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

A Look at the Ohio River: Past, Present, and Future

Ohio River

Image is courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. The satellite image captured March 2018 flooding at the confluence of the Ohio and Wabash rivers.

Blue Raster partnered with The National Geographic Society, Lenfest Institute, and seven nonprofit newsrooms on a project entitled, Good River: Stories of the Ohio. The Ohio River runs 981 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois, where it joins the Mississippi. It provides drinking water for five million people, and is also a thoroughfare of business, supporting jobs and communities. But it is also commonly cited as the most polluted river in the United States. For this project, PublicSource and six other participating newsrooms are producing a series of stories about the environment, economy and culture of the Ohio River watershed.

Good River Newsroom Partners

Ohio River StoryMap

To give readers a sense of how big the Ohio River watershed is, Blue Raster created a series of map graphics for the site’s landing page. The maps touch-upon topics including population concentration and impaired waterways. To create the maps, our team used data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and leveraged ArcGIS Pro to style the map graphics.

In the series, journalists share the beauty of the Ohio River and threats facing the region. To take readers on an interactive tour of the Ohio River, Blue Raster produced a StoryMap called Highlights of the Ohio for the project launch. The StoryMap features points of interest along the river and the watershed region.

The Good River News Partners will be publishing multiple stories from November 2019 through January 2020. To follow along with the project and share stories or questions, text OHIO to 412-528-6575. Additionally, you can follow #OhioRiverStories on social media.

Good River: Stories of the Ohio is a series about the environment, economy, and culture of the Ohio River watershed, produced by seven nonprofit newsrooms. To see more, please visit ohiowatershed.org.

 

To learn more about StoryMaps, you can start here.

Global Forest Watch Fires: New Fire Monitoring Capabilities

Thousands of fires are burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil - the most intense blazes for almost a decade. Global Forest Watch Fires (GFW Fires), an online platform for monitoring and responding to forest and land fires, provides a near real-time view into the current fire activity. Additionally, users can view fire reports and compare historical data on regions all over the world.

GFW Fires Report

New Updates to GFW Fires

Blue Raster recently worked to add new features and capabilties to the Global Forest Watch Fires application. Want to see details for a specific area on the map? Draw or upload a shapefile to calculate fire counts and subscribe to alerts. Users can select specific areas and see the calculated numbers of VIIRS and MODIS Alerts in the past 24 hours. Next, users can click on the drawn or uploaded shapes on the map to subscribe to alerts for that area.

Global Forest Watch Fire Reports provide robust insight into fire history, cumulative fires to date, and a statistical analysis by administrative boundaries within a country or around the world. New to GFW Fires, users can now view charts of unusual fire activity. The report compares fires from the current week to the same week in the previous 16 years. In addition, new charts analyze fire activity in Palm Oil Concessions and Wood Fiber Areas.

Global Forest Watch Fires Report
Fire alerts in the Amazonas region of Brazil.

In addition to the basemap imagery, Global Forest Watch Fires now provides an option for Sentinal Imagery. The latest satellite imagery is available from Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8. Sentinel-2, operated by the European Space Agency, has global coverage in 10-meter resolution, and can obtain updated imagery every 10 days.

Global Forest Watch Fires Sentinal Imagery

By using the latest geospatial technology, Global Forest Watch Fires allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world. Users can monitor fire activity, sign up to receive alerts, or share their own stories on GFW's blog. Explore this interactive map today.

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/.

Ready to find out more?

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.

 


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