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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!

Tracking Grassland Loss in the Great Plains: WWF and Blue Raster Release Plowprint Web Application

Temperate grassland ecosystems, like the Great Plains of North America, are home to a wide variety of plants and animals and provide key ecosystem services, such as soil stabilization, carbon sequestration and water filtration. These lands are under increasing threat of loss due to the expansion of agriculture for food and fuel production and urban development. In the Great Plains, only half of all intact grassland remains, much of it on poor and marginal quality soils. Conversion of grassland to crops in areas of marginal soil is particularly hazardous to ecosystems due to the greater use of fertilizers required to make these lands productive and a higher risk of erosion.

To understand and address these issues faced in the Great Plains, Blue Raster is working with the World Wildlife Fund to bring the annual Plowprint Report online. Since 2016, the Plowprint Report analyzes grassland loss across the Great Plains. Published annually, the report provides a broad overview of trends within large study regions of particular conservation interest, such as the Missouri River Basin (MORB).

plowprint images
Since 2016, the Plowprint Report has published annual findings on grassland loss across the U.S. Great Plains.

“Being able to share the Plowprint Report as an interactive web map is an exciting opportunity to increase awareness about grassland loss across the Great Plains. The Great Plains covers such a large area that it is easy to become disconnected from the landscape beyond where one regularly interacts, and having maps like this with great visual displays at your finger tips allows us to easily see what is happening not just in your community, but across the county, state, region, and beyond.” – Patrick Lendrum, Science Lead at World Wildlife Fund

Plowprint Report Details

The report leverages the USDA’s Cropland Data Layer (CDL), the Canadian Annual Crop Inventory (ACI), the National Land Cover Database (NLCD), US Census TIGER 2019, and Canada Road Network 2018 data to identify areas of “Intact” (grassland) and “Plowprint” (grassland converted to cropland) land by composition and ownership.

These areas are visualized in the new interactive Plowprint web map application. To quantify grassland loss, users can select state or county boundaries, draw, or upload their own areas-of-interest (AOI) for on-the-fly analysis. The tool generates a report with a collection of charts that help the user understand their AOI’s grassland characteristics and trends.

Plowprint image
By leveraging the ArcGIS Image Server, the Plowprint app allows the user to run an on-the-fly analysis of grassland loss for their chosen area of interest (AOI). Outputs can be downloaded as a PDF or CSV. Above, the PDF document provides compelling visuals for understanding trends in the data.

The tool leverages ArcGIS Image Server to quickly analyze the user’s AOI to deliver a report of trends in land use conversion and composition. Users can select data going back to 2009, providing a detailed view of historical patterns. Once the analysis is run for the selected area, users have the option to download the results as a PDF document and CSV file.

With its ability to quantify grassland loss on-the-fly and generate powerful visuals along the way, this application will provide policy makers, companies, and landowners valuable decision making information about habitat conversion within areas under their control. With Great Plains comes great responsibility to monitor these vital ecosystems – Plowprint enables this action.

Clearview Analytics Tool: Accelerating Economic Insight

Avenu Insights, a company focused on improving and maintaining revenue streams for state and local governments, and Blue Raster have just released the first iteration of the Clearview Analytics Economic Development Insights (EDI) tool. The Economic Development tool provides key insights to cities and counties to attract new business, plan future investments, and understand the competitive landscape. The tool is completely interactive and allows users to enter, analyze, and export data for their unique area of interest.

Input an address or select a point on the map to create reports using drive time distances that visualized areas of economic influence and reach

Economic Insights

The new tool uses Avenu Insight's Property Tax and Commercial Sales Tax in combination with ArcGIS GeoEnrichment and Analysis capabilities for site-level analysis of tax revenue. Some of the features of this tool include:

  • Integration with key Demographic and Economic indicators from the ArcGIS GeoEnrichment API to assess market suitability
  • Drive-Time Analysis capabilities from ArcGIS Online to set market areas of interest
  • Up-to-date Property and Sales Tax Revenue data on a quarterly reporting basis, broken down by NAICS code at the individual property level

Providing cities and counties this analysis tool is critical in supporting the economic growth and future success within that landscape. With this tool, businesses and Governments can answer a variety of questions they might have:

"What is the current composition a specific area by business sector?" or "How much growth has retain seen in the central business district in the past few years?"

 

Econimic Insight tool

For a limited time, Avenu is offering a Free Trial of the Clearview EDI tool for your jurisdiction. Don't miss this opportunity to be a pioneer for this tool and provide feedback for future iterations.

Blue Raster worked closely with Avenu Insights to build out this tool through design, development, deployment using the latest Esri Enterprise 10.7.1, the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, and Esri's Geoenrichment API. In addition, our team worked with Avenu Insights to configure and maintain their ArcGIS Enterprise Server. Our team is excited to continue GIS analysis and capabilities which support healthy economies.

Want to learn more about GIS for Economic Insight?

Contact us today!

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.

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.


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