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Introduction

The National Biogeographic Map (NBM) is a web-based application that brings together country-wide biogeographic analysis and synthesis data from the USGS and the USA National Phenology Network.  The selected analyses will produce interactive displays of the data including charts, graphs, tables, and color-coded maps that can be presented, shared, and/or downloaded in reports.

Access to the NBM is available to everyone: you do not need a login.  The link to access the NBM is https://maps.usgs.gov/biogeography/.  Technical specifications for the application and data sources can be found on the NBM Technical Project Page.

Many unique terms used in this application can be found in the Glossary.

Browser Requirements

Browsers currently supported for the National Biogeographic Map include:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari

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Page Elements

Throughout this document, you will be guided to either the "map"to display selections, or the "left pane" to select and change elements of an analysis packages.  If an analysis package has an option to select a time period to analyze, a time line will appear at the bottom of the map. The following image shows you where these page elements are located. 

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Getting Started: Selecting an Area of Interest (AOI)

Selecting an area of interest (AOI) is the first step to using the Biogeographic Analysis Packages (BAPs) available in the National Biogeographic Map (NBM).  An AOI can include land or body of water within the United States of America and are delineated according to available USGS and USA National Phenology Network data for the area. The three ways to select an AOI include typing the name of a County, State, or specialty area* in the search bar, clicking a point on the map and selecting from the drop down list of available AOIs, or draw a polygon around an area to analyze.  You will not be able to explore any of the Biogeographic Analysis Packages (BAPs) until an AOI is selected.  The selected AOI will be outlined in red on the map.

*Specialty areas include national public lands, ecoregions, cultural areas, wilderness, and many other designations that are defined by different federal agencies. Please note that cities are not AOIs.

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Type the name of an Area of Interest (AOI)

  • In the search bar type the name of a County, State, or specialty area* 
    • As you type, available AOI names will appear in a drop-down list under the search box
  • Scroll down the list of available AOI and click on the name
  • The selected AOI will be outlined in red on the map
  • If you need to start over, click the reset button next to the search bar to clear the map and clear any selections made in the left pane

*Specialty areas include national public lands, ecoregions, cultural areas, wilderness, and many other designations that are defined by different federal agencies. Please note that cities are not AOIs.

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Click a point on the map

  • Select a point you are interested in analyzing by clicking it on the map
    • In the left pane, a list of available AOI names will appear underneath the search box
  • Scroll down the list of suggestions to find your AOI and click on it
  • The selected AOI will be outlined in red on the map
  • If you need to start over, click the reset button next to the search bar to clear the map and clear any selections made in the left pane

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Draw a polygon

A few of the BAPs can be run on user-defined boundaries. These BAPs include the First Leaf Spring Index, the First Bloom Spring Index, and the First Leaf/First Bloom Spring Index Comparison. If you want to define the boundary for the area of interest, use the Draw a polygon button which looks like a pentagon and is in the top right corner of the map.

  • Click on the Draw a polygon button: a menu displaying three drawing tools will open
  • Click points on the map to draw a perimeter
    • If you make a mistake, click on Delete last point
    • If you no longer want to draw a perimeter for the AOI, click on Cancel
  • Once you have finished adding points*, close the polygon by either clicking on finish or clicking your first point again
  • The completed shape will be outlined in red on the map
  • If you need to start over, click the reset button next to the search bar to clear the map and clear any selections made in the left pane

*A polygon must have at least three points clicked on the map.

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Basemaps

The default map is the USGS Topographic map, however three other basemaps are available to select if their display is more relevant to your analysis. The four basemap options are USGS Topographic, USGS Imagery with Labels, Open Street Maps, and ESRI World Oceans. Changing the basemap can be done at anytime without altering the other layers of information displayed on the map from the analysis. To change the basemap:

  • Click on the menu button to the far left of the search bar: hovering over this button will display Settings
  • Check the box next to the basemap you want to display
    • Note that only one of the four options can be selected at a time
  • To close this menu, click on the menu (Settings) button again

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Selecting a Biogeographic Analysis Package (BAP)

Once you have selected the AOI, the left pane will show the available Biogeographic Analysis Packages (BAPs).  Many of the BAPs are specific to certain types of AOI, and not every BAP is available for every AOI.  Each BAP has an info icon you can click for a description on the purpose and where the data originates.  A brief description of the analysis subjects can also be found in the Glossary.  The following analysis are currently available depending on the AOI:

  • First Leaf Spring Index
  • First Bloom Spring Index
  • First Leaf/First Bloom Spring Index Comparison
  • Fish Habitat Condition and Disturbance Summaries
  • Protection Status of Ecological Systems
  • Protection Status of Terrestrial Vertebrate Species
  • Most Reported Marine Species per Exclusive Economic Zone

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Running a Biogeographic Analysis Package (BAP)

First Leaf Spring Index, First Bloom Spring Index, First Leaf/First Bloom Spring Index Comparison BAPs will automatically run analysis, while the remaining BAPs have options that need to be selected before the analysis can complete. Reloading/refreshing the page in the browser will save and display any information currently selected on the BAPs. All information can be cleared by clicking the reset button next to the search bar.  

