The world’s mountains at your fingertips

mountains from aboveA new tool gives the most detailed view yet of the world’s mountains – and is as close as your computer or mobile phone. 

Mountains occupy between 12 and 31 percent of the land surface of the globe, are home to diverse populations, ecosystems, and wildlife, and are a key provider of essential resources. But despite their importance, attempts to scientifically define and map mountain regions worldwide have been limited up to now.

The Global Mountain Explorer, launched at the recent GEO WEEK 2017 in Washington DC, is a new, web-based tool that allows users to explore mountain regions in greater detail than ever before. Harnessing the best available data, the tool provides information ranging from global mountain distribution to local topography at a resolution 16 times greater than has been achieved in previous mapping efforts. In doing so, it is hoped that this tool will be of use to a variety of individuals and organizations, from scientists and policymakers to hikers planning their next adventure.

“This product allows anyone with access to the internet to explore where mountains are, whether they are low or high, scattered or continuous, snowy or snow-free,” says Roger Sayre of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), who led the project. “Global Mountain Explorer users can visualize and compare – in one place and for the first time – the three major global mountain maps that have been produced.”

The tool was developed by the USGS in partnership with the MRI, Center for Development and Environment, Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment, and Environmental Systems Research Institute. It is part of the Group on Earth Observations Initiative – Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME), which is co-led by the MRI.

You can find out more, and access this exciting new tool, on the USGS website.