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Environment

ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management Workshop

Emergency Managment Disaster Response training

Both man-made hazards and natural disasters significantly impact populations across the globe. Advanced preparation is becoming more critical than ever, especially within the government entities that manage crisis response and emergency management. To answer this demand, Esri has organized a new category of out-of-the-box toolsets designed to mitigate the risk of hazards and delegate resources in the wake disasters.

ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management encompasses a range of products that help emergency management officials to manage response resources and visualize events as they occur across time and space. Earlier this month, the Blue Raster team attended a workshop on this program set at Esri’s Redlands Campus in Southern California. This event focused heavily on the Emergency Management Operations Gallery group, which features seven applications with seven unique maps and 33 total feature layers.

Emergency Management Disaster Response training
Emergency Management Disaster Response

Our team gained significant experience with each of the applications, from configuration to deployment. We were particularly impressed by the cross-component integration and real-time feature updates. Once properly configured, this toolset features an extremely user-friendly interface with numerous options for customization of outputs and data visualization. Furthermore, one-click data inputs and feature updates result in fast and efficient communication of changing conditions.

20190730_172501

Blue Raster is excited to add ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management to our continuously growing line of GIS professional services. We look forward to being able to contribute to emergency management preparedness and disaster response efforts.

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.

 

World Environment Day: Today and Everyday

World Environment Day is June 5th and this year’s theme is Beat Air Pollution. Air pollution comes from various sources, such as large-scale agriculture, burning of fossil fuels for household heating, emissions from cars and trucks, coal-burning power plants, etc. The United Nations is calling for people to join the Mask Challenge and pledge to take action in support of the environment. Participants of this challenge will be taking various measures to reduce pollution, such as using public transportation or riding a bike to work, composting organic food items and recycling non-organic trash.

At Blue Raster, we take pride in our projects that promote the conservation and well-being of our environment and planet. Many of our clients are working to solve some of today’s biggest conservation and environmental issues. Using the power of GIS, we can analyze, manage, and visualize data in order to target areas where conservation practices are needed to promote a healthier environment.

Blue Raster is proud to partner with:

Planting Healthy Air

We partnered with The Nature Conservancy on an investigation into the effects of planting trees in urban areas. To visualize the data, we helped create the “Planting Healthy Air” story map. It details the project’s motivation, visualizes its geographic data and geospatial analysis, and describes a simple plan for cities to reduce pollution and temperature by planting trees.

Pollution map

UNICEF

Blue Raster teamed up with UNICEF on multiple projects to analyze the hazards of air pollution around the world. With Blue Raster’s help, UNICEF identifies the children who are most vulnerable to the dangers of air pollution and promotes a greater understanding of this issue among governments, communities, and families. Additionally, ongoing geospatial analysis can help us pinpoint sources of pollution and create plans for reducing pollution in the future.

Air Pollution UNICEF

Critical Loads Mapper

The Critical Loads Mapper, built for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helps better understand local and regional vulnerability to atmospheric pollution. This interactive web application analyzes atmospheric deposition from Nitrogen and Sulfur. Despite abundance in atmosphere and aquatic ecosystems, an excess of Nitrogen can cause significant environmental and health issues, leading to economic impacts across communities. With over 500 display options, the Critical Loads Mapper makes it easy for researchers, policy makers, and public officials to access this data and make informed decisions.

Critical Loads

To read more about our work on environment issues, visit this filtered list of projects and blog posts.

Using Drones to Advance Turfgrass Science at Green-Wood Cemetery

Last month, Blue Raster’s drone capabilities took flight. In a new initiative with Green-Wood Cemetery, Cornell University, and a group of turfgrass experts from across the United States, Blue Raster is using drones to help advance the science for confronting climate change in an urban landscape.

The issue at hand is the rapid spread of warm-season invasive grass species that impacts the aesthetics of the cemetery. This results in adaptive preventative maintenance practices and high costs to keep the cemetery looking beautiful. The group is studying alternatives and strategies that put Green-Wood on the cutting edge of urban climate change mitigation. This research is also applicable to any urban parks, public gardens, cemeteries and golf courses.

"Turf Guy" Dr. Frank Rossi of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and Christopher Gabris from Blue Raster looking at high resolution drone imagery captured the day before

“Turf Guy” Dr. Frank Rossi of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and Christopher Gabris from Blue Raster looking at high resolution drone imagery captured the day before

To study the spread of invasive grass throughout the year, Blue Raster flew a series of drone missions over the sprawling 478 acre cemetery. When additional missions fly for comparison, the data capture will provide high quality imagery that will identify invasive grass for measurement and monitoring throughout the year. Visit our Facebook album for more of the amazing aerial pictures.

Green-wood drone pictures

Using Esri’s Drone2Map and ArcGIS Online Web Scenes, Blue Raster was also able to deliver some 3D products, including the iconic gateway entrance and some large mausoleums.

Drone 3D imagery of iconic entrance

Stay tuned for updates on the project, the analysis, and the results of this very exciting turfgrass study!


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