See The grunts of the jaguar on Forestalis for a nice story by Jeroen van der Horst about his trip in Madidi National Park in Bolivia. I had no clue where to find this park so decided to look it up, and to share the result for those interested…
As it turns out, it is fairly easy it is to make your own map and share it through Google maps. First you need to create a kml layer with the park boundaries. This can easily be done in QGIS using the QGIS plugin OGR Layer converter. To enable this plugin, go to the menu ‘Plugins | Manage plugins’ and select ‘OGR Layer Converter’. Now you will find ‘OGR Converter’ in the drop down menu of Plugins. Next:
- Download the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). You don’t need to whole database, you can find Madidi National park in the WDPA_NATpol2009_2A dataset, which includes all nationally protected areas (marine and terrestrial).
- Unzip the file to your working directory and open in QGIS.
- In QGIS, open the attribute table and use the ‘Advanced search’ to select Madidi (NAME_ENG LIKE ‘Madidi’ AND COUNTRY = ‘Bolivia’). Two records will be selected, Madidi National Park and Madidi Integrated Management Natural Area. I kept both.
- Go to the Layers panel, right click with your mouse and from the drop down menu, select ‘Save selection as shapefile’ and save the layer, e.g., as madidi.shp
- Open the OGR Layer Converter, select as input format ‘Shapefiles’ and browse for the location of madidi.shp. Similarly, select ‘KML’ as the target format, browse for the target location and fill in the name of the kml file. The Layer field is optional in this case. Click OK and the kml file is created.
To share this on Google maps you first need to upload the kml file to ‘My Maps’ (you’ll need a Google account for that).
- Go to http://maps.google.com/ and click on ‘My maps’ and than ‘Create new maps’
- Use ‘Import’ to import your kml file, give a title and description and decide whether you want to make it public or keep it unlisted.
- After selecting ‘save’ and ‘done’, select ‘Link’, copy the HTML text and paste in your website (you might want to use the ‘Customize and preview embedded map’ option first)
And here is the result:
p.s. if you select to show ‘map’ instead of the satellite image as background you’ll see that the protected areas are already indicated on Google maps. Note the differences in the boundaries, I wonder which is the more accurate one. For me the advantage of creating your own map is that the boundaries are projected over the satellite image though.