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U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dr. Roger Sayre was honored with the annual Making A Difference Award at the Esri Federal Users Conference in Washington, DC, on February 9, 2015. The award recognized Sayre’s vision and leadership in recent collaboration between the USGS and Esri to produce a new map of global ecosystems at an unprecedented level of detail. An industry leader in mapping and GIS technology around the globe, Esri established the annual award to honor people or organizations that have used GIS to bring about meaningful change in the world.

The new Global Ecological Land Units Map provides the most detailed characterization of ecologically defined landscapes around the world produced to date. Combining a vast array of ground-based observations with imagery from Earth-observing satellites, the map integrates global bioclimate regions, global landforms, global geology, and global land cover at 250-meter spatial resolution worldwide. The information can be used to provide a framework for assessments of ecosystem services such as carbon storage and soil formation, as well as important risks to ecosystems like environmental change or degradation.

Developed collaboratively between USGS and Esri, the map was commissioned by the international Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and published in print format by the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Dr. Sayre is the Senior Scientist for Ecosystems in the Land Change Science program at USGS.