Why the Earth Must Be Mapped


There is an urgent need to digitally capture the planet’s surface, providing a record for future ecologists, archaeologists, and historians. The Earth Archive project plans to do just that.


The climate crisis represents humanity’s greatest threat. Our daily news is dominated by stories about crazy weather patterns, massive wildfires, and rising sea levels that will cause the loss of our shared cultural and ecological patrimony. Archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, biodiversity, and distributions of flora and fauna—much of which modern people will never even know about—are disappearing at an alarming rate.

As an archaeologist who is often also labeled an environmental scholar, I’m frequently asked if there is anything that we can do to halt this crisis, or if humanity, along with many other species, is destined for extinction. It’s true that even if all of humanity converted to renewables and committed to living with minimal energy and resource use right now, some of the impacts we have already had on our planet are locked in—things like the global temperature will continue to change for decades. Our planet is experiencing an emergency. But there is something we can do: Secure the legacy we wish to leave for future generations.

While I don’t know how to solve the climate crisis, I do know what I want to contribute to our shared legacy: a comprehensive digital map of the surface of the planet and everything on it. Such a project will serve both as a record of the state of the planet as it exists now, to help scientists better understand how it is changing, and as a “virtual planet” that can serve as a precious gift for future generations.


See the full article at: https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/lidar-mapping-earth/

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