CLEAR’s Extension faculty have long used maps to educate land use decision makers and the public about Connecticut’s landscape and natural resources. The Connecticut’s Changing Landscape (CCL) research project has been the foundation of the education. CCL is a series of satellite-derived land cover maps for six dates between 1985 and 2010 (2015 is coming soon) that includes 12 classes such as development, turf, agricultural field and forest.
Although the CCL website has evolved with time and technology, it has always strived to integrate the graphic, quantitative and geospatial information in easy to access ways – virtually the same MO of the Story Map. Story maps easily integrate text, multi-media like photos and video, graphics and of course, interactive maps in one, contained interface.
CLEAR’s extension faculty were energized and began to implement loads of CCL information into CLEAR’s first Story Map – Connecticut’s Changing Landscape. It is an ideal way to boil down the inherently complex information including combinations of land cover categories, time intervals, derivatives and scales.
Other Extension faculty at CLEAR were inspired to create Story Maps to inform programs and reach audiences interested in stormwater management through low impact development, growing bear populations and coastal change. Completed Story Maps include:
- The State of Low Impact Development in Connecticut tells the story of the current “low impact development” regulations in Connecticut towns and interactively links town planners and others to relevant documents.
- The Bears are Back explores research investigating the growing population and distribution of black bears in Connecticut
- Connecticut’s Changing Shoreline: Then and Now takes a close look at Connecticut’s coastline in 1934 and compares it to the present
These maps and more are part of CLEAR’s Story Map Gallery. The CLEAR Extension crew will no doubt continue to use story maps to bring their research and outreach efforts to an ever-growing audience.