Our Work

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Amazon Web Services

GFW Pro: Managing Deforestation Risk in Commodity Supply Chains

Blue Raster is proud to announce the launch of Global Forest Watch Pro beta, a decision support tool that empowers companies to monitor their supply chains for deforestation and fires with a focus on preserving the most sensitive landscape types. Companies can upload all of their of sourcing areas, farms, and supply sheds for analysis and view interactive maps and diagnostics displaying occurrences of deforestation, alerts for forest fires, land cover types. Each organization is provided a secure location to manage user access to their areas of interest to ensure that the right people are able to interact with the right data at the right time.

GFW Pro quote

Analyzing Areas of Interest

The public launch builds on the features available during the preview period and dramatically increases the speed of analysis of the user's areas of interest (AOI). Upon upload, the AOIs enter the analysis workflow which leverages AWS Lambda to calculate area-of-intersection with a variety of land-use and land-cover datasets. These intersecting areas are analyzed for tree-cover-loss since 2000, providing a detailed and nuanced view of conditions on the ground. With the latest iteration, Blue Raster leveraged AWS Dynamo DB to improve processing speeds by 700%, allowing GFW Pro to analyze hundreds of thousands of locations per day.

Improved Features

The latest update also provides users with an improved ability to manage locations within their account including:
- Sharing functionality to manage access to AOIs within an organization and send data to users outside the organization in the case of supply chains that include several companies
- Allowing users to re-analyze their AOIs at a click of a button if underlying data re updated
- The ability to upload locations in more geographic projections

Detailed Views

GFW Pro provides an unprecedented ability to view detailed environmental diagnostics of any Area of Interest (AOI) in a supply chain. The Forest Change Diagnostic presents a detailed breakdown of all deforestation since the year 2000 by a variety of global and regional specific land-use and land-cover types, such as WDPA Protected Areas, Peat, and Primary Forest. All data are displayed in intuitive interactive charts and are available for download. As Palm Oil Production is a major driver of deforestation, the Commodity Risk Diagnostic allows users to compare deforestation and fires within mills' supply sheds and empowers them to move palm sourcing away from the riskiest mills.

 

On the GFW Pro map, users have the option to view their data in the form of immersive, full-screen maps which highlight the geographic extent of surrounding environmental conditions. Additionally, users can sort this data by toggling numerous interactive layers, which are conveniently organized by categories such as forest change, land cover, land use, conservation, and more. It is also possible to monitor the conditions of distinct governmental units (such as states and provinces) or unique user-defined areas (through the polygon-drawing tool).

GFW Pro map

GFW Summit & Beyond

We are extremely proud of our work with Global Forest Watch and we look forward to attending the GFW Summit in this week in Washington, DC. We hope that this program advances supply chain management in the context of a changing natural environment, and that our users are better able to comprehend the human footprint of production across the world’s forests. Please check back soon for ongoing improvements to this application, as well as the release of other new and innovative mapping solutions.

Towards Zero Deforestation with GFW Pro

Hundreds of companies around the world have signed on to the United Nations (UC) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Life on Land and pledged to work towards zero deforestation by 2020. However, meeting these commitments requires the ability monitor deforestation throughout their supply chains. Global Forest Watch Pro provides each organization a unique, secure environment to monitor and analyze these supply chains, and also helps these organizations demonstrate compliance with commitments and policies.

The application builds on the success of past GFW initiatives and leverages the comprehensive list of authoritative datasets curated by the World Resources institute. Data are served to the application from a variety of locations, such as ArcGIS Server, Amazon S3, and Carto DB. Users can upload lists of over 1,000 custom Areas of Interest (AOIs), which are quickly analyzed for deforestation on sensitive areas and by regional landcover types.  The application’s two diagnostics provide detailed historic deforestation measurements as well as industry specific risk scores. In addition, an alert dashboard provides real time monitoring capabilities and displays the latest GLAD Deforestation and VIIRS Fire alerts.

Supply Chain Analysis for Deforestation

 

GFW Pro leverages AWS Lambda to provide the intensive computational resources needed to quickly analyze these large custom lists while keeping costs as low as possible. Using the latest serverless technology, the application is quickly able to spin up as much compute power as needed to analyze each list, and then shut them down just as quickly. This allows the application to scale horizontally and processes thousands of user uploaded locations a day.

We are excited to see the impact GFW Pro will have on monitoring environmental impacts and global supply chains.

Conserve and Protect with The Land Trust Alliance

Since 1982, the Land Trust Alliance has supported conservation by providing its over 1,000 member land trusts with education programs, legal insurance, and a voice in Washington speaking for conservationists. With the Find a Land Trust Map, the Alliance gives individuals around the country a means of identifying local organizations working on conservation.

The Land Trust Alliance set out to update the map with a modern, intuitive user interface while maintaining the previous map’s search and filter functionality. Blue Raster’s design team worked through several rounds of design and conducted user testing to ensure that users would be able to quickly find land trusts in their area. By including key information about protection priorities, acres under protection, and Accreditation status, the map makes it easy to find the right land trust.

Members can update the status and information associated with each Land Trust easily. Blue Raster used the latest technology to grab user submissions daily by running a, automated Lambda script hosted on Amazon Web Services and publishing updates to the data hosted on ArcGIS Online.

 

Helping Secure Land Rights With LandMark

Blue Raster is proud to announce a major update to the LandMark interactive global mapping platform of community and indigenous lands. The original LandMark platform provided unprecedented information about the location of indigenous and community owned lands and the strength of legal protections available to these communities. The latest release builds upon that success by adding new functionality, upgrading back end processes to keep pace with latest technologies, and refreshing the design for an even better user experience. Working closely with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and a 13-member Steering Group, Blue Raster incorporated additional analysis capabilities, redesigned the map layout, added Python scripting to increase processing speeds, and integrated Amazon CloudFront to accelerate application performance.

LandMark Global Platform of Indigenous & Community Lands

We are very pleased to continue working with Blue Raster from the inception of LandMark in 2014 through this latest development phase. Their support has been instrumental in helping us towards our goal of becoming the go-to site for information on indigenous and community land rights globally.

— Katie Reytar, Senior Research Associate, WRI

The map’s new legend and navigation pane provide an intuitive and user-friendly way to explore indigenous & community land maps, country statistics, and legal security for these lands. The updated print function enables users to customize map views and export to a pdf, jpg, or png. Users can also generate location-specific reports by uploading shapefiles or drawing a polygon on the map. These reports include statistics on documentation, identity, and legal recognition of indigenous and community lands. Analysis is performed on the fly and the results can be exported for further study.

The ArcGIS JavaScript API, Highcharts, React JS, Python, and ES6 power the reports and mapping application. Be sure to visit the updated LandMark site today!

Peru Country Profile Page

New Paper Identifying Emerging Hot Spots of Deforestation

Blue Raster is proud to have worked with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Esri Big Data Team to co-author the study, Using Spatial Statistics to Identify Emerging Hot Spots of Forest Loss.

Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study lays out the data-analysis workflow Blue Raster developed to identify trends in tree-cover loss in Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 2000 and 2014. Using Esri’s emerging hot spot analysis and big data analysis techniques, Blue Raster identified persistent, accelerating, and new hot spots of tree-cover loss, as well as cold spots of diminishing loss. New forest policies such as logging moratoria and incentives were linked with reduced forest clearing, whereas timber harvesting, road-building, and agricultural land clearing were associated with hot spots.

Techniques identified in the study will help decision makers, technical experts and the broader public better understand trends in deforestation and improve forest monitoring going forward. While the article focuses on Brazil, Indonesia, and the DRC, the methodology can be scaled for larger or smaller regions, as well as for different windows in time.

Accompanying the paper, Blue Raster produced maps of intensifying, sporadic, and new hot spots of deforestation for each area of interest. The visuals indicate a broad range of trends including:

  • Shifting spatiotemporal patterns of loss in Brazil, with forest loss significantly diminishing within the Amazonian states of Mato Grosso and Rondônia and intensifying within the cerrado biome;
  • New and statistically significant hot spots of forest loss in 2013 and 2014 in West Kalimanta, Indonesia; and
  • The emergence of vast areas of DRC as significant new hot spots of forest loss, with intensified loss radiating out from city centers such as Beni and Kisangani.

The release of the article coincides with the World Economic Forum, an event where 20 of the world’s largest commodity producers, traders, manufacturers, consultants, and retailers launched a new partnership with research institutions and banks to monitor deforestation and manage sustainability from farm to customer. The partnership, led by WRI’s Global Forest Watch team, will focus on building an online global decision-support tool that builds on the GFW Commodities platform to increase transparency and traceability across supply chains.

Read the full publication by WRI, Blue Raster, and Esri online at IOP Science.


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