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Environmental Investigation Agency uses MapHubs to monitor illegal logging and the expansion of large-scale agriculture


“MapHubs is a critical tool for campaigners that helps us to securely share multiple types of data among our team and bring these together to collaboratively tell a visual, geographical story." - EIA Campaigner

The Challenge

In forests around the world, the illegal timber trade and the oft-times illegal expansion of agricultural commodities are cutting large swathes into precious rainforests. These illegal activities threaten the rights of indigenous communities, imperil biodiversity-rich forests, and fuel corruption. Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization investigates, documents, and exposes these activities, seeking to stop illegal forest clearance and hold accountable those responsible. To help their efforts, EIA needed a simple yet powerful mapping system with tight security.

Project Goal

Use MapHubs to provide EIA with a spatial data management and publishing platform to support campaigns focused on illegal agro-commodity crop expansion in key forest regions around the globe.

The solution

Screenshot from Ghost Trucks (Credit: EIA)

MapHubs Pro provided EIA a simple, fast, and powerful mapping application, which gives EIA staff complete control of their mapping activities and is totally secure. MapHubs’ simple data management structure allows investigators to load in data sets, such as geo-referenced public property records and indigenous territories, as well as use the MapHubs integration with Planet Labs - a satellite imagery provider - to identify and map clearance area. Data is managed using MapHubs Groups, so EIA can track data sources and maintain quality control amongst their diverse team members. EIA investigators use MapHubs’ map maker to make interactive maps of their results and map stories to share results with team members. Content is managed within Hubs, so team members can track progress between different projects and coordinate data collection activities.


EIA has used maps created with MapHubs to track illegal logging in Romania in the video series, The S Files:

Ghost Trucks

Un-Natural Parks

Depot Deception

Number of maps made in first three months of use:

195 layers

74 maps

24 stories

2 hubs

EIA Testimony

“We have been using Maphubs in the production of recent videos. We have found it to be a great resource for two main reasons. First, when you have settled on the data that is important for a project, it allows you to store it in one place that is easily shareable. Second, the clean style of the maps in Maphubs allows us to present a unified look through all of the maps in our video projects.”— EIA Video & Editing Manager

“MapHubs is incredibly useful for communicating complex ideas; whether it's animal habitats, land titles, trade routes or population density, an embedded, interactive map allows the audience to not only see what is happening, but also upload their own layers to understand how such information interacts with their own. In another context, MapHubs is capable of helping local or indigenous communities create maps of their ancestral territories, cultural landmarks, or land use patterns that can be shared with government agencies, civil society and the global community, which has the potential to much better inform and advance numerous land titling disputes.”— EIA Campaigner