Geographic Information System Database

The Soltis Center is working on a Geographic Information System (GIS) database as a platform to support the regional initiative Monteverde Arenal Bioregion, which seeks to enhance the understanding and protection of this biologically-rich region through greater community involvement, collaboration, and an expansion of the spatial and temporal scale of conservation efforts. This project is developed with the participation of students of the School of Geographical Sciences of the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, with the logistical support and guidance of the Soltis Center.
As a GIS baseline, the project started with the Topographic Maps of Costa Rica (1: 50,000 scale) of the National Geographic Institute (IGN), Climatological Atlas as 2008 of the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) and high resolution Bing Maps and Google Earth Satellite images from 2008 to 2014.

The study area lies within between the coordinates Latitude 10 ° 34'51.6"N - Latitude 10 ° 5'12.39" N and Longitude 84 ° 59'48.439 "W - Longitude 84 ° 27'9.372" W. As a geographic working unit, we used the basin or watershed. For purposes of "Arenal Monteverde Initiative", we defined 38 micro-watersheds or sub-basins, totaling an area of ​​1588 km2.

The micro-watersheds and sub–basins were delimited through the vectorial method, using as a basis the 20-meter contour elevation lines of the IGN topographic maps. In order to facilitate the delineation, a survey of the hydrographic network of the 38 units was made​​ initially. With the 38 units delineated, we proceeded to generate morphometric and precipitation parameters. Gradient profiles of the main watershed stream and the hypsometric curves were also determined. Equally, using the 20-meter contour lines, digital elevation and slope models were generated.

The land use was manually digitalized using a photo interpretation process based on satellite images from Bing and Google Earth. These coverages were drawn in 1: 4000 scale and have the classification of the major land uses, as follows: forest, grassland, urban area, water bodies, crops and naked grounds. Then, the geographic statistics of land cover for all 38 units were generated.

A total of 230 maps were created and for each of the major watersheds, we have:
• Hydrographic Map
• Map of Strahler Stream Order
• Map of Annual Rainfall
• Map of Land Cover
• Digital Elevation Map
• Map of Slopes (Demek sensus)

For an overview of the GIS Database of the Monteverde Arenal Bioregion, visit the site at:

WARNING: Uploading this webpage link takes longer than regular webpages.

This project is still underway and for a full list of maps and coverages, please contact Dr Eugenio Gonzalez ([at]