Google Maps shows Amazon funds at work

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM


Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Gabriel Ribenboim from Ritual, on behalf of Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), a nonprofit organization implementing a large-scale social and environmental program in the Amazon. FAS was the recipient of a Google Earth Outreach Grant for Google Maps Engine, which they used to develop an accountability map for their investments in conservation and poverty alleviation. We are excited to showcase the Bolsa Floresta Platform. Our work with FAS is an example of how non-profits all over the world are using comprehensive, accurate and easy-to use Google Maps, Earth and geo tools to tell their story and help their audiences visualize their cause.

Since 2011, I’ve been working with the Brazilian nonprofit organization Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS) and Google to collect Street View for the Amazon. One FAS’s most significative initiatives is the administration of the Bolsa Floresta -- Brazil’s first internationally-certified incentive program for the preservation of traditional communities and environment in the Amazon rainforest. As the largest payment for environmental services program in the world, Bolsa Floresta serves over 35,000 people, 15 state-protected reserve territories and covers an area of more than 10 million hectares.

Today, I’m excited to announce FAS’ latest project with Google: the Bolsa Floresta Platform - an online tool that allows you to explore and visualize a mix of social, environmental and economical map datasets for 15 protected areas in the Amazon.



Institutional transparency is a challenge for NGOs across the world. Tools that help track the impact of our efforts and present them in an accessible way are rare and normally require a significant investment. The Bolsa Floresta platform, built on Google technologies such as Google Maps Engine, Google Drive, YouTube and Street View helped us organize this kind of dataset in a way that is easy to visualize, understand and share with little in the way of programming complexity or investment.

Now, anyone can dive into the mapping visualizations of the State of Amazonas, navigate the rivers, forest, and communities through Google Street View imagery, or even browse 3D buildings inside protected areas. Most importantly, partners, government agencies and those who live within the benefited state-protected areas, can explore all kinds of informational map layers, enhancing institutional transparency, global awareness, exchange of sustainability practices and poverty alleviation solutions and improving internal planning capabilities.

The new platform is just one of the many ways FAS is using Google’s technologies to work towards a sustainable future on behalf of the communities of Brazil’s Amazon. Explore the map now or find out more about us at fas-amazonas.org.

Posted by Gabriel Ribenboim from Ritual, on behalf of Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS)