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.


GIS Day at Blue Raster

GIS Day is a day dedicated to showing, teaching, and inspiring others. For the eighth year in a row, Blue Raster hosted students from Washington-Liberty High School and demonstrated real world applications of GIS. Led by teacher Ryan Miller, the students have the chance to learn about geospatial technologies through a program called Geospatial Semester.


The Blue Raster team shared real-world GIS success stories through a round of lightning talk presentations on recent and ongoing projects. Despite the cold November weather, we ventured outside and collected temperature data from around the Arlington area. Then, the students collaborated on an Esri Operations dashboard to visualize the data.

GIS Day Dashboards


We wrapped up our day with a pizza lunch and ice cream from the Penn State creamery. We look forward to next year and a new group of students!




Read more about Blue Raster's past GIS Day activities here.

ArcGIS Training at Blue Raster: Teaching the Fundamentals of Esri ArcGIS

Recently, a nationally recognized professional services firm approached us with a need for customized training on the fundamentals of web and desktop GIS. The Blue Raster team developed a customized agenda and led a 3 day training at our Arlington office focusing on the ArcGIS Platform and its capabilities. The goal of the training was to teach the basics of GIS workflows in both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro.

Training group

The training began with a two-day session on Desktop and Web GIS, data mining and data curation, and Esri Story Maps. The goal after the first two days was to create a story map focused on areas of highest vulnerability within a country, and areas that could use infrastructure investment.

Training Fundamentals

  • GIS Core concepts
  • An in-depth introduction to ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro
  • Finding and loading data into ArcGIS Pro
  • Symbology and Data visualization
  • Data prep, cleaning, and management
  • Basic GIS Operations such as queries, filtering, configuring popups, and field calculations
  • ArcGIS Pro to ArcGIS Online Integration
  • ArcGIS Online Groups, item sharing, and publishing permissions
  • And of course, ArcGIS StoryMaps.

After the initial two day training, the group presented their ArcGIS StoryMap to their larger team in order to gain insight and feedback on what more they would like to see. Also, before returning to the Blue Raster office for the third day of training, they gathered questions and ideas from their team about what other functions and capabilities the Esri ArcGIS platform could offer.

This second round allowed for the group to ask these and any other questions from working on their own time, as well as practice any workflows they wanted to master. The Blue Raster team focused the final day of training on additional Esri tools and offerings including WebApp Builder, Operations Dashboard, and ArcGIS Solutions and the ArcGIS Solutions Deployment tool.

The afternoon was used for lab and hands on practice training. The training group also used the final hour of the day to invite the rest of their team to the Blue Raster office to present a full 1 hour demo of what they learned over the course of the training, showing their team how to source data, load it into ArcGIS Online, and then analyze and visualize the data to show trends.

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  • GIS

Mapping America’s Wine Growing Regions

Wine Country

Have you ever wondered where your wine comes from? Did you know that there are hundreds of distinct wine regions in the United States? Since 2017, Blue Raster has been working with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to map over 270 of America’s Viticultural Areas (AVA) in GIS. Blue Raster then developed the AVA Map Explorer, a web mapping application to view, compare and download AVA boundaries.

Viticultural areas are designated grape-growing regions with distinguishable geographic features with boundaries defined by TTB. TTB is part of the U.S. Treasury and overseas regulation and tax collection on the sales of alcohol and tobacco. A map library with thousands of marked-up USGS topographic maps to written boundary instructions called the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 27 CFR Part 9 is the official record and only way to view an AVA.

Example of CFR entry.

Working with SJ Technologies, the team started the conversion from paper to GIS by creating points for each CFR description in a Viticultural Area. Then, using industry-accepted national datasets including U.S. Census administrative boundaries and roads, and USGS contours and the National Hydrography Dataset, the connected CFR points form viticultural boundaries.


Larger viticultural areas may be drawn on over forty separate paper maps in the maps library. In digital format the number of paper maps is no longer an issue. The new approach allowed for the team to provide an extremely detailed product to TTB that was easily consumable. The ability to zoom in on complex areas or view an entire viticultural area on one screen had previously been impossible.

AVAs boundaries can be extremely detailed, but might not seem so when viewing at the full extent.

Zoom in to see just how detailed the AVA boundaries are.

Boundaries follow hydrographic and contour lines.

AVA Map Explorer

With over 270 AVAs mapped, Blue Raster developed the AVA Map Explorer. This easy to use application helps TTB staff with wine labeling, vineyards petitioning for inclusion in an existing or proposed AVA, and the public to learn more about where their wine comes from. Additionally, users can search AVAs by name, address, State and County filters, or simply by panning around and exploring. Because many AVAs have overlapping boundaries, the ability to compare AVAs was critical. Contained within a popup is information about overlapping AVAs, effective dates, and geographic extent. From the popup users can also link to the CFR, which is still the official record, view the public docket of petitions and rulings, and download the shapefile of the AVA.

More than just Napa and Sonoma counties in California, wine growing regions exist all across the United States.

Zoom in to see just how detailed the AVA boundaries are. Popups show how AVA's contain and overlapp with others.

In places with heavy overlap, it’s possible to add AVA's to a list to compare boundaries.

Learn more about wine in your area with the American Viticultural Area Map Explorer. Cheers!

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.

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 of 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.


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.

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