ArcWatch: GIS News, Views, and Insights

December 2011

Afghanistan Commits to Conservation

By Barbara Shields
Esri Writer

Maps created using GIS technology are being used to identify the wildlife habitats to protect and other sensitive areas to conserve in Afghanistan, including Band-e-Amir, the country's first national park.

Band-e-Amir is a chain of six deep lakes, situated high in the Hindu Kush mountains. The lakes are separated by mineral deposits of white travertine limestone and lie like a jeweled necklace on a woven rug. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) played a strategic role in working with Afghanistan's citizens and agencies to open the park. WCS uses Esri's ArcGIS to develop sustainable resource management plans for the park and other areas throughout the country. For example, ArcGIS was used to create maps of habitats for ibex, wild cats, and snow leopards. The technology also was used to create a map of biologically significant wetlands and important bird habitats. One of the important bird areas that was identified and mapped was Band-e-Amir. Read this article.

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A deep blue lake, surrounded by travertine stone, glimmers in the sunshine in Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan's first protected national park.

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Tip of the Month

Tips for Using the Light Gray Canvas Basemap

Your map's message will be easy to see and understand on Esri's new Light Gray Canvas basemap. For great ideas on how to make appropriate color choices for your operational overlays and learn about other ways to make this basemap more effective, read these tips.

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ArcWatch is published monthly by Esri and contains GIS news, practical advice, and updates about the company's software and events. To submit article ideas, e-mail editor Carla Wheeler at

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