Ice Age Mapper

Exploring ecological change since Last Glacial Maximum

How to Get Started


Search by taxon name.


Select a taxon from its ecological grouping.


Navigate through our Interactive Taxonomy to pick out the what you're interested in from the tree of life.


Browse existing Ice Age Maps in our Gallery.

About Ice Age Mapper

What is it?

Ice Age Mapper is a visualization tool developed at UW Madison to promote understanding of past ecological change by students and paleoecologists alike. IAM is live-linked to the Neotoma Paleoecological Database and allows users to browse Neotoma's holdings in a way that incorporates contextual information while supporting multiple drill-down filters into the raw data. In the past, spatiotemporality, uncertainty, and multidimensionality of paleoecological datasets have made it difficult to visualize it. Ice Age Mapper leverages recent advances in interactive mapping and data visualization to effectively communicate ecological trends through space and time. By promoting map sharing via permanent unique URLs Ice Age Mapper is designed for both research and teaching use.


  • Seamless Connection to the Neotoma Paleoecological Database: Using Neotoma’s public Application Programming Interface (API), IAM supports live searching and browsing of the Neotoma Database’s collection.
  • Multidimensional Dashboard: More than seven filters are available, so you can uncover hidden patterns in the data.
  • Contextual Layers: Northern Hemisphere mean temperature (GISP2 Greenland Ice Record), Ice Sheets, and site descriptions and metadata accompany the raw data so it is put in the proper context.
  • Taxonomy Browser: Wondering where your favorite ecological proxy fits with other life forms? Wonder no more, with our interactive taxonomic hierarchy, specifically built for Neotoma's data.
  • Persistent State: Like the way you've configured your map? Save it and share it with your friends and colleagues by generating a unique URL for it.

How it's built

Ice Age Mapper is built with a modern Open Web technology stack of free and open-source tools, which promotes community involvement and development. The applications makes heavy use of front-end libraries, including Mapbox-GL, D3.js, and Crossfilter -- all strongly supported by the developer community and can be modified to fit our needs. Ice Age Mapper's codebase is on GitHub and we welcome anyone to make contributions to the project. Click here to contribute.

The Team

Scott Farley

Graduate Student and Lead Developer

Jack Williams

Principle Investigator