Esri Names Blue Raster ArcGIS Online Specialty Partner

Blue Raster is honored to be one of the first companies granted the ArcGIS Online Specialty distinction by Esri.  Blue Raster has successfully implemented ArcGIS Online for more than 10 clients and established the ArcGIS Online Accelerate program to onramp organizations into the best practices of online/cloud mapping rapidly with a custom approach to each organization’s needs.

“ArcGIS Online is transforming the way organizations manage and share their spatial data with internal stakeholders and external customers,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond. “The ArcGIS Online Specialty allows us to recognize and collaborate with our partners that have embraced ArcGIS Online and are helping users succeed.”

Learn more about ArcGIS Online Accelerate and contact us to get started.

ArcGIS Online Specialty

MEASURE DHS Mobile Featured in Adobe PhoneGap Success Story

Blue Raster is excited to announce the Demographic and Health Surveys – MEASURE DHS mobile application is featured in a new case study publication by Adobe. Leveraging Adobe PhoneGap and Adobe PhoneGap Build, Blue Raster developed and deployed the application which enables users worldwide to access key demographic and health survey data provided by MEASURE DHS surveys. Since launching, the application has already achieved more than 1,000 downloads. See how Adobe PhoneGap and Blue Raster made it possible Get the app for your iOS or Android device today!

MEASURE DHS Mobile Adobe PhoneGap Success Story

Aqueduct – Mapping Water Risk Around the Globe

Blue Raster and the World Resources Institute (WRI) recently launched the latest version of Aqueduct Atlas, helping businesses around the world understand the impacts of a sustainable water supply.

The platform creates customizable, multi-variable maps that display twelve indicators of water risk in a given area, including groundwater stress levels, drought intensity, and flood occurrence. It also considers less obvious risks like legislation and regulatory limits to water access.

This information helps companies, investors, and other decision-makers:

  • Prioritize investments that will increase water security
  • Learn how water stress will affect their operations
  • Assess risk and target new opportunities worldwide

To map their priorities, users can adjust the weight of the water risk variables. The maps also have settings for nine water-intense industry sectors, including energy, agriculture, and chemical. Geocoding allows users to plot facilities, suppliers, and potential new market locations.

Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas

Built on ArcGIS Server 10.1, the tool takes advantage of the new “dynamic layers” capability to allow rapid rendering of more than 25,000 polygons to depict the topology of catchment areas.

Major companies around the world are already using Aqueduct to inform operations:

  • McDonalds is requiring hundreds of its suppliers to use Aqueduct to assess local water risk
  • Procter & Gamble used Aqueduct to understand how water risk may affect its global facilities
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch used Aqueduct to illustrate water risks and opportunities for investors

“Recent history is littered with companies that failed to anticipate emerging threats. Water scarcity is one such threat,” said Andrew Steer, President of WRI. “Thankfully, forward-thinking business leaders are starting to get it. They understand that water risk is one of the top issues that they face.”

Aqueduct has received extensive media coverage, including in the New York Times, The Guardian, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and Greenbiz.

Aqueduct allows users to easily see water risk around the world. Come check out this new decision-support tool.

Mapping the Global Adoption of Digital Media

The explosion of digital media has created new ways to distribute news and information with global audiences. Events in almost any location can be shared immediately with citizens in the remote corners of the developing world.  Although this digital revolution holds promise for organizations that support freedom of expression and balanced news coverage, it also presents challenges, such as bridging the digital divide between prosperous and impoverished communities.

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy partnered with Blue Raster to develop an interactive map featuring 10 digital media indicators from Open Society Foundations‘ Mapping Digital Media project. The project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project includes data on how these changes affect news about political, economic, and social affairs.

