By Alyssa Westerman, Rachael Petersen, James Anderson and Aaron Steele

The Global Forest Watch initiative is much more than a website. It’s a public forum that delivers timely and actionable data about forest disturbances from around the world. We are constantly improving the site based on your feedback and we’ve made some improvements! Here are five ways GFW has made forest information easier to access and share:

1. “Breaking news” feature

The globalforestwatch.org homepage now includes a “breaking news” feature for highlighting news stories, blog posts, research articles, data, features, and more.

site updates 1

2. Share a specific map view or graphic

If you find interesting data on Global Forest Watch, you may want to share it with your friends, colleagues, or social networks. Our “share” feature makes that easier than ever before. Users can now share specific map views and graphics on the GFW website by:

Simply copying and pasting the URL, which changes automatically as you navigate around the map and activate layers.

site updates 2

Sharing a shortened version of the URL for a specific map view or graphic. Just look for the “share” icon on the map, individual country pages, and on the global overview page.

site updates 3

Embedding the interactive map or a dynamic graphic in a blog post or other online platform. Embedding the map works best with a width of at least 1200 pixels. You can also directly share the map view via your social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ with the buttons below the URL.

site updates 4

3. Follow or Tweet about GFW

You can now find the @globalforests Twitter feed in the footer of the GFW website. See what the GFW team is up to, check out the latest forest-related news and analyses, or learn about job postings and events. You can also follow GFW on Twitter by clicking on the Twitter icon in the website footer.

site twitter

4. Sign up to receive GFW updates

Interested in staying up-to-date on GFW and forest information?  Click on the “mail” icon to sign up for the GFW mailing list. You will receive our data bulletins, special analyses, newsletters, and invitations to GFW events.

 5. Use our API to incorporate GFW data into an existing web platform

GFW is also becoming more shareable through publishing our Application Programming Interface (API). The API provides a set of URLs that allow users to query and download raw GFW data in different formats. For example, here’s a URL for querying University of Maryland tree cover loss data for Indonesia between 2000 and 2011. While the API is still in “beta” mode, it has already allowed web developers at UNEP and SMART to begin creating open architectures for sharing data about forests.

And this is just the beginning. Look for more upgrades to the GFW interface in the coming months.

If you have suggestions on how we can improve GFW further, take our User Survey. We want to hear from you!