Eradication of invasive alien plants requires that all populations of the plants have been found and every plant removed. This entails intensive searching, which often comes at a great expense. Maps that show where species are likely to occur are useful for guiding searches, and may reduce the costs and increase the success of eradication operations. Such maps are based on models that explore the links between plant distributions and climatic factors in order to predict where the plants might occur.
The use and popularity of Google Earth has grown tremendously since its launch, and it has a range of uses from mapping and viewing mountain bike routes to monitoring chimpanzee forest habitat. However, Google Earth had no formal recognition or guidelines for its use in the field of invasion science, despite the fact that many scientists and managers use it on a regular basis.