Virtual Utah

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park, Utah
Image: Delicate Arch at Arches National Park, Utah
Photo Credit: Lisa Zolly, NBII Digital Image Library

Virtual Utah is brought to you by the Remote Sensing/GIS Lab at Utah State University.  Virtual Utah offers aerial imagery (photography) for most of the state from 1993/97, 2003, 2004 and 2006. With the Basic Viewer the user can pan and zoom to the location of interest, generate a map and save it as a .pdf file. The Advanced Viewer allows the user to overlay datasets and then change the opacity of the top layer.  Other geographic datasets include land cover, hillshade (shaded relief), elevation data, and other satellite images.

Live Maps and Data

Map of Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada [Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Digital Library]
Map of Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada
[Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Digital Library]

The Southwest Information Node (SWIN) works with regional and national partners to provide access to geospatial products and data. Completed and ongoing products include:

Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project:

The Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project (SWReGAP) is an update of the Gap Analysis Program's mapping and assessment of biodiversity for the five-state region encompassing Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. It is a multi-institutional cooperative effort coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey's Gap Analysis Program. Data sets are made available to the public by the SWReGAP consortium of institutions responsible for their development.

PJ-WOOD: A Database of PJ Woodland Treatments:

PJ-WOOD is a research database that archives Pinyon-Juniper manipulations on Bureau of Land Management lands across the Colorado Plateau. Researchers and managers may publicly access the treatment data including photos or link to downloadable GIS data and a dynamic map search.

Karst Aquifer Portal:

The Karst Aquifer Portal features information and data, as well as an interactive mapping application on groundwater and surface water conditions, precipitation, and threatened and endangered species in the Roswell aquifer.

GAP logo GAP Analysis Program
Find out more about the GAP Analysis Program, including projects in the Southwest region.
Learn about PJ-WOOD, a database of pinyon-juniper woodland treatments across the Colorado Plateau.  
Karst Aquifer Map 

Karst Aquifer Portal
Discover what makes Karst habitats unique and learn about the Roswell aquifer in the Southwest Region.                                                           

Global Biodiversity Information Facility


The mission of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is facilitation and global dissemination of primary biodiversity data.

GBIF collects: 1) specimen data from botanical, paleontological, and zoological collections around the world, and 2) documented observations of plants and animals. Then, through a distributed network of databases, GBIF makes this information freely available on the Internet.

Access data from GBIF.

If you wish to provide data to the GBIF Network and to make your data globally accessible, learn how.

Discover Data Simple Search  
GIS, Mapping, and Database Resources for the Southwest Region
Showing 10 of 33 ( Show All )
CollapseA GIS Database for Sage Grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West
Description: This site is a portal for spatial data needed for research and management of sage grouse and shrubsteppe systems. The site is dynamically changing as we update current information and incorporate new data. Therefore, subsequent visits will reveal new data. Visit often to see what new data layers are available!
Resource Type: Databases and Information Systems
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: United States Geological Survey
ExpandArizona Environmental Review On-line Tool
ExpandAssociation of Metropolitan Water Agencies Climate Change and Water Database
ExpandBiota Information System of New Mexico
ExpandBiota Information System of New Mexico
ExpandColorado State University Herbarium Database
ExpandColorado Vascular Plants, University of Colorado, Specimens Database
ExpandDatabase of Pinyon Juniper Woodland Treatments
ExpandDigitized Range Mapping for Modern Plants of the Southwest
ExpandDOT Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse


Sage Grouse
Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
[Photograph: Karen Steenhof,
USGS Snake River Field Station]

SAGEMAP is a portal for spatial data used in research and management of sage grouse and sagebrush steppe habitats in the western United States. It provides data encompassing the historical extent of sage grouse distribution in the Intermountain West. These data are used by state and federal agencies to develop an objective assessment of the current status of sage grouse populations and their habitats across the region. SAGEMAP is a project supported by the U.S. Geological Survey and NBII.

NBII Library of Images from the Environment (LIFE)

NBII-LIFE Banner [Photo: NBII Library of images From the Environment]

The NBII Library of Images from the Environment is a growing collection of over 11,000 images of diverse, well-documented images of nature and the environment. Topics include animals, fungi and lichens, plants, microorganisms, interactions among species, landscapes , weather, research, environmental topics, and management.

Use the search box below and click "Submit" to start your search.

What is Metadata?

metadata image

Metadata is information that describes a digital data resource such as a dataset, data layer, or map. When metadata is collected, standardized, and stored, it facilitates data use, management, and retrieval. Because there are different types of data and data uses, there are different types of metadata and metadata standards available.

The types of metadata most widely used for sharing biological data are:

  • Descriptive metadata - describes and identifies a data resource.
  • Structural metadata - describes and maps the internal structure of a data resource for its machine-readable display.

Examples of these metadata standards are provided throughout this page.

To learn more about NBII's metadata activities, please visit the NBII Metadata webpage.

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
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