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What is GIS?

For more information on WDFW maps and data products:

Wildlife GIS

Fish GIS

Habitat GIS



General Limitations

The following are general limitations of GAP Analysis; specific limitations for particular datasets are described in the appropriate sections:

  1. GAP Analysis data are derived from remote sensing and modeling to make general assessments about conservation status. Any decisions based on the data must be supported by ground-truthing and more detailed analyses.
  2. GAP Analysis is not a substitute for the listing of threatened and endangered species and associated recovery efforts. A primary argument in favor of GAP Analysis is that it is proactive in recognizing areas of high biodiversity value for the long-term maintenance of populations of native species and natural ecosystems before individual species and plant communities become threatened with extinction. A goal of GAP Analysis is to reduce the rate at which species require listing as threatened or endangered.
  3. The static nature of the GAP Analysis data limit their utility in conservation risk assessment. Our database provides a snapshot of a region in which land cover and land ownership are dynamic and where trend data would be especially useful.
  4. GAP Analysis is not a substitute for a thorough national biological inventory. As a response to rapid habitat loss, GAP Analysis is intended to provide a quick assessment of the distribution of vegetation and associated species before they are lost and to provide focus and direction for local, regional, and national efforts to maintain biodiversity. The process of improving knowledge in systematics, ecology, and distribution of species is lengthy and expensive. That process must be continued and expedited in order to provide the detailed information needed for a comprehensive assessment of the nation's biodiversity.
  5. GAP Analysis is a coarse-filter approach. The network of Conservation Data Centers (CDC) and Natural Heritage Programs established cooperatively by The Nature Conservancy and various state agencies maintain detailed databases on the locations of rare elements of biodiversity. Conservation of such elements is best accomplished through the fine-filter approach of the above organizations. It is not the role of Gap to duplicate or disseminate Natural Heritage Program or CDC Element Occurrence Records. Users interested in more specific information about the location, status, and ecology of populations of such species are directed to their state Natural Heritage Program or CDC.