First Leaf Spring Index

The analysis options you can adjust for this BAP are the opacity of the map layer found in the left pane, and the time period found on the map.

  • Deselecting the checkbox next to the Average Leaf PRISM opacity slider will remove the color coded layer from the map
  • Selecting the checkbox will bring it back again

A time line appears at the bottom of the map which allows you to select the years you want to analyze.

  • Move the markers along the timeline to adjust the year range you want to analyze

You are now ready to run the analysis.

  • In the left pane, select Analyze Time Period: xxxx to xxxx 

Several analysis results will display in the left pane of the page.  These results can also be viewed in a new window by clicking on the double arrow button below the radio button for the BAP.

  • Clicking the Legend button on the map explains the different colors on the map
  • Click the play button on the timeline to see how the analysis changes over time

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First Bloom Spring Index

The analysis options you can adjust for this BAP are the opacity of the map layer found in the left pane, and the time period found on the map.

  • Deselecting the checkbox next to the Average Bloom PRISM opacity slider will remove the color coded layer from the map
  • Selecting the checkbox will bring it back again

A time line appears at the bottom of the map which allows you to select the years you want to analyze.

  • Move the markers along the timeline to adjust the year range you want to analyze

You are now ready to run the analysis.

  • In the left pane, select Analyze Time Period: xxxx to xxxx 

Several analysis results will display in the left pane of the page.  These results can also be viewed in a new window by clicking on the double arrow button below the radio button for the BAP.

  • Clicking the Legend button on the map explains the different colors on the map
  • Click the play button on the timeline to see how the analysis changes over time

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First Leaf/First Bloom Spring Index Comparison

The analysis options you can adjust for this BAP are the opacity of the map layer in the left pane, and the time period found on the map.  This BAP will allow you to view both the First Leaf Spring Index and the First Bloom Spring Index for the same time period, and the opacity for each layer can be adjusted to your preference.

  • Deselecting the checkbox next to the Average Leaf PRISM or Average Bloom PRISM opacity slider will remove the color coded layer from the map
  • Selecting the checkbox will bring either or both back again
    • Note: selecting or deselecting only affects the map display and not the table of results

A time line appears at the bottom of the map which allows you to select the years you want to analyze.

  • Move the markers along the timeline to adjust the year range you want to analyze

You are now ready to run the analysis.

  • In the left pane, select Analyze Time Period: xxxx to xxxx 

Several analysis results will display in the left pane of the page.  These results can also be viewed in a new window by clicking on the double arrow button below the radio button for the BAP.

  • Clicking the Legend button on the map explains the different colors on the map
  • Click the play button on the timeline to see how the analysis changes over time

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Fish Habitat Condition and Disturbance Summaries

The analysis option you can adjust for this BAP is the opacity of the map layer found in the left pane.

  • Deselecting the checkbox next to the Risk to Fish Habitat Degradation opacity slider will remove the color coded layer from the map
  • Selecting the checkbox will bring it back again

Several analysis results will display in the left pane of the page.  These results can also be viewed in a new window by clicking on the double arrow button below the radio button for the BAP.

  • Clicking the Legend button on the map explains the different colors on the map

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Protection Status of Ecological Systems

The analysis option you can adjust for this BAP is the opacity of the map layer.

  • Deselecting the checkbox next to the GAP Landcover 2011 Ecologivcal System opacity slider will remove the color coded layer from the map
  • Selecting the checkbox will bring it back again
  • The PAD-US v1.4 GAP Status Code is currently inactive

The analysis automatically runs as different elements are selected in the interactive tables and several analysis results will display in the left pane of the page.  These results can also be viewed in a new window by clicking on the double arrow button below the radio button for the BAP.

