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Land Use

Celebrating 60 Years of Discovery with Jane Goodall

DISCOVERY, INNOVATION & HOPE

On July 14th, 1960, a young Jane Goodall would arrive in Gombe, Tanzania to begin her study of wild chimpanzees. Six decades later, the same Dr. Goodall is a forerunner in the field of animal behavior, an innovator in community-led conservation, and a scientist whose work will continue to influence future generations of researchers.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dr. Goodall's pioneering research, Blue Raster partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute to create a new, interactive story map using Esri's ArcGIS StoryMaps technology. This new story map, titled DISCOVERY, INNOVATION & HOPE, builds on the previously published ENGAGE – LISTEN – UNDERSTAND – ACT, with a greater focus on how Jane’s work changed the world of conservation.

DISCOVERY, INNOVATION & HOPE utilizes the sidecar feature within ArcGIS StoryMaps to demonstrate how the Jane Goodall Institute’s research area has expanded over the past 60 years. Viewers can travel from the Gombe Stream Game Reserve of 1960 to the over six million hectares of land the Institute now works with today by simply scrolling through the maps.

Jane Goodall Institute Story map

Jane Goodall's Influence

A reoccurring theme throughout the Story Map is Jane’s dedication to mentorship. The knowledge and impact of Gombe researchers extends across the globe with over 300 scientific articles produced at the Jane Goodall Institute. An interactive map of affiliated researchers allows readers of the Story Map to learn a little more about the people who continue to study animal behavior in Tanzania.

Jane Goodall Institute Story map
Images courtesy of Vanne Goodall, Nick Riley Photography, Shawn Sweeney, Lilian Pintea, and the Jane Goodall Institute.

The importance of spatial analysis in conservation efforts is also highlighted. Gombe has three distinct communities of chimpanzees: Mitumba, Kasekela, and Kalande. Using long-term data, researchers were able to estimate range maps for the groups, which then informed decisions on habitat restoration. Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS brings these range maps to life by showing chimpanzee community movement from 1973 to 2016. Story map readers can interact with the app to learn about how deforestation and an increase in human settlements have affected each of the chimpanzee groups.

Jane Goodall Institute Story map

Restoration of vital great ape habitats is jointly achieved through natural resource management and local involvement in land-use planning. Connecting spatial information with conservation efforts fosters a more sustainable environments for both humans and chimpanzees.

View the new story map here. For more information about our work with the Jane Goodall Institute, read our blog posts here.

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.

Global Forest Watch Fires: New Fire Monitoring Capabilities

Thousands of fires are burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil - the most intense blazes for almost a decade. Global Forest Watch Fires (GFW Fires), an online platform for monitoring and responding to forest and land fires, provides a near real-time view into the current fire activity. Additionally, users can view fire reports and compare historical data on regions all over the world.

GFW Fires Report

New Updates to GFW Fires

Blue Raster recently worked to add new features and capabilties to the Global Forest Watch Fires application. Want to see details for a specific area on the map? Draw or upload a shapefile to calculate fire counts and subscribe to alerts. Users can select specific areas and see the calculated numbers of VIIRS and MODIS Alerts in the past 24 hours. Next, users can click on the drawn or uploaded shapes on the map to subscribe to alerts for that area.

Global Forest Watch Fire Reports provide robust insight into fire history, cumulative fires to date, and a statistical analysis by administrative boundaries within a country or around the world. New to GFW Fires, users can now view charts of unusual fire activity. The report compares fires from the current week to the same week in the previous 16 years. In addition, new charts analyze fire activity in Palm Oil Concessions and Wood Fiber Areas.

Global Forest Watch Fires Report
Fire alerts in the Amazonas region of Brazil.

In addition to the basemap imagery, Global Forest Watch Fires now provides an option for Sentinal Imagery. The latest satellite imagery is available from Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8. Sentinel-2, operated by the European Space Agency, has global coverage in 10-meter resolution, and can obtain updated imagery every 10 days.

Global Forest Watch Fires Sentinal Imagery

By using the latest geospatial technology, Global Forest Watch Fires allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world. Users can monitor fire activity, sign up to receive alerts, or share their own stories on GFW's blog. Explore this interactive map today.

ArcGIS Urban: Take City Development Further

Blue Raster Project Manager Megan Gottfried took her ArcGIS Urban skills to the next level at Esri’s "Deploying ArcGIS Urban" training. The training, held in San Diego just before Esri’s annual User Conference, included other Esri business partners, distributors, and advanced level users from around the world.

ArcGIS Urban is gaining significant attention in the GIS and City Planning & Development industries. The platform is a complete solution allowing municipal planning departments and development-focused NGOs to improve urban planning practices and decision-making on a city-wide scale. Users can use ArcGIS Urban to create 3D renderings of city landscapes, proposed buildings, and compare proposed site projects across key stakeholders.

ArcGIS Urban case study

Megan Gottfried used San Francisco as a study area for development and used ArcGIS Urban technology to assist the city’s urban planners with the growing issue of overcrowding. Key program features such as theoretical population and employment projections helped officials to understand the regional severity of the problem and work to find innovative solutions, while 3D building renderings with zoning and building setback details gave realistic building city scapes for user exploration.

San Francisco City
"Today's advanced GIS software can now model cities in 3D and integrate the full planning workflow, thereby dramatically enhancing efficiency and effectiveness."

- Scott Edmondson, Senior Strategic Sustainability Planner for the City of San Francisco

Other highlights of the training session included a product demo and an overview of the ArcGIS Urban system. in addition, Megan Gottfried was able to learn both the back-end and front-end ArcGIS Urban platform and provide clients with tips and best practices for deployment. Megan tested the many features of the ArcGIS Urban program and created sample projects & planning files for the San Francisco area. The event concluded with a Q&A session where Megan and her colleagues were able to ask questions about the program and troubleshoot some of their problems.

ArcGIS Urban Site Project

Learn More

Blue Raster is excited to begin offering ArcGIS Urban solutions for our clients. Are you interested in harnessing the power of informed planning for your business or municipality? Contact us today!

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Public Gardens on Display in Washington, DC

Last month, over 1,000 public horticulture enthusiasts attended the American Public Gardens Association annual conference in Washington, DC. Blue Raster was proud to be a conference sponsor and presenter at the GIS for Public Gardens: Enterprise Configurations workshop. Christopher Gabris, Blue Raster's Project Manager for Public Gardens, was pleased to show our recent work in the community including:

The conference included a walking tour of the Smithsonian and U.S. Botanical Gardens on the National Mall. Also, it featured an evening at U.S. National Arboretum with a Tour and Reception.

Blue Raster is continuing to serve public gardens in their mission to be inclusive for all and indispensable to the community. You can learn more about our capabilities and ongoing projects at https://www.blueraster.com/gardens/.

Ready to find out more?

Contact us today to get started on your next project!


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