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Mar 3, 2006

OSU Scientists Publish Atlas Of China

Two Oregon State University (OSU) scientists recently published a new kind of atlas of the People's Republic of China. "Visualizing China's Future Agriculture: Climate, Soil, and Suitability Maps for Improved Decision Making", contains hundreds of unique and colorful maps of the nation. The atlas was produced by David Hannaway, OSU forage crops specialist, and Chris Daly, OSU climatologist.

Medford News reports that the atlas is the first to offer an extensive collection of maps that show climate, soil characteristics and plant species suitability for an entire country. Messrs. Hannaway and Daly are both members of the OSU China Working Group, a cooperative effort between OSU and the People's Republic of China to identify mutually beneficial research and education projects and programs.

The maps were originally produced on a web-based internet map server using Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies. "We built the online mapping system to allow users to quickly identify grasses and legumes that are best adapted to the climate and soils of a particular geographic location in the People's Republic of China," Mr. Hannaway said, "After we had finished the project and put materials on the Web, there were a lot of incredibly useful and beautiful maps that we thought should be put together into a tangible book form." The new atlas reproduces hundreds of the maps from the research project.

Mr. Hannaway says, "The book offers a wonderful visual example of how powerful GIS technology applied to climate mapping can be," he said. "It helps people who aren't scientists understand what we're trying to accomplish through this research."