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Protection Status of Terrestrial Vertebrate Species

There are many species available to select for analysis in the left pane above the interactive charts and interactive table. The map will adjust to show either the species range or the habitat map for a specific species after you select the elements as follows:  

  • In the left pane adjust the opacity sliders for Species Range and Habitat Map
    • Note that the PAD-US v1.4 GAP Status Code is currently inactive
  • Scroll down to the Protection Status charts
  • Click on the radio button for the species you want to analyze
  • Click on one of the analysis thresholds in the GAP Analysis Charts
  • Scroll down to the table of species
  • Click on the radio button for either range or habitat next to the species you want to analyze

The analysis automatically runs as different elements are selected in the interactive tables. The interactive charts in the left pane visually explain the information. These results can also be viewed in a new window by clicking on the double arrow button below the radio button for the BAP. The map will update to show either the range or habitat for the selected species.

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Most Reported Marine Species per Exclusive Economic Zone

The analysis automatically runs and generates an Observation by Class chart in the left pane, and this chart can be expanded into its own window by clicking on the double arrow button under the radio button for the BAP. The map does not update for this BAP.

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Sharing Completed Analysis

After you've run the analysis, there are a couple options for sharing the results. These options are sharing the screen from your computer, downloading a report, or sharing a link from the completed analysis.

Presenting Analysis from Your Computer

Some of the BAPs have interactive, visual features that you may want to share.  Sharing from your computer works well for the BAPs that analyze data over time.  The process for doing this is the same as sharing your computer screen for any other type of presentation.  You can display the result tables or press play on the time line to show how the results change over time.

You also have the option to share a link to the completed analysis or the option to download a PDF report.

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Share a Link to Completed Analysis

To share a link of your completed analyses, click on the Share button that is situated in the left pane above the list of BAPs. The link to the completed analyses will be saved to you clipboard.  You may share this link with anyone, or save it yourself to refer back to these specific results later.

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Download a Report

Downloading a report is an easy way to access the results anytime you need without having to re-run the analyses.  You may include as many of the BAPs as needed.  The steps to generate a report are:

  • Double check that you have run all the analyses that you need
  • In the left paneexpand the BAPs that you want to include in the report by clicking on the carrot next to each of the BAPs
    • Note that it does not matter which BAP is selected with the radio button for generating the report, but all the necessary BAPs must be expanded
  • Click the Report button that is situated above the list of BAPs
  • You will be prompted to save the PDF to your computer or device
    • Remember to click save

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Glossary

AOI stands for Area of Interest. These areas cover land and water and include commonly recognized areas such as counties or states; or specialty definitions used by different land management agencies like ecoregions, national monuments, economic zones, and several other uniquely defined areas.

BAP stands for Biogeographic Analysis Package.

Biogeography is the branch of biology that deals with the geographical distribution of plants and animals.

Bloom PRISM is the analysis model used to determine the date of the first bloom of spring, and is used to develop spatial climate datasets to reveal short- and long-term climate patterns, in this case examining floral blooms. PRISM stands for Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model.

Ecological Systems are defined by groups of plant communities that tend to co-occur within landscapes with similar ecological processes and environmental gradients. Ecological systems make up ecoregions.

Ecoregions are ecologically and geographically defined large areas covering land and water, and contain ecological systems are that generally similar.

Exclusive Economic Zone is a coastal region where the United States and other coastal nations have jurisdiction over natural resources.

NBM stands for the National Biogeographic Map.

First Leaf Spring Index is based on the leaf out of lilacs and honeysuckles, which are among the first plants to show their leaves in the spring. The index is synthetic measure of early season events in plants based on recent temperature conditions. The model allows us to track the progression of spring onset across the country.

First Bloom Spring Index is based on the flowering of lilacs and honeysuckles and is associated with blooming of early-spring shrubs and leaf out of deciduous trees. The index is a synthetic measure of early season events in plants based on recent temperature conditions. The model allows us to track the progression of spring onset across the country.

First Leaf/First Bloom Spring Index Comparison is a model comparing the first leaf out with the first bloom. Tracking changes in timing of these seasonal events supports land managers in adjusting the timing of activities  such as treating invasive species, operating visitor facilities, and scheduling climate-related events.

Fish Habitat Condition and Disturbance Summaries present information about applicable disturbances at appropriate spatial scales when land managers and conservation professionals are making decisions about fish habitat.

Leaf PRISM is the analysis model used to determine the date of the first leaf out of spring, and is used to develop spatial climate datasets to reveal short- and long-term climate patterns, in this case examining leaves. PRISM stands for Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model.

Terrestrial Vertebrate Species is any organism that possesses a spinal column or vertebra and lives predominantly on land and primarily include reptiles, birds, and mammals.


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