Partner Spotlight

Big Sky Institute Logo

The Big Sky Institute at Montana State University is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to creating, applying, and communicating science-based knowledge. The BSI Ecological Informatics Lab brings together natural sciences, geographic information systems (GIS), statistics, modeling, information technology, and computational programming with a comprehensive goal of making ecological data more useful to society. BSI partners with several NBII Nodes to disseminate information and to create value-added tools for interacting with data.


Prairie Map
PrairieMap encompasses
the historical extent
of prairie grasslands.
[Image: Aaron Jones, adapted from Ecoregions of the United States (map), Robert G. Bailey]

PrairieMap is a geospatial data clearinghouse supporting research, management, and conservation of prairie grassland ecosystems in western North America. Approximately 1600 data layers are available for download from the PrairieMap site. Data layers comprise an extensive variety of themes, including landcover, wildlife, transportation, boundary, fire, utilities, hydrology, soils, topography, and others.

PrairieMap addresses the need for accessible data and information about prairie habitats and many of their associated wildlife populations. Developed in collaboration between ecologists, wildlife biologists, land managers, and geographic information professionals, PrairieMap is at core a public-access catalogue of geospatial datasets in support of greater, spatially-sensitive understanding of short-grass, mixed-grass, and tall-grass prairie ecosystems in the western United States and Canada.

History of the Project
PrairieMap and SageMap, a sister project for sagebrush and shrubsteppe ecosystems, were originally developed by the Snake River Field Station (SRFS) of the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center through data collection and QA/QC in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and various state agencies. While the SRFS continues to maintain SageMap, the Informatics workgroup at the Big Sky Institute has adopted the hosting and maintainance of PrairieMap and affected its redesign as of early 2007. Partners involved in the original data collection for PrairieMap and SageMap are listed at the new PrairieMap site.

Learn About Prairies

Prairie species
Prairie species seeded under the Conservation Reserve Program, Kansas.
[Photograph: Jeff Vanuga, NRCS]

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
About NBII | Accessibility Statement | NBII Disclaimer, Attribution & Privacy Statement | FOIA Logo       USGS Logo       USAgov Logo