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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.

Development

Mekong Infrastructure Tracker

Home to more than 300 million people and some of the most endangered wildlife on the planet, the Greater Mekong region is the second most naturally diverse place in the world, second only to the Amazon. This region is also home to the Mekong River which not only sustains much of the wildlife in the area, but also the people. The majority of the population in this region is dependent on the river and its surrounding wetlands to support their way of life. In turn this also means that this population and the vast biodiversity in the region are extremely vulnerable to the economic and environmental outcomes of growing infrastructure.

Mekong River

As one of the nation’s leading think tanks dedicated to building solutions to promote international security, prosperity, and justice, the Stimson Center is working to address the environmental and social impacts along the Mekong river to improve food security, stability and cross-country relations. To help analyze these issues, Blue Raster collaborated with the Stimson Center to create The Mekong Infrastructure Tracker, an interactive Web App to explore the infrastructure boom and its impacts in the Mekong region. With funding provided by USAID, the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker was developed with support from the USAID Mekong Safeguards activity led by The Asia Foundation.

Mekong Infrastructure Tracker

The Mekong Infrastructure Tracker

The Mekong Infrastructure Tracker web app leverages ArcGIS Online and the ESRI JavaScript API and provides users with data transparency to analyze the type and scale of different infrastructure projects in the region in relation to socioeconomic and environmental factors.

The tracker contains two dashboards, one showing power generation projects and the other showing road, rail, and waterway infrastructure projects. The data in the tracker visualizes projects by type in combination with data showing threatened species, earthquakes over the last twenty years, armed conflict, ethnicity, watersheds and tributaries that can all be turned on and off depending on user preference.

Additionally, users can filter the projects by a variety of statuses: year of completion, project size, sponsoring country, project type, country, or watershed.

Mekong Infrastructure Tracker filter

From these filters, the tracker produces a series of charts and graphs to better visualize some of the statistics surrounding these projects which can then be downloaded based on user needs.

The Mekong Infrastructure Tracker allows for transparency of the infrastructural impact on this region, both protecting the diverse and endangered wildlife as well as the livelihoods of millions of people. Explore this new tool today!

ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI: Make Spatially Informed Business Decisions

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is an award-winning business intelligence tool created by Microsoft as a single hub for tracking and managing many diverse assets within a given organization. The Power BI platform consists of widget-based analytical tiles from both Microsoft and their various partners. These tiles allow for a simple, professional, and customizable visualization of otherwise unmanageable amounts of business data. The straightforward user interface and intelligent feature construction means that dashboard setup and asset management is now faster and easier than ever before.

Let Blue Raster create and optimize custom maps in Microsoft Power BI to give you more control over your data than ever before.

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ArcGIS Maps Integration

ArcGIS Maps within Microsoft Power BI contains many map-building elements that are similar to those found in other Esri products, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online. The configuration tab is highly user-friendly, featuring “drag & drop” field population and automatic detection of spatial data types. ArcGIS Maps for Power BI accepts both point and polygon data types. It can recognize fields that contain standard administrative boundaries (such as zip codes, counties, states, etc). Automated geocoding of point locations and polygon centroid calculation help to reduce the time and effort of spatial data management.

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ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI provides basemaps and reference layers that are crucial to understanding the spatial context of business data. There are numerous basemaps to choose from to ensure a visualization that complements the symbology of spatially referenced assets. Changing the color schemes of data is also easy to do, with many hand-picked combinations and editable classification settings. Meanwhile, reference layers containing verified spatial data such as Median Household Income or Biodiversity Hotspots are great for showing the underlying geographic or demographic characteristics at any scale. Simple infographics cards display summaries of multiple key factors based on the extent of the map viewer.

The functionality of ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI also extends to light spatial analysis in the form identifying geographic patterns and relationships. Heat maps and clustering functions allow for the aggregation of data into overarching groups and regions, while location pins and drive time analysis help to evaluate smaller localities around individual assets. The maps editor even features support for temporal animation with a field that transfers time data into a dynamic map sequence.

Understanding the Geography of Business

Large companies with numerous clients, facilities, and/or assets often receive vast amounts of spatial data that go completely unused. ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI allows companies to harness the true potential of asset location in order to improve their business revenue and productivity.

