Visualizing Open Data’s Global Reach

Blue Raster worked with the Center for Open Data Enterprise to build a mapping application showcasing a centralized, searchable database of organizations using open data worldwide. The Open Data Impact Map makes it possible to explore open data-use trends through filters and visualizations and is facilitates comparative analysis by country, region, or company use of data. All information collected becomes publicly available as a resource for others to build on.

Open Data Enterprise Impact Map

Joel Gurin - President, Center for Open Data Enterprises“All of us at the Center for Open Data Enterprise are pleased to have worked with Blue Raster on the Open Data Impact Map. Their engaging, user-friendly visualization will help make this an excellent  resource for the open-data community worldwide. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Blue Raster…”

Joel Gurin – President, Center for Open Data Enterprise

Filter Table View

The web map was developed in Leaflet using React, Backbone.js, Dojo, Modernizr, Underscore.js and jQuery javascript frameworks. ZURB Foundation was used as the web framework.

Check out the site and see how dynamic clustering is used to visualize open data around the world.

From Data to Decisions on Global Malnutrition

Blue Raster recently worked with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to build a mapping application to highlight the multiple burdens of malnutrition in low, middle and high-income countries. This is a contribution to the growing research on the issue of the double/multiple burden of malnutrition globally. The interactive map transforms extensive tabular data from various resources into rich geographic visualizations, bringing the data to life in ways not possible in traditional reports.

Malnutrition Mapping Project

Intended as a policy and advocacy tool, the map allows users to analyze emerging issues and explore important indicators driving malnutrition. It provides country-level data and possibility to view the following:

  • Demographics
  • Undernutrition
  • Overweight / Obesity
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Risk factors, and
  • Protective factors

Cloud-based ArcGIS Online powers the interactive mapping. For rapid performance, Blue Raster leveraged ArcGIS Desktop to symbolize and tile the data, and ArcGIS Online to host and serve the tiled layers and feature services. Users can explore and understand the underlying data by selecting multiple variables simultaneously and viewing countries exceeding thresholds or missing data.

Indicator Analysis in GAIN's Double Burden Map

GAINBlue Raster did an excellent job under a very tight timeline. Their responsiveness to our needs and their creativity exceeded our expectations. We are very excited to share this policy and advocacy tool with researchers and other stakeholders around the world.”
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition


GAIN’s mapping tool is helping deliver a better understanding of the burdens faced by countries suffering from malnutrition. It provides new geographic insight and analytical capabilities, and will lead to better decisions on how to help the most vulnerable of the global population. Visit the site, and see how Blue Raster helped GAIN move from static reports to a powerful advocacy tool.

New Mobile-Friendly Water Risk Atlas

Aqueduct on Mobile PhoneEarlier today, Blue Raster and the World Resources Institute (WRI) released a new version of Aqueduct Atlas, an application helping companies and investors manage exposure to water risks. Launched in 2013, Aqueduct is used worldwide by leading companies, including McDonald’s, Goldman Sachs, and Procter & Gamble. For the first time, the site is optimized for mobile phones and tablets.

The new site enables users to:

  • Assess water stress, supply, and demand in the coming decades
  • Learn where water risks will be most severe under well-known climate scenarios
  • Prioritize investments for projected conditions

Charles Iceland, Director, Aqueduct Project “The World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct team has worked closely with Blue Raster for over three years developing the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas. Blue Raster has been an invaluable partner in building innovative mapping tools to meet our target audiences’ needs.”
Charles Iceland, Director, Aqueduct Project


  • Global water risk maps
  • Weighing risk priorities:  scarcity, quality, prices, governance, and competition
  • Provides industry presets with sector-specific weighting schemes or define your own
  • Geocode facilities, suppliers, and potential new market locations
  • Export analysis results to Excel

Aqueduct is powered by ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS JavaScript API, and ArcGIS Desktop. To learn more, visit the platform and see Aqueduct featured in the New York Times, The Guardian, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and Greenbiz.

APTA Story Map Amplifies Advocacy Message

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) asked Blue Raster to create a story map to spread their message. According to APTA, public transit saw its highest ridership in 58 years at 10.8 billion trips, but the current federal funding bill is set to expire on May 31, 2015.

Stand Up 4 Transportation Story Map

Although a long-term transportation bill is supported by the transportation industry in near unanimity, APTA wanted a way to connect their message with constituents and to broadcast it out to a wide audience.

