There is no standard way of mapping model results; however more-and-more models output data that is GIS (Geographic Information System) compatible.  Once the data is in a GIS the user is able to overlay it onto many different layers of information including layers showing the environmental predictors (such as soil types or rainfall areas) and administrative information (such as roads or country boundaries).

For more GIS layers, please consult the Biodiversity GIS website.

An important part of mapping model results is how they are symbolized and represented on the map.

  • Colour associations: it is important to choose the colours carefully when symbolizing model results since certain colours have certain inherent meanings, such as red might symbolize danger, where blue typically symbolizes water.
  • Shades: also limit the number of shades of the same colour, the human eye can only differentiate between approximately 20 different shades of a single colour.
  • Symbol complexity: avoid complex point symbols that are difficult to distinguish when the map is printed.  Furthermore avoid complex hatching symbols which the human eye struggles to focus on, i.e. thin stripes.
  • Cluttering: avoid cluttering the map with too much information, such as all roads, instead of major roads only.
  • Background information: the addition of a satellite image or aerial photo can make a substantial improvement to how easily users are able to locate predicted locations on a map.  Take care that the landmarks are clearly visible on the image.