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This program takes data connection and shared business management to the next level. Any interaction or data selection within the ArcGIS Maps tile reflects in corresponding changes to data visualizations across all other analytical tiles. Collaboration is also easier than ever before, as Power BI allows users to share everything from individual figures to entire dashboards with just a few clicks.

Blue Raster is currently developing a Power BI dashboard and map application to visualize, analyze and track data and information for an important health project. The Tracking with Recency Assays to Control the Epidemic (TRACE) project is a new initiative that will contribute to the global fight to reach HIV epidemic control. Because the dashboard application needs to be accessible and usable by many users in many scenarios, the Blue Raster and TRACE teams decided on the ideal combination of Microsoft Power BI and Esri ArcGIS Online.

We are excited to grow our Power BI team and enhance our clients' business intelligence with the power of location data using ArcGIS Maps for Power BI.

Let Blue Raster kickstart your organization’s spatially integrated business dashboard. Contact us today!

Using GIS to Inform Workforce Development


We recently worked with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to produce a national-level work-based learning map. Built using ArcGIS Online and the Esri JavaScript API, the map can be custom-tailored to specific state or local agency leadership teams. Using these customized maps, teams can better contextualize their workforce development initiatives and refine their understanding of resources and socioeconomic distribution across their region.

Workforce Development with GIS

Nearly five decades of research has demonstrated that the places where individuals live and learn have a dramatic impact on their opportunities and life outcomes. These place effects—the advantages and disadvantages that one inherits by simply living in a particular location—have a particularly strong impact on one’s access to high-quality education, workforce training, and employment, which are the key ingredients to upward economic mobility. It is vital that leaders in state and local education agencies are mindful of place effects as they help districts and schools to develop work-based learning (WBL) systems across diverse contexts.

Through this application, AIR can more easily identify areas of improved workplace development and analyze the factors that lead to this outcome. This could include factors such as education opportunities, health benefits, or a variety of social factors.

How do I use it?

Users are able to activate different layers that fall under categories such as Education, Health, and Social Factors. By looking across states and the country as a whole, we are able to understand which communities are at a disadvantage when it comes to these factors. As we explained earlier, these factors are vital to spark upward economic mobility. When viewing these different layers, we can have a higher understanding of where these lacking communities are located, and where resources need to be more readily available.

Here is a demo of the application in action.

You can view and use the application here.

ArcGIS Urban: Take City Development Further

Blue Raster Project Manager Megan Gottfried took her ArcGIS Urban skills to the next level at Esri’s "Deploying ArcGIS Urban" training. The training, held in San Diego just before Esri’s annual User Conference, included other Esri business partners, distributors, and advanced level users from around the world.

ArcGIS Urban is gaining significant attention in the GIS and City Planning & Development industries. The platform is a complete solution allowing municipal planning departments and development-focused NGOs to improve urban planning practices and decision-making on a city-wide scale. Users can use ArcGIS Urban to create 3D renderings of city landscapes, proposed buildings, and compare proposed site projects across key stakeholders.

ArcGIS Urban case study

Megan Gottfried used San Francisco as a study area for development and used ArcGIS Urban technology to assist the city’s urban planners with the growing issue of overcrowding. Key program features such as theoretical population and employment projections helped officials to understand the regional severity of the problem and work to find innovative solutions, while 3D building renderings with zoning and building setback details gave realistic building city scapes for user exploration.

San Francisco City
"Today's advanced GIS software can now model cities in 3D and integrate the full planning workflow, thereby dramatically enhancing efficiency and effectiveness."

- Scott Edmondson, Senior Strategic Sustainability Planner for the City of San Francisco

Other highlights of the training session included a product demo and an overview of the ArcGIS Urban system. in addition, Megan Gottfried was able to learn both the back-end and front-end ArcGIS Urban platform and provide clients with tips and best practices for deployment. Megan tested the many features of the ArcGIS Urban program and created sample projects & planning files for the San Francisco area. The event concluded with a Q&A session where Megan and her colleagues were able to ask questions about the program and troubleshoot some of their problems.

ArcGIS Urban Site Project

Learn More

Blue Raster is excited to begin offering ArcGIS Urban solutions for our clients. Are you interested in harnessing the power of informed planning for your business or municipality? Contact us today!

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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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