS due to its geographic and spatial data.

Below is a picture of one of the houses I grew up in (blue point) located on a zoomed in map of Round Rock, Texas, which I accessed by typing the address into the USGS Earth Explorer search engine!


Incident Information System

The Incident Information System ( allows people to find information about wildfires and report new fire incidents. By searching a state, one can find any wildfires in the area and read about the situation’s status, coordinates, fire type and size, and view related news articles and photographs in a full report on the incident. The ability to file reports and have all relevant information in one place is valuable in an effort to prevent wildfires and inform the public on fires in the United States. It can also be useful to scientists conducting research on topics like climate change where abundant country-wide information on wildfires would be beneficial.

Discover Life: A Global ID tool

Discover Life is a website which aims to map the distribution of species across the globe, as well as help biologists ID species that they find. You can use the search feature to search for plants or animals, finding a map of their distribution, identification pictures, ID guides, scientific name, references, and more for the species. One of my favorite features at the top of the website is the IDnature guides. If you click on IDnature guides, you can check select general traits of what you are trying to ID. Try clicking through the check boxes with a specific animal in mind, and then click “search” next to the trait. On the left side of the screen, an updated list of species with all the traits you’ve searched for are available. click “simplify” (towards the left of the screen, above the potential species) once you have a few traits selected, and the questions will become more specific to sift through the remaining animals. Eventually these questions will key out one species! If you are using this to ID something, it is incredibly helpful because it refines itself to only present relevant questions. A picture of this feature is attached to the bottom of this post.

Atmosphere Design Lab

This website is an atmosphere design lab from the Smithsonian Institute. You can adjust the levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen or ozone in the atmosphere. Once you choose a gas, there are statistics about the levels of that gas in the atmosphere and what would happen if you changed the levels. There are also helpful examples from other points in history when different levels of these gases were present. For example, if you have more oxygen than the average amounts found on earth today, there would be a chance of things spontaneously combusting. This interactive site is helpful for people who want to learn more about the composition of the earth’s atmosphere but don’t know where to start.


A picture of the site is below.

Map of Life: Species Richness and Rarity Map

This website, the Map of Life (, has provided an interactive map that shows species richness and species rarity across the world, showing data on the biosphere. It using a spread of colors to symbolize the different values, with purple being the least rich or rare, and red being the most. The map has three different screens: one for richness, one for average rarity, and one for total rarity. Additionally, you can click between a map view and a satellite imagery view. The map allows you to zoom in and out to see variances between regions at a large and small scale. The map also allows you to pick groups of organisms, with categories such as vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Within these categories are subcategory to get more specific.

Here is an image of the map feature:


New Online Tool Highlights Landslide Risk

USGS has recently released a new online tool that highlights landslide risks across the country. This interactive map provides centralized access to information about landslide occurrence, and can be used as a good starting point for the public, city and emergency planners, as well as researchers interested in landslides, to go to for information. This tool marks the first attempt of a federal agency to systematically catalog all of the landslide data across the country into one centralized location, and will be incredibly useful to all interested parties. Each landslide recorded on the map can be selected, and additional information about the event will be provided, including the date of the event, and notes regarding the extent and aftermath of each event. One clear potential benefit of the tool is to show more at-risk areas of landslides, so individuals can either avoid those areas or prepare restraining walls, or other measures, to minimize landslide damage.

Article link:

Interactive Atmospheres: Jet Stream and Weather Maps from is a site that provides a wide variety of interactive maps for current and predicted atmospheric patterns, including jet stream, storm risk, lightening detection, and weather radar maps. This site provides weather-related information for travel such as snow reports, predicted temperatures in high-volume travel destinations, and holiday weather. Live reports from meteorologists are also available. While this is a U.K.-based site which focuses on nations in and surrounding the U.K., there are numerous tools for monitoring atmospheric conditions in the U.S. and non-U.K. European nations.


The Global Mountain Explorer

The geography website I choose was created by the United States Geological Survey in 2017 and is called “The Global Mountain Explorer”. This relatively new tool shows a map of mountains on top of a satellite image background giving users the most detailed view of Earth’s mountains. This resource was developed in partnership with Esri, the Center for Development and Environment of the University of Bern (CDE), the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), and the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI). The work is part of a Group on Earth Observations (GEO) initiative called GEO GNOME, GEO’s Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments. This work specifically addresses the goal to accurately delineate mountain regions using best available data. It is intended to provide information on the global distribution of mountain ranges and a variety of mountain data with a resolution 16 times more detailed than previous mapping efforts. What makes this tool useful for physical geography is that it allows anyone with connection to the Internet to observe where mountains are, what their relative altitude is, whether they are scattered or continuous, covered in snow or snow-free, etc.

USGS Earthquake Map

The U.S. Geological Survey displays information relating to recent earthquake strikes around the world. The left side of the screen shows the recent earthquakes in the United States. It tells how many earthquakes have occurred in the map are over the last 24 hours. If you zoom out to the entire world, the panel adjusts to include earthquakes all over the world. On the map, each earthquake is represented by a circle with varying sizes and colors. The size of the circle represents the magnitude of the earthquake and the color represents the relative age of the earthquake. The plate boundaries are are outlined in red. Clicking on a specific earthquake takes you to another page that offers an interactive map, a regional information map, a seismicity map, and a shake map. Also, people can write up a felt report of their earthquake experience. Additionally, under settings tab, one can narrow or widen the earthquake parameters by size, time, and place.

This website is helpful for understanding where recent earthquakes struck and specific information about each earthquake. Earthquake map visualization helps to reveal patterns in earthquake behavior and helps educate others on the overall impact of earthquakes.