Our Work

Blue Raster helps you tell your story through interactive
mapping technology. Make your message clear, exciting,
and user-friendly for both mobile and web platforms.

Conservation

Public Gardens on Display in Washington, DC

Last month, over 1,000 public horticulture enthusiasts attended the American Public Gardens Association annual conference in Washington, DC. Blue Raster was proud to be a conference sponsor and presenter at the GIS for Public Gardens: Enterprise Configurations workshop. Christopher Gabris, Blue Raster's Project Manager for Public Gardens, was pleased to show our recent work in the community including:

The conference included a walking tour of the Smithsonian and U.S. Botanical Gardens on the National Mall. Also, it featured an evening at U.S. National Arboretum with a Tour and Reception.

Blue Raster is continuing to serve public gardens in their mission to be inclusive for all and indispensable to the community. You can learn more about our capabilities and ongoing projects at https://www.blueraster.com/gardens/.

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Contact us today to get started on your next project!

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.

Forest Products Without Compromise

Forest Stewardship Council’s mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. Their vision is that we can meet our current needs for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations

Forest

The FSC Dashboards, created by the Forest Stewardship Council and Blue Raster, provide an interactive outlet to explore where FSC Certified Forests and Certificates currently are located. Sharing these ArcGIS Operations Dashboards give viewers a look into the breadth of FSC Impact and explore physical boundaries of managed forests on top of satellite imagery and can be analyzed against authoritative global forest extent and change data for verification and accountability purposes.

Forest Stewardship Council Dashboard

Before a forest owner or manager can certify their forest, they must meet the ten FSC principles for responsible forest management. These rules apply to all forest types and are in place to ensure environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable forest management. The FSC 10 principles are below.

The 10 rules for responsible forest management

PRINCIPLE 1:
The Organization shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations and nationally-ratified international treaties, conventions and agreements.

PRINCIPLE 2:
The Organization shall maintain or enhance the social and economic well-being of workers.

PRINCIPLE 3:
The Organization shall identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources affected by management activities.

PRINCIPLE 4:
The Organization shall contribute to maintaining or enhancing the social and economic well-being of local communities.

PRINCIPLE 5:
The Organization shall efficiently manage the range of multiple products and services of the Management Unit to maintain or enhance long term economic viability and the range of environmental and social benefits.

PRINCIPLE 6:
The Organization shall maintain, conserve and/or restore ecosystem services and environmental values of the Management Unit, and shall avoid, repair or mitigate negative environmental impacts.

PRINCIPLE 7:
The Organization shall have a management plan consistent with its policies and objectives and proportionate to scale, intensity and risks of its management activities. The management plan shall be implemented and kept up to date based on monitoring information in order to promote adaptive management. The associated planning and procedural documentation shall be sufficient to guide staff, inform affected stakeholders and interested stakeholders and to justify management decisions.

PRINCIPLE 8:
The Organization shall demonstrate that, progress towards achieving the management objectives, the impacts of management activities and the condition of the Management Unit, are monitored and evaluated proportionate to the scale, intensity and risk of management activities, in order to implement adaptive management.

PRINCIPLE 9:
The Organization shall maintain and/or enhance the High Conservation Values in the Management Unit through applying the precautionary approach.

PRINCIPLE 10:
Management activities conducted by or for The Organization for the Management Unit shall be selected and implemented consistent with The Organization’s economic, environmental and social policies and objectives and in compliance with the Principles and Criteria collectively.

 

Sustainable World Conference in Geneva: Collaborating for a better world

The GIS for a Sustainable World conference in Geneva, Switzerland is an opportunity to develop long-term and collaborative relationships with global organizations interested in corporate sustainability and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). As a proud a sponsor of this Esri and UNOSAT event, we had the chance to share some of our GIS work that is making an impact on global sustainability efforts. This year’s conference theme focused on applying GIS to people, planet, prosperity, and peace, and how intelligent maps and apps can accelerate efforts to implement the SDGs.

GIS for a Sustainable World

Sustainable Business Panel Session

The Sustainable Business panel session provided an opportunity for participants to hear from experts in specific thematic areas and discuss issues pertaining to their use of GIS. During this session, Michael Lippmann presented our work with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) funded India Water Tool. This tool helps users understand their water risks and plan interventions for water management in India. Other presenters in the panel included Tijs Lips from Bunge, Adam Romo from ISEAL Alliance, and Michael Marus from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Interactive Breakout Sessions

In addition to hearing about sustainability challenges and successes from the many global organizations in attendance, Blue Raster Program Manager Phil Satlof had the opportunity to participate in a World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored Map-a-Thon. The “Map-A-Thon for Good” event gave participants a chance to learn important workflows for data validation, all while creating an open data set to share with the humanitarian community and beyond.Activity at the GIS for a Sustainable World ConferenceWe also participated in the interactive field GIS mobile data collection exercise. In this session, attendees got hands-on experience using the latest in Esri field mobility software. The Exploration Team collected data from around the conference venue, then viewed it on the Operations Dashboard.

Additionally, the Blue Raster team visited with clients at the World Health Organization (WHO) and enjoyed the sites around Geneva. Before heading home, the team visited Chamonix and Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps. GIS for a Sustainable World

Blue Raster sightseeing in Geneva

To read more about the conference, visit the information page.

 

Saving Wilderness Areas with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

African elephants

At the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), staff are using the Global Forest Watch MapBuilder platform to show their global impact. WCS works to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 16 priority regions. Their new MapBuilder platform is a powerful mapping tool for analyzing data in priority conservation areas.

WCS’ platform combines the use of remote sensing and GIS to visualize and monitor top priority regions for conservation. Through a combination of interactive mapping, data visualizations, and analytical reports, the platform provides staff with access to information on the current state of WCS protected areas around the world.

WCS' goal is to conserve the world's largest wild places in 16 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity.

The platform incorporates a breadth of data on priority landscapes and sea- and coastal- scapes (known as “scapes”). In addition, it visualizes key project areas where WCS is working to have a conservation impact on species. By centralizing this data all on one platform, users can visualize overlap and patterns. For example, staff can overlay forest fragmentation, infrastructure development, and conservation areas to quickly see if wildlife movement is blocked between and within protected areas. This is especially important in Africa, where species like elephants, giraffes, and zebras travel long distances between wet and dry seasons to survive.

WCS Mapbuilder Platform

In addition to the data on the platform, the site also contains powerful analytics powered by MapBuilder’s custom functionality. Through a unique workflow built by our two teams, WCS can connect their API with the Global Forest Watch API to return time-series statistics within the application. This enables users to run specialized analyses to answer questions such as:

  • Which protected areas have experienced the greatest forest disturbance in recent years?
  • How have species population trends changed over time?
  • Where are the last unbroken swaths of intact forest?
Visualizing Results

WCS can also visualize their impact. For example, thanks to conservation efforts, Nouabalé Ndoki National Park is free from logging and contains no roads within its borders. The park covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of contiguous rainforest and is a stronghold for iconic species including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees.

 

 

WCS’ platform is built with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, ArcGIS Enterprise, the Global Forest Watch API, and Google Earth Engine.

Check out the WCS MapBuilder platform today!


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