If you want to find out where a species could occur, you need to use the environment at known species locations. Once you know what environment a species prefers, you can determine where else those environmental conditions occur and would therefore expect the species to occur. This approach is called ‘niche modelling’ or ‘species distribution modeling’. The spatial portal uses a modelling technique called MaxEnt developed by Steven Phillips. This method is robust for handling presence-only—data the situation where we know where a species occurs but are unsure about where it does not occur.
Input to MaxEnt is a list of species occurrences and a set of hopefully relevant environmental layers. The outputs are a probability surface map and a suite of diagnostic graphs and values.