Please have some patience with me as I am not a GIS professional at all, I am merely trying to work with some of the file formats. Let me first explain what I am trying to accomplish:
The WDPA (World Database of Protected Areas) is, as the name says, an attempt to map all protected areas in the world, with an emphasis on biodiversity. Their work can be seen here:
You can browse all the areas right there on the site, search for them, etc. In addition, they have the following download options of the entire set (right below the search box):
- ESRI Web Service
This interests me greatly, since I want to integrate these protected areas into my own website, in the following ways:
- Using Google maps, per country (so not all at once) show the polygons as overlay on the current Google Maps canvas (I have to stick with Google Maps here, due to other functionality)
- Clicking on an area should show its metadata
- Stretch goal: As my website is about photography, it would be incredible if a geotagged photo could automatically be associated with the protected area in which it was taken
To accomplish the above, I figure I need the following:
- I need all textual metadata of all areas on the map in a way so that I can convert it into a format that is suitable for MySQL, the internal database I use. For example, each protected area has a unique ID and a country code, I need that data.
- I need the shape data per protected area (or per country?). This is where I lack knowledge. Either way it needs to be in such a format so that it can be shown on Google Maps, and I need to know to which protected area (or country) it belongs
Some things I tried:
The first 3 download options provided by WDPA all seem the same, not sure if that is a bug on the site or not. I had no idea how to open them but eventually figured out I need ArcGIS and installed a trial version. I still don't know how to export anything in the format I desire though.
The 4th option seems most promising: http://ec2-54-204-216-109.compute-1.amazonaws.com:6080/arcgis/rest/services/wdpa/wdpa/MapServer
There the entire set is offered via different web services. I tried opening the layer in Google Earth, but it keeps crashing on me, and I read you can't export layers from Google Earth? The other options are not familiar to me but after trying them I see no easy way to get the data I want in the way I want it.
I'm looking for your guidance in this question. This data set is a treasure and I am very excited to try to bring it into my own site, but I'm failing miserably at the first step.