If your goal is to protect species variety (biodiversity), it helps to have a fine-grained picture. A map showing data for an area 100 by 100 kilometers tells you some useful things about the state of population. But it might miss an awful lot.
"Such a coarse scale of analyzing the data causes many problems," says Clinton Jenkins, a research scholar at North Carolina State. "For instance, a grid cell 100 kilometers across could include multiple Andean Mountain ranges within Colombia, yet we know many species occur only at one or another range, and often only at particular elevations within the mountains."
Jenkins produced these maps, which are about 100-times more fine-grained than normal. They show the diversity (number of species) for mammals, amphibians and birds, across the world. The highest concentrations (red and yellow) are mostly in the tropics. Higher latitudes and deserts are blue, indicating lower numbers of species.