The US mapped with only the acres of trees & forests

The United States mapped by the beautiful natural patterns of over 1000 million acres of trees & forests!
Full size image here
Map created with open-source QGIS (, using data from Hansen et al. 2013
and 90m digital elevation data from the CGIAR-CSI SRTM 90m Database (
** Posters and ultra-high resolution printable images available on Etsy! **

The data in this map comes from a satellite called Landsat, which takes photographs of the earth in red, green and blue wavelengths like our eyes can see, but also a bunch of other wavelengths that are invisible to us (near infra-red, short-wave infra-red, thermal infra-red etc). Essentially, different kinds of vegetation reflect different combinations of all those different types of light, so you can train a computer model to separate the different types of plants automatically!

Olympic National Park and the northern Cascades, Washington state
Full size image here

Northern Pennsylvania and the Appalachians
Full size image here

Forests of Northern California and Oregon
Full size image here

These maps contains a whole lot of data: over 40 gigabytes! Robbibt used R code to download vegetation layers from the amazing Hansen et al. 2013 datasets, used a median filter to remove noise and spatial Landsat artefacts, and overlaid the map with SRTM 90m resolution digital elevation data in the open-source QGIS software to give a better idea of the local topography!

If anyone wants a copy of the map for your wall, you can grab posters and prints here!
Or you can see the whole collection here