Using this interactive web map, visitors can view indicators of digital media penetration and usage by country.  Selected indicators include television consumption, digital broadcasting, internet penetration, broadband, mobile phone and social media usage.  The indicator data is drawn from the Mapping Digital Media project reports, which were researched and written by teams of in-country academics and journalists.  Users can quickly view all 10 indicators from these reports or compare specific indicators across countries of interest.  The tool also encourages users to share new information via social media.  By making the Mapping Digital Media tool available to the public, CIMA hopes to expand the conversation about its mission to strengthen the support, raise the visibility, and improve the effectiveness of independent media development throughout the world.

The application, accessible on both desktop and mobile devices, was built utilizing ArcGIS Online, the Esri JavaScript API and HTML5.  Blue Raster also used Adobe PhoneGap to create an iPad version of the map, which is available for download from the Apple App Store.

CIMA - Mapping Digital Media


U.S. National Arboretum Launches Botanical Explorer for Tour Planning and Research

With over 440 acres of trees, shrubs and plants, as well as a massive collection of plant records and specimens, the U.S. National Arboretum can be an overwhelming place for first-time visitors and skilled researchers alike.  Beginning this month, however, guests can plan their Arboretum visit in advance using a new web mapping application developed by Blue Raster.  Arboretum Botanical Explorer (ABE) will allow visitors to investigate the Arboretum grounds and collections through a searchable database and interactive maps.

Working with the National Arboretum and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Blue Raster replaced the Arboretum’s legacy system with an ArcGIS Server geodatabase to manage their collection.  A custom application was then developed that enables users to access and display information from the Arboretum’s botanical collection, maintained in BG-Base, and its photo repository in Asset Bank.  The collection includes more than 30,000 plant records and information on more than 60,000 specimens (plant leaf or cutting).

“The National Arboretum is excited to offer a web-based application that makes its extensive collections searchable online for the first time,” said Education and Visitor Services Unit Leader, Nancy Luria.  “ABE brings together the Arboretum’s plant records and image databases into a single, user-friendly system that  researchers and visitors alike can use to map specific plants and to plan a visit.  It provides a rich platform for sharing information and images with the public that will greatly increase the Arboretum’s outreach efforts.”

To prepare for their trip to the Arboretum, visitors and researchers can use the application to create maps that show the location of specific plants on the grounds, as well as points of interest, dedicated trees and benches, special collections and amenities.  Visitors can explore the interactive maps of the Arboretum’s featured tours of cherry trees and herb gardens, and learn details about each plant on the tour.  Researchers, horticulturists, and visitors can use the application to create reports with photos and attributes of the specific plants they are studying.  To view the National Arboretum’s Botanical Explorer, visit

Blue Raster Hosts Young GIS Enthusiasts to Mark GIS Day

In Blue Raster’s continued effort to promote technology education, the company hosted an event in recognition of GIS Day.  The annual celebration takes place on November 14th to salute geospatial technology, and was started in 1999 by Blue Raster partner, Esri.  GIS Day is marked globally with events that aim to educate others on geography and the uses of GIS.

Blue Raster welcomed twenty-three students from Washington-Lee High School who are participating in the James Madison University Geospatial Semester, a college-level GIS class.  The program which is offered at several high schools across Virginia is for seniors and provides college credit upon successful completion of the course.

Class instructor, Ryan Miller, who has been teaching the course for five years, notes that it gives students “a hands-on experience learning GIS,” and sees the value in taking students outside the classroom to view real-world applications of the course concepts.  “What we were able to accomplish today — establishing rapport between the GIS professional community and GIS students — truly represents the essence of GIS Day,” shares Miller.  “Bridging the gap between those that know GIS well and those learning it, benefits our entire community.  We are most thankful for the opportunity Blue Raster provided here.”

The day’s agenda included presentations of various Blue Raster GIS projects, a geography challenge and a Q&A session for students seeking an understanding of working at a GIS firm.  Blue Raster principal, Michael Lippmann, felt an overall sense of pride in having taken part in GIS Day.  “It has been very rewarding to share our work with students and learn about their enthusiasm for GIS.  These eager minds are getting a jumpstart on their careers, and we look forward to maintaining our connection with the next-generation of GIS developers through internships and mentoring in the future.”

