Maps connect us to the world in unique ways. Maps We Love is an ongoing project created by Esri that helps us find and share incredible content made possible with ArcGIS.

ArcGIS is used to identify problems, monitor change, manage and respond to events, perform forecasting, set priorities and understand trends. Maps We Love features many different maps that inspire ideas and information and identify these major points.

Some maps are built to tell a story or show what is hidden underneath. “The Bare Earth” story map from the Washington Geological Survey won first place in Esri’s 2018 Storytelling with Maps Contest and is a great example of how maps allow us to see through what’s on the surface.

Many of Earth’s processes occur over a long period of time, much longer than a human lifetime. This sometimes makes it difficult to fully understand these processes. This collection of maps reveals short-duration events with repeat appearances, such as tsunamis, and long-term events that occur over many years, such as the formation of faults to tell the on-going story of Earth’s geology.

With the use of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and GIS technology, “The Bare Earth” map collection exposes geology and natural hazards that may not be easily visible or noticeable on the surface. This technology and the maps created by it can then be used to develop natural disaster emergency response procedures.

In some cases – as is the story with Mount St. Helens – the hazard is slow to build and needs attention over time. Of Washington State’s five major active volcanoes, Mount St. Helens might be the most famous, thanks to its catastrophic and well-documented explosion in May 1980. The event killed more than 50 people, devastated the nearby forest, and quite literally blew the face off the mountain. That exposure to the summit, however, has proven very useful to the Washington State Geology Survey.

Since 2002, WSGS has used repeated LiDAR surveys to monitor volcanic activity and to document the building of the lave dome. While lava dome building is not an indicator of an imminent eruption, it does positively indicate activity in the mountain, thus giving emergency response planners time to strategize and review plans.  

Explore “The Bare Earth” here: https://www.esri.com/en-us/maps-we-love/gallery/bare-earth.

Discover what is possible with GIS through Esri. Every map added to the gallery features new ideas, information and inspiration. Explore: https://www.esri.com/en-us/maps-we-love/gallery.

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