UNEP/GRID-Geneva and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) have developed MapX, an online platform for managing and visualizing geospatial data on natural resources. Field applications of MapX are varied and include biodiversity planning, chemicals management, climate change, disaster risk reduction, environmental security, extractive industries, land use planning, and renewable energy, but they are not limited to these topics. MapX targets a wide community of users that are primarily UNEP, the Secretariats of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and other UN agencies mandated to collect and use geospatial data in environmental decision making. Civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, academia and citizens complement this set of users. MapX was designed in 2014 and since then continuously improved with wide international stakeholder consultations. MapX is fully integrated into the World Environment Situation Room, which is the UNEP data, information and knowledge platform.
The MapX philosophy is to help stakeholders access and use the best available data in dialogue and decision-making processes. It requires both a technical approach as well a political process and capacity building to ensure ownership, uptake and action. The MapX philosophy in developing a stakeholder solution is based on the practical experiences gained in deploying MapX in a range of different contexts. Core elements include:
MapX has collaborated with 30 scientific projects, covering all environmental topics, operating at 4 geographical scales (global, regional, national –73 countries are covered—and local) and supporting 6 International Conventions. MapX is interoperable with dozens of data repositories and platforms. It offers a free access to 1’700 public datasets. 3’300 users have registered on the platform and can access more data and features than public users. MapX has a bug reporting platform with 750 issues (around 80-90% of them being fixed & closed).
MapX has contributed to various research projects and publications in international peer-reviewed journals: