World Environment Map

Purpose of the Map

The World Environment Map is a factual, detailed and visually attractive poster that synthesises and summarises the world’s key environmental data onto a map (900 mm x 1300mm). The Map was released in September 2002 and its development was supported by RMIT Global Sustainability, City of Melbourne and Central Queensland University.

In 2004, the World Environment Map won the Australian Geography Teachers Association Award for the best broadsheet, chart or wall map.

The World Environment Map, comprising both a spatial element and a non-spatial component (accompanying charts and tables), aims to increase awareness and knowledge of the environment and environmental issues across the World. It presents information in an easily digestible form on a variety of indicators of environmental health and performance in selected countries whilst highlighting both areas of achievement and concern.

The World Environment Map is a resource for all those with an interest in the environment – including professionals wanting a ready reference for key environmental trends, statistics and noteworthy events, and students wanting information about major environmental issues facing the world and initiatives for overcoming them.


The spatial component of the World Environment Map identifies:
• Historical accidents
• Environmental blackspots
• War impacts
• Air pollution
• Urban hotspots
• Major environmental achievements
• Indicators of global warming
• Major oil spills
• Major environmental campaign sites
• Topographic features
• Terrestrial biodiversity
• Marine biodiversity
• Freshwater biodiversity
• Renewable energy initiatives
• World Heritage Areas (natural)
• Deforestation
• Desertification
• Mine tailings pollution
• Invasive species
• Nuclear accidents
• Natural phenomena
• Persistent Organic Pollutants
• Water exploitation
• Fisheries
• Water pollution
• Terrestrial hotspots
• Marine hotspots
• Natural phenomena
• Species and habitat recovery
• Ramsar wetlands

Click on these links to see close up images of the spatial information on the map:
• South America
• South East Asia

The non-spatial component of the World Environment Map comprises 50 charts and tables separated into nine categories, namely:
1. Air
2. Biodiversity
3. Coastal and marine
4. Consumption and waste
5. Energy and transport
6. Greenhouse
7. Key trends and prominent events
8. Land
9. Water

By clicking on the links above, you can view the one of the charts from each category as it looks on the Map.

Creating the Map

Essentially the Map is a synthesis of a huge amount of environmental data sourced from: books, reports, industry newsletters, company press releases, newspaper articles etc. providing a meaningful overview of environmental issues and initiatives across the world. Click here for a list of key resources used. Data for the Map was chosen by a Technical Steering Committee comprising environmental experts from professional associations, research and non-government organisations.

Sponsors and Supporters

The development of the Map was supported by RMIT Global Sustainability, City of Melbourne and Central Queensland University.


Conservation International
Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Forest Stewardship Council
UNEP Global Environment Outlook 2000
International Commission on Large Dams
International Energy Agency
International Social Sciences Council
Marine Stewardship Council
National Geophysical Data Centre (USA)
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (USA)
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
The World Conservation Union
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
World Bank
World Conservation Monitoring Center
World Health Organisation
World Resources Institute 2000 – 2001
World Watch Institute
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)


Earth Systems Melbourne Office
14 Church Street, Hawthorn,
Victoria 3122, Australia
Tel: (61-3) 9810 7500
Fax: (61-3) 9853 5030