Supporting Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is launching two powerful online mapping applications that offer unprecedented capabilities to support industry and government efforts to achieve more sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia.  The Suitability Mapper helps users find potential sites for sustainable palm oil production, using a customizable map. It empowers companies and government planners to use a standard, easily replicable method to find potential sites for sustainable palm oil production and plan field assessments for further investigation.  The Forest Cover Analyzer allows users to view change in forest cover over time in areas of their choice, using up-to-date satellite data.  It provides a unique set of monitoring tools to help buyers, investors, and governments strengthen incentives for avoiding deforestation when developing new plantations.

“Palm oil holds tremendous opportunities for people and business in Indonesia—and should be produced in a way that avoids destruction of vibrant lands and forests,” said Andrew Steer, President of WRI. “These dynamic new online tools will enable companies to better identify the best places for palm oil production and assess deforestation and other factors that are critical for long-term sustainability of this industry.”

Identifying and Understanding Changes to Protected Areas

Conservation policy assumes that national parks and other protected areas are permanent fixtures on the landscape, but recent World Wildlife Fund (WWF) research demonstrates that these precious natural resources are at risk.  To understand and address the changes happening to existing protected areas, WWF worked with Blue Raster to develop, an online portal that uses spatial mapping to track protected areas threatened by Protected Areas Downgrading, Downsizing and Degazettement, or PADDD.

PADDD is the legal process of making protected areas weaker (downgrading) or smaller (downsizing) or eliminating them entirely (degazettement).  While some of these changes offer the opportunity to restore lands to indigenous communities or allocate conservation resources more efficiently, others present challenges to the protection of nature. will help scientists collect and analyze PADDD data, and share these findings with conservation organizations, government agencies, and concerned citizens everywhere.

Blue Raster and partner, Orion Creative Group built the user-friendly system integrating Drupal 7 and ArcGIS for Server 10.1. features interactive maps that allow users to browse current and historical PADDD data, as well as contribute new information on PADDD events in their regions.  The site contains data collected on hundreds of PADDD instances affecting many protected areas across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.  By compiling and disseminating PADDD data, will build awareness of PADDD and its conservation implications, and ultimately foster greater transparency and accountability in natural resource decision making worldwide.

Blue Raster Joins Amazon Partner Network

Blue Raster is now an official Amazon Web Services Partner Network Consulting Partner.  The AWS Partner Network (APN) Consulting Partners are professional services firms that help customers of all sizes design, architect, migrate, or build new applications on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Upon completion of the application process, Blue Raster became one of the first APN participants to gain public designation as a Standard Consulting Partner.  As an APN Consulting Partner, Blue Raster is listed in the AWS Partner Directory and receives APN support while designing, building, and managing solutions on the AWS platform for clients worldwide.

The Blue Raster team includes several experts in cloud computing architecture and best practices for running complex mapping applications with Amazon Web Services.  Our experience deploying Esri ArcGIS Server to the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) powers several Federal and International mapping initiatives.  Blue Raster also participates in the FGDC GeoCloud  initiative to migrate the U.S. Department of Education (ED) ArcGIS Servers to Amazon.  This program offers a jumpstart for federal agencies to move their legacy systems to a cloud hosting environment.

IUCN Threatened Species Now Available via ArcGIS Online

Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Esri International User Conference in San Diego, announced the immediate availability of species data on ArcGIS Online.  Aligned with their mission to “influence society to conserve nature and natural resources in an equitable and sustainable manner”, IUCN has collaborated with Esri and Blue Raster to release species range data for their collection of over 32,000 species.

Anyone can search ArcGIS Online for a species, view the scientific taxonomy, and see the species range map as published on the IUCN Red List.  ArcGIS Online is directly linked to IUCN’s interactive mapping application which now provides the ability to download the species range data in GIS-ready format.