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.

Education

Green-Wood Mobile App: Celebrating Life in one of America’s Historic Cemeteries

Since its founding in 1838, Green-Wood Cemetery is home to over 560,000 decedents. One of America’s first rural cemeteries, the 478 acre cemetery is also a National Historical Landmark, a Level III accredited Arboretum, and an attraction to over 500,000 visitors each year. While death is all around at Green-Wood, so too is the celebration of life. Green-Wood is a new mobile application that lets visitors explore the natural heritage, trees and wildlife on the grounds.

Green-Wood mobile app

Blue Raster developed the Green-Wood mobile app using React Native. This allowed for rapid development of both iOS and Android platforms. We created the map portion of the app by using Esri's ArcGIS API for JavaScript. This fun-to-use and informative application allows users to view profiles of landmark monuments and structures, learn about the diverse plant and animal species that live on the grounds, and discover stories of the famous and infamous people buried there.

Green-Wood: Celebrating Life at Green-Wood Cemetery

Additionally, the map allows users position themselves on the grounds and find an area of interest. Filter the map points by popular categories and link out to the expanded profiles.

Green-Wood Mobile App: Celebrating Life

Blue Raster has also been working with Green-Wood on internal workflows for management of plant maintenance and monument restoration by using Esri's Collector and Workforce for ArcGIS. Additionally, we are using drones to study the impact of invasive plant species in an urban environment. Now the Green-Wood app is a chance for the public to see all the aspects of Green-Wood that make it such a special place.

Following the Student Journey: Education to the Workforce

The TalentED Story Map brings community college students to the forefront of job opportunity and workforce development. In California, Blue Raster, the Community Coast College District (CCCD) and LearningCurved presented a hands-on workshop exploring the use of geographic maps as a tool to transform career exploration. Additionally, the team presented ways to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Mapping for story telling, decision making, and collaboration.

The workshop brought together over 35 attendees from local community colleges and industries, each with unique experience working directly with students and the platform. Attendees explored topics such as:

    • Maps for Smart Decision Making
    • Effective Use of Story Maps
    • TalentED Demonstration
    • User Feedback & Panel Discussion

The TalentED platform provides interactive career exploration by focusing on key concepts which are important to students. Priority Industry Sectors introduce nine growing industries in Southern California, for example Biotechnology and Advanced Transportation. Dig into each Industry Sector to learn more about occupations and wages. In addition, students can explore companies that have careers in those industries and hear testimonials from professionals who followed a similar path.

Community Feedback

The TalentED Development Team worked vigorously to get student feedback and understand ways to improve the platform. For example, the Development team conducted a Pilot Program Survey, where 595 Students and Staff from nine different colleges were invited to get a first look at TalentED. Participants had the opportunity to provide an evaluation of the platform and reflect on their experience navigating the platform. Further, the participants helped us understand if they thought the platform was effective in career exploration and if it was something they would share with their peers. As a result, the TalentED team can hone in ways to make a more effective platform for the students. The positive feedback from the users was tremendous and several respondents spoke directly about their experience at the workshop. Watch the feedback given by users through personal testimonials below.

Identifying Connectivity Across US Communities

Blue Raster recently collaborated with New America on a story map highlighting city and community connectedness across the US. The story map looks at 25 different community focused networks working to help cities and counties solve a wide-range of challenges including climate change, criminal justice, and homelessness. The story map was developed in conjunction with a larger publication by New America focusing on the contribution that community networking makes to renewal and revival.

New America Story Map

To better understand the factors that contribute to a city’s overall connectivity, New America asked our team to enrich their data with indicators such as population, Tapestry Segmentation, and MSA to determine if there were patterns and trends among the most networked communities. Population turned out to be one of the biggest contributing factors to a city’s overall connection.

Top 10 Most Connected Metro Areas (2018)

To visualize connectivity of both cities and communities simultaneously, the Blue Raster team used a combination of heat map cartography in addition to point and polygon data to show where overlaps occur between cities, communities, counties, and states.