The Stand Up 4 Transportation story map features first-person narratives describing how public transit is impacting people in all parts of the country and sectors of the economy. The story map strategically launched in coordination with national Stand Up For Transportation Day on April 9th, a keystone event for showing national bill support.

Story from Minneapolis, MN

The map provides users with quick data visualization and offers information important at the community level including:

  • Transportation funding
  • Manufacturing Jobs
  • Rail and bus services

The ability to share the map on social media enabled APTA to amplify their message. Launching the application helped propel #SU4T on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. By using maps, APTA was able to show the scale and impact of public transit, in a new way that text could not.


View the Stand Up 4 Transportation story map and see for yourself how your story can get in front of Congress and decision makers.

Department of Education Open Data

Did you know that websites you visit every day, such as, are powered by open data from government agencies? Large amounts of government data are available on sites like, but often organizations have difficulty finding the relevant datasets. Open data initiatives like MapED Open Data provide authoritative, ready-to-use data driving many private-sector applications on the web today.

MapED Open Data

Built by Blue Raster, the MapED Open Data site enables citizens to better discover, map, and download NCES and Census datasets in a user friendly way. GIS-users can download data in shapefiles and KMLs. Traditional download formats like excel spreadsheets are also supported. Additionally, developers can find datasets for their applications and access them with the Esri GeoServices REST Spec or GeoJSON.

The site features innovative data filtering and analytical mapping that is approachable by everyday users. Charting capabilities, histograms, and scatter plots can be embedded in other websites, applications, and tools.

The site currently features school, district, and state-level data, with additional datasets coming in the next few months. Visit the MapED Open Data site at

2015 Esri Partner Conference Award – Public Web Application

Blue Raster has been chosen to receive the Public Web Application Award for the 2015 Esri Partner Conference. The award is given to a company who demonstrates outstanding and innovative uses of the Esri platform, taking geographic visualization to a higher level. Candidates for the award are nominated by Esri staff, and the selected winner is honored at the 2015 Esri Partner Conference, March 7-10.

Blue Raster’s winning application, Global Forest Watch Fires (GFW Fires), is part of the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch platform. Launched in July 2014, GFW Fires aims to promote access to information on forest and land fires in Southeast Asia. The fires, often set illegally to clear land for agriculture or used as a tool in conflict over land, produce a toxic haze that threatens human health, the economy, and the environment.

Efforts to stop the fires have been hampered by a lack of concrete evidence regarding who is responsible for starting them. Now, with GFW Fires, everyone from decision makers to local community members can pinpoint fires on company concessions- and use this information to take action. This application was built using Esri ArcGIS Server and Image Server Extension, and uses Digital Globe first look imagery along with the Twilio API for SMS, and includes webservices feeds from many sources including NASA, NOAA and others.

Visit GFW Fires, and learn more about the Global Forest Watch platform.

India Water Tool Offers Strategies for Water Risk

Companies in India are contending with a growing resource crisis: water shortage. With 54% of the country’s total area facing high to extremely high water stress, India is positioned to become one of the most water-stressed countries in the world.

A combination of water-intensive agriculture, increasing industrialization, and business-as-usual approaches to water management has put the water supply in danger. In a report published by the Water Resources Group, the national supply is predicted to fall 50% below demand by 2030. But companies, government agencies, and other water users have a new tool poised to make a meaningful difference, the India Water Tool 2.0 (IWT 2.0).

India Water Tool, Net Groundwater Availability Map

Today marked the launch of version 2 of this comprehensive, publicly available online tool. IWT 2.0 was created in partnership by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), companies, research organizations, and industry associations.

Joppe CramwinckelWe are proud to have led the development of the India Water Tool. Water is a shared resource with finite volumes, resulting in collective risk. Collaboration is key to developing scalable and impactful solutions and driving their locally-relevant implementation.
Joppe Cramwinckel, Director, Water, WBCSD

The tool is the most comprehensive freely available resource to help companies, government agencies, and other stakeholders identify their water risks and prioritize water-management sites.

Groundwater Data Charts

Groundwater level pre and post monsoon.

The web platform incorporates a series of interactive maps including groundwater level, rainfall, surface water availability,  projected water stress, and water quality. Users can upload or enter GPS-based locations and receive custom reports featuring charts and graphs quantifying water-risk metrics. Built using the ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS for Server, and ArcGIS JavaScript API, the tool allows companies to answer questions including:

  • How many of my sites are in high stress regions?
  • How many of my sites are in over-exploited or critical areas?
  • What is the net groundwater availability and projected demand for groundwater for my sites?
  • Are any sites in areas where the concentration of pollutants are above permissible limits?

