News from OSU Libraries and the Oregon Explorer

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News from OSU Libraries and the Oregon ExplorerTM 

Bonnie Avery, Natural Resources Librarian

The Oregon Explorer ( architecture is now updated and enhanced.  Its many web portals can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, anytime but we hope this new version provides improved usability.  If you are familiar with a given portal, you can just add the portal keyword to the URL (e.g.”) and locate it. The Oregon Explorer portals are organized according to three schemes and are linked in the lower half of the website.

  • Place-based/Location portals provide natural resources data specific to certain geographic areas in Oregon (North Coast, Umpqua, Deschutes, Willamette, and Lakes “Basin” Explorers).  
  • Topic-based portals provide information about issues and ecological features that cover the entire state (Wildfire Risk, Hazards, Imagery, Wildlife, Land Use, Wetlands and Rural communities).  
  • Data Portals are currently a somewhat special subset and provide access to Imagery and the Oregon Spatial Data Library. 

Navigation is consistent across these portals and within each you can:

  • Learn about research: Read about important scientific research and restoration projects around the state, read first-person reports and publications. Search for additional information in the ScholarsArchive@OSU.
  • Learn about important issues: Learn about natural resource issues around the state through topic-specific stories that include videos, photos, and interviews with experts, and up-to-date scientific information.
  • Find images and data: View/download historical photographs, high-resolution aerial images, or geospatial data.
  • Create maps: Make accurate and up-to-date multi-layer maps using our free GIS program. For example, you can:
    • Find out what wildlife or plant species live in your area
    • Determine hazards for your area such as fire or flooding
    • Map your local watershed
  • Create reports: Look up information about demographics, land use, and economics in your area, and create a report.
  • Help build our library: Submit your own content, such as reports, publications, images, or datasets.

The new Explorer serves as an example of how Oregon State is embracing the worldwide open-source initiative.  NACSE (Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering) partnered with OSU Libraries and the Institute for Natural Resources (INR) to incorporate the use of open-source software as the foundation for the updated Oregon Explorer.   The Oregon Explorer and its website series have been developed over the past 7 years by OSU Libraries and the INR with additional funding from the Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office, Meyer Memorial Trust, the Oregon Watershed enhancement Board, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and many others including OSU Extension.