Our team also built customized pop-ups through ArcGIS Online. Using SQL Query syntax we were able to make pop-ups that are customized to each network depending on the type of data in that network, whether it be cities, communities, counties, or any combination of geographies..

Check out the story map, and see how well connected your own community is by reading New America’s full report!

Understanding our Students with MapED

MapED is a primary source of geographic education and demographic data for students across the U.S.. The latest MapED launch brings exceptional updates to this platform both technically with the introduction of several new maps and visually in the redesign. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE), Sanametrix, and Blue Raster all brought unique expertise to ensure that any student, parent, or education professional has access to compelling and up-to-date maps and data.

ACS-ED Maps

The ACS-ED Maps application is the latest exploratory tool to identify conditions of school-age children in school districts across the United States. Users can explore indicators such as poverty, health insurance coverage, and race to better understand the connections between students, school districts and their surroundings.

“The Census Bureau creates the ACS-ED custom tabulation for the NCES EDGE program to help measure social and economic conditions of school-age kids in local school districts. Those conditions can vary considerably across different parts of the U.S. and even within the same metropolitan area, so the goal of the ACS-ED Maps tool is to help people visualize school district socioeconomic conditions in their geographic context so they can better understand how location affects education.” – Doug Geverdt, Administrative Data Division, NCES

ACS ED Maps

ACS-ED Map is updated annually with the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Browse indicators by total population or get more refined data for school-age children by narrowing the search to all children, children enrolled in any type of schooling, or children enrolled in public school.

ACS-ED maps support side-by-side comparison of indicators by allowing users to create two views within the same browser. Additionally, users can share out their map on Facebook, Email or Twitter. The application utilizes ArcGIS Server and the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Locale Lookup

The Locale Lookup application identifies the types of communities where schools are located. Explore Public Schools and School Districts from the Common Core of Data (CCD), Private Schools from the Private School Survey (PSS), and Post-Secondary Schools from the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System (IPEDS) in relation to their Locale classification, from rural to city landscapes. The application utilizes ArcGIS Server and the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Habitat and biodiversity in the ‘Urban Century’

This month, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) released “Nature in the Urban Century”, a report on the rising threat that urban growth and the proximity of people to wildlife will have on habitat loss. Dubbed the “urban century,” the report details the challenges of managing urban growth. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 2.4 billion more people in cities than today. That is an urban growth rate “equivalent to building a city with the population of London every seven weeks”!

Urbanization is a leading factor in habitat loss, but better planning and focus on sustainable development can allow for more integration of habitats into cities.

With urban growth and the expansion of cities, protected lands are becoming increasingly close to human development. The study estimates that by 2030, forty percent of protected areas will be within 50 kilometers of a city. These protected areas provide critical carbon storage that can help mitigate climate change.

Blue Raster developed two mapping application for the report. The first shows the impact of urban growth on habitat, protected areas and carbon at the country level. The tabs along the map and the country popups show users how many square kilometers of habitat is lost to urban growth, the current percent and 2030 projected percent increase of protected areas that are adjacent to urban areas, and the carbon loss from expanding cities.

Habitat Story Map

Habitat Story Map

The second map looks at the relationship of urban growth trends and specific protected areas of urban-threatened species. The density of urban-caused habitat loss projected out to 2030 is viewed with existing urban areas, and highlights places where managing protected areas and urban biodiversity near cities is most important.

Habitat Story Map

The Nature in the Urban Century report states that while there’s still time to protect critical habitat even as cities grow, it will take concerted planning. Left unchecked, over the next two decades urban growth will threaten more than 290,000 km2 of habitat, an area larger than New Zealand. It’s up to local cities, national governments and international institutions to work together to look at the benefits generated by biodiversity and set specific goals for urban conservation efforts.

Click here to view the full report


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