India Water Tool 2.0

The tool also addresses the shared risks between agriculture, industry, and domestic users. For example, of the 632 groundwater quality districts captured in the tool, only 59 meet Indian-government water quality safety standards. This equates to more than 100 million people living in areas of poor water quality. Among the 4,000 wells showing statistically significant trends, 54% have declined in the past seven years, and 16% have dropped over 1 meter per year. The map also shows a widespread pattern of high risk in Northwest India, a region where agriculture is a cornerstone of the economy. Producing 50% of the national government’s rice supply and 85% of its wheat, the area depends heavily on groundwater for  these water intensive crops.

IWT 2.0 is the first step for understanding water-related challenges in India and planning for long-term water management. Check out and explore the India Water Tool 2.0 today.

New Release of REL Midwest EdMaps

Blue Raster is pleased to announce a new release of the REL Midwest’s EdMaps, an interactive web mapping application that helps education stakeholders think spatially about education issues affecting their communities.

Historic District-Level Ethnicity

Initially launched in January 2014, EdMaps enables users to visualize and analyze complex, geographically linked education data through easy-to-use story maps. The updated application features three additional maps, as well as a new custom maps tool and tutorial video. It also incorporates recently released public school, private school, and district-level school data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The new story maps look at:

  1. School access to broadband Internet – Currently fewer than 40 percent of American public schools have high-speed Internet in their classrooms. President Obama stated in a ConnectED conference that, “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, the least we can do is expect that our schools are properly wired.”
  2. Historic district-level ethnicity – Users can view the distribution of racial/ethnic groups across the Midwest region from 2000/01 – 2011/12.
  3. Priority and Focus schools – Visualize locations of low-performing schools designated as Priority or Focus schools.

Broadband Map

The data and story maps in the application address the Rel Midwest’s four main priority areas of college and career readiness, early childhood education, educator effectiveness, and low-performing schools. Blue Raster built the application using the JavaScript API, ArcGIS Desktop, and ArcGIS for Server. Future releases of the application will feature additional story maps including a look at Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the Midwest region using the Esri Map Journal Builder.

Check out the application today by visiting EdMaps.

Development Alert! Tool Raises Awareness of Infrastructure Projects and their Impacts

The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) announced today the launch of the newest tool from WRI’s Access initiative, Development Alert!. Built by Blue Raster, the free, mobile-friendly site provides the public with greater access to information about development projects affecting the environment and public health. The site plots approved and proposed large-scale development projects along with overlays of protected areas, fisheries, forest reserves and land cover so users can easily identify projects in or around environmentally sensitive areas.

Development Alert Homepage



In Jamaica, Development Alert! is helping promote transparency and public involvement in projects including the trans-shipment port in Goat Islands. The project is expected to flatten the Goat Islands to develop a $1.5 billion trans-shipment port.

Using the map of Jamaica in Development Alert!, members of the public can see that this project is not only located in a protected area but is also within a forest reserve and Special Fisheries Conservation Area.

See the Goat Islands Project in Action.


Carole Excell, Project Director, The Access Initiative“The dynamic new website Development Alert! Jamaica is the result of a close collaborative approach with Blue Raster. What has been accomplished is an innovative new advocacy tool for environmental defenders. It’s a first not only in Jamaica but in the entire Caribbean. We could not have asked for better partners in this project and hope to bring this website to other countries around the world.”

Carole Excell, Project Director of The Access Initiative at WRI


The site is developed on WordPress for easy content management by JET, and is integrated with ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Server via the JavaScript API for mapping capabilities. Learn more and visit Development Alert!.

Future Ready Map Video for White House Connect-ED Event

More than 1,200 School Superintendents Take the Future Ready District Pledge

Blue Raster is proud to have produced the Future Ready video for the White House ConnectED conference on Wednesday in partnership with All4Ed. The standing-room-only East Room was abuzz with more than 120 superintendents “signing the pledge”. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama addressed the invited guests. Enjoy a brief highlight of the event via YouTube as well as the map video below.

Behind-the-scenes look at producing the video:
A behind-the-scenes look at the video production.

A behind-the-scenes look at the video production.

The final video map: