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.

Field Mobility

Blue Raster Takes to the Skies at Holden Forests & Gardens

On a beautiful April morning in Northeast Ohio, Blue Raster made final preparations for a drone basemap capture. Located in Kirtland, about 30 minutes East of Downtown Cleveland, is the sprawling 3,600-acre Holden Arboretum, one of the largest public gardens in the county. With over 20,000 annual member households and an annual attendance of over 350,000 visitors, people flock to see the beauty of the different landscapes in search of inspiration, education, and peace.

On this day, Blue Raster was tasked to capture approximately 300 acres of the curated collections and gardens (the rest being mostly natural lands) with a drone to create a high-resolution basemap for use by staff and in a future public application. After a brisk morning drive in the golf cart to review the locations of the preset ground control points, the drone was ready to fly.

Blue Raster’s Associate Project Manager and Drone Pilot, Ben Masters, explained to the Holden Team along for the ride how the drone would capture the images, the planned flight paths, altitude, and speed, and provided a safety moment. In four separate planned missions, over 1,400 images were captured in a matter of hours. Then it was off to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the second institution in the Holden Forests & Gardens family, to capture the approximately 10 acres located in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood.

Combined, the five drone missions and over 1,700 images captured were processed for the two sites using Esri’s ArcGIS Drone2Map software. The high-resolution and current imagery allows for accurate GIS and mapping workflows. Over the next few weeks, Blue Raster will prepare the basemap for use in Holden’s ArcGIS Enterprise environment. Everything from workflows in ArcGIS Field Maps to the future public application will utilize this basemap. Holden Forests and Gardens has nearly 20,000 individual living plant records in their botanical repository, BG-BASE, which will be synced with GIS for real-time display of location, condition, measurements, and more in GIS.

Want to learn more about Blue Raster’s drone and Public Gardens capabilities and experience? We've supported over a dozen Public Gardens since 2010. Check out our website and reach out!

Contact us today!

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Meet the Beautiful Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College

Hailed as one of the country's most beautiful college campuses, Swarthmore College features more than 4,000 plant varieties and 425 acres of cultivated, flowering hills. As part of the breathtaking campus, the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College hosts numerous learning programs, extends incredible volunteer opportunities, and supports educational courses offered at the college. One of the arboretum’s central goals is to cultivate and display plants specific to the region and inspire visitors with ideas for their own gardens. Considering the volume of plants, frequency of plant updates, and educational purposes of the arboretum, a robust plant record management system and a publicly accessible application for exploration are integral to supporting Scott Arboretum’s ongoing mission.  

In 2021, Blue Raster partnered with Scott Arboretum to establish a synchronization process between GIS and the arboretum’s botanical repository, BG-BASE. Another outcome was to update and modernize the arboretum’s public plant and dedication search site. Blue Raster created GIS data representing surveyed plant locations, garden features, points of interest, and other reference data for visitor amenities. The team also facilitated the expansion of field GIS for plant mapping by leveraging ArcGIS Field Maps to streamline and improve the efficiency of data collection and updates. The workflow enables internal staff and plant managers to modify and update plant records in the field while edits are committed to near real-time, allowing them to flow seamlessly into internal and public applications. The BG-BASE-ArcGIS sync exploits the powerful capabilities of Field and Web GIS in tandem with Python scripting for a continuous connection between the botanical system of record, GIS data, and associated information products.  

Scott Arboretum

Finally, the new Arboretum Explorer application, developed in the latest version of the ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript, is an interactive site for researchers, staff, and visitors to explore both the arboretum and campus attractions and filter and search for plants and memorials. The application enhances the user experience of engaging with the botanical database, enabling Scott Arboretum to thoroughly operate and present information to users.​ Arboretum Explorer is a dynamic application that highlights the arboretum’s garden collections, allowing users to identify dedicated benches and plaques, and other tools for navigating the historic gardens.  As a mobile-friendly app, the Arboretum Explorer is a great resource for visitors to navigate and explore the collections while onsite.

"The Blue Raster team is incredibly knowledgeable, innovative, and amenable.  They have the innate ability to take a basic concept and masterfully turn it into a functional, creative, and user-friendly end product."
- Mary Tipping, Curator and Plant Recorder, Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College

Blue Raster has been supporting public garden, arboreta, and cemetery customers for over ten years, developing custom applications and providing training to increase the use of GIS for staff and public workflows. Click here to learn more about Blue Raster’s work with public gardens. 

APGA Puts on a Texas-Sized Show in Fort Worth

Last week was the American Public Garden Associations' (APGA) Annual Conference in Forth Worth, Texas. Over 1,000 people in the community attended to learn from each other's success stories and best practices around garden management, public engagement, horticulture, plant curation, conservation, and education.

Christopher Gabris, Blue Raster’s Public Gardens Practice Lead, traveled to network with existing partners and share with other conference attendees how Blue Raster is using Esri’s ArcGIS platform to modernize public garden GIS and mapping workflows.

Conference highlights included a Southern Garden Charm dinner party and drone light show at the Dallas Arboretum, and celebrating the Modern West at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Blue Raster currently works with over a dozen public garden, arboreta, and cemetery clients. Our team designs and develops workflows for creating and updating plant collections from out in the field, syncing botanical data with popular repositories, building interactive web and mobile mapping applications for the public, and training public garden staff on maximizing the use of GIS software.

We look forward to continued engagement with the American Public Garden Association community throughout the year and presenting our work at the 2024 conference in Boston!

See how Blue Raster can help modernize your public garden and cemetery workflows today!

AppStudio Retirement: Esri Announces Major Update

Esri has announced version 5.5 of their low and no-code mobile development framework, AppStudio, will be a Long-Term Support (LTS) release for the product. Version 5.5 of AppStudio will be its last major release with the product being retired in February of 2025. Blue Raster has developed and maintained AppStudio applications for clients such as the U.S. National Arboretum, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and more.

Migrate Your Legacy Platforms

As the digital landscape shifts, the phasing out of AppStudio necessitates a seamless transition for your applications. Our seasoned team can expertly migrate your legacy systems to robust native iOS and Android platforms, utilizing cutting-edge languages like Swift and Kotlin. Ensure your mapping applications remain at the forefront of technological advancements, delivering unparalleled performance and user experience.

AppStudio 1

Transitioning from AppStudio

While AppStudio will be fully supported for the next two years, it is important to become familiar with the ArcGIS mobile application roadmap for the development of new applications or the migration of existing applications to a new framework.

Our team of designers and developers at Blue Raster are well versed in the suggested roadmap outlined by Esri for mobile application development—and we’re ready to support your vision. If needed, we can also assist your organization with migrating existing applications using the recommended frameworks or transitioning to the most efficient technologies for your current or future mobile applications. Our expertise includes:

Mobile application pathways for development or migration
Mobile application pathways for development or migration

Top-Tier Support for Your Mobile Application Needs

Our team is ready to help you with your mobile application development and migration needs--contact us today to learn more!

For more information about Version 5.5 of AppStudio and the product’s long-term future, visit the Esri ArcGIS Blog announcement.

Disposal of Debris after Disaster: Blue Raster partners with CDR Maguire to quantify and monitor disposal of debris material

Following a catastrophic event, the assessment and removal of debris and clean-up efforts of those impacted can create a ripple effect of challenges that communities are forced to overcome. To aid in an efficient approach, crews need assistance quantifying the damages incurred and coordination of how best to begin to confront the disposal of debris. After a referral from ROK Tech, CDR Maguire GIS Manager Deepali Datre reached out to Blue Raster to begin work on deploying the Esri Debris Management Solution with a custom enhancement to support online and offline use.

Debris Management

In this data collection phase of disaster response, Blue Raster and CDR Maguire:

  • Customized and extended the Esri Emergency Debris Management Solution to work offline
  • Configured complex and innovative Survey123 forms
  • Authored and deployed custom Python and JavaScript scripts
  • Recorded information including vehicles in operation, field monitors, type of debris accumulated, method of disposal, and total weight removed per truck load
  • Calculated total weight removed using the truck’s empty and full weight measurements obtained from the weight scales at the final dump location
  • Isolated categorical information including truck certifications, loading tickets by address or parcel, and the amount and type of material removed from each designated site

To manage and visualize the data for CDR Maguire, Blue Raster configured an ArcGIS Experience Builder Reviewer Tool. Utilizing this tool, field contractors can submit field survey forms to develop initial damage reports. The Experience Builder Dashboard provides real-time data to increase oversight and efficiency. These methods provide CDR Maguire with accurate data collection for FEMA reimbursement requirements. Throughout this project, the CDR Maguire team was knowledgeable and a collaborative partner to ensure that a workable solution was created.

Example of ArcGIS Emergency Debris Management Solution, courtesy Esri

While this solution was initially developed to assist in the removal of debris from the Boulder County Marshall Fire, this technology has already been employed to address a similar situation following a wildfire in Texas. The applications of this solution translate to a multitude of circumstances in which the efficiency of response can allow for a swift reaction to any type of natural or man-made catalyst.


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