Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Introducing MAGIC

I thought I'd just take a moment to share some neat online tools with you all, to
heighten your enjoyment of the outdoors to hitherto unprecendented levels:


MAGIC (Multi-Agency Geographic Information on the Country(/City?)side): this is basically a free web-based GIS tool, giving you access to a very wide range of publicy available data on the environment. If you chose 'Interactive Map', and then either 'Design my own topic', or 'Rural designations - Statutory', and give it some sort of location to start at, you'll be rewarded with a nice interactive pop-up (so make sure you enable pop-ups on your browser) map of interesting sites.

To avoid information overload, choose 'Design my own topic', and then select SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) as a starting point. This should give you a nice range of places to check out. If you are particularly interested in one site, you can use the 'i' for information button to click on any highlighted SSSI. This will give you a new window (MAGIC likes new windows, so if you think something hasn't worked, it's probably in a new window behind the one you've got open), with a link to the Natural England SSSI citation; this is basically a copy of the original document reporting why the site has been protected, and as such will give you hints on what plants and animals you'll be likely to find there.

This is brilliant tool for finding out about the country and city-side all around you. Environmental consultants use it for just the same purpose (or would do it on their own computers by downloading the datasets); developments often require an impact assessment, looking at statutory and non-statutory sites in the surrounding area can provide a quick overview of important places likely to be affected.


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