Human Impact

A haphazard list of geographic data sources documenting human impact

Buildings in the US
Where: United States
What: Map of all buildings in the United States
See also: New York Times article

Copernicus Global Land Cover
Where: Worldwide
What: Land cover rasters following UN FAO’s Land Cover Classification System (23 classes) and fractional cover (ie. forest cover in a pixel) at ~5 arcsec resolution (~1/6 of a km at the equator)

Fire: Global burned areas
Where: Worldwide
What: Geographic data set of burned areas
Citation: Chuvieco et al. 2016 A new global burned area product for climate assessment of fire impacts.  Global Ecology & Biogeography 25:619-629.

Global Forest Watch
What: Geographic layers of forest cover and change
Where: Worldwide

HISDAC-US (Historical human settlement data for the last 200 yr)
Where: United States
What: Rasters with year of first European-derived settlement and area of settlement

Human Population Distribution of the United States, 1790-2010
Where: United States
What: 1-km decadal population density maps
Citation: Fang & Jawitz 2018 High-resolution reconstruction of the United States human population distribution, 1790 to 2010. Scientific Data 5:180067.

Human Population Density (high-resolution)
Where: Worldwide
What: Locations of every human estimated using Facebook’s AI

Human Footprint: 1993 and 2009
Where: Worldwide
What: Raster maps of human footprint
Citation: Venter et al. 2016. Global terrestrial Human Footprint maps for 1993 and 2009. Scientific Data 3:160067.

Land Cover Trends Dataset 1973-2000

Where: United States
What: Land cover change in the United States by ecoregion
Citation: Soulard, C.E., Acevedo, W., Auch, R.F., Sohl, T.L., Drummond, M.A., Sleeter, B.M., Sorenson, D.G., Kambly, S., Wilson, T.S., Taylor, J.L., Sayler, K.L., Stier, M.P., Barnes, C.A., Methven, S.C., Loveland, T.R., Headley, R., and Brooks, M.S., 2014, Land cover trends dataset, 1973–2000: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 844, 10 p.

What: A data clearinghouse with >100 geographic layers pertaining to conservation, human impact, socioeconomic development, land use/land change, climate, and ecosystem distributions.
Where: Usually worldwide

Urbanization: Global coverage from 3700 BCE to 2000 CE
Where: Worldwide
What: Urban lands cover
Citation: Reiba, M., Reitsma, F., Seto, K.C.  2016.  Spatializing 6,000 years of global urbanization from 3700 BC to AD 2000.  Scientific Data 3:160034.

Where: Worldwide
What: Gridded human population density at 3- and 30-arcsec resolution; also transportation networks, nightlights, land cover, travel time
Citation: Lloyd et al. 2017.  High resolution global gridded data for use in population studies.  Scientific Data 4:170001. (editor’s comment).