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.

Open Data

Maret School: Exploring Inequality through GIS

Using GIS to map inequality is a powerful tool for understanding how inequity and place are inherently connected. Recently, the Maret School and Blue Raster partnered to give students the skills and resources necessary to map historical inequality in DC to deliver valuable resources for the DC community and beyond.

Photo of the Maret School.

Blue Raster developed and delivered basic and intermediate GIS instruction for Maret’s Mapping Inequality in DC class.

Using Blue Raster’s instructions through ArcMap and ArcGIS Online, students learned to:

  • Create, style and update maps.
  • Add Census demographic layers and features to maps.
  • Visually analyze historical patterns in data.
  • Create compelling static maps, as well as interactive Story Maps to illustrate and explore inequality.

Students explored issues such as redlining, health systems, access to public transportation, and other issues relating to inequality.

Students worked in teams to create research questions and then blend demographic data with a digital mapping
program to draw conclusions about patterns of inequity in DC. Students learned to take advantage of available resources, including open data and census portals, in order to produce insightful analysis.

Examples of open data sources that are available to students.
Blue Raster understands that equity and place are inherently connected. We believe that every aspect of a class – researching, learning, analyzing, and communicating – benefits from ArcGIS and spatial thinking.

Education Data Leaves the Classroom with EDGE Geodata

Geography plays a vital role in our schools: both inside and outside the classroom. The new release of the Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE) Geodata site gives the public access to authoritative, up-to-date geographic education data for the entire U.S. Using this data effectively helps to answer some of the most difficult questions that face our school systems today: How far are high schools to the nearest community college? How many low-income households are contained within a school district? How do students in rural schools compare in math and science to urban schools?

Blue Raster and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) EDGE Program believe that releasing this spatial data in an open, easy to use format is essential in making data-driven decisions on school funding, student poverty, and teacher supply and more.

The EDGE Geodata site contains a variety of data sorted into four Data Categories:

  1. K-12 Schools
    Survey data from the Common Core of Data (CCD) for over 100,000 schools across the United States and over 18,000 School District Office Locations updated annually, as well as School Attendance Boundaries for every elementary, middle, and high school across the United States collected bi-annually.
  2. Postsecondary Schools
    Over 7,000 Postsecondary School Locations across the United States collected by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) annually. This dataset includes Certification, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Graduate programs.
  3. School Districts
    Developed by NCES EDGE Program, School District Boundary Composite files to provide public education for residents, released annually.
  4. Locale Boundaries
    Developed by NCES EDGE Program, a geographic locale framework that classifies all U.S. territory into twelve vategories ranging from Large Cities to Remote Rural areas.

Each dataset can be downloaded as full dataset, or filtered and then downloaded as a Spreadsheet, KML, or Shapefile, for use in GIS and non-GIS formats. Within the ArcGIS Open Data Platform, each dataset is available for further data drill-down in the API Explorer. Users can create custom Queries within the fields or apply spatial filters, and get outputs in JSON format.

All data items are hosted in the robust, cloud-based ArcGIS Online platform, and hosted in a custom configured Open Data site.

ArcGIS Hub: Grow Your Local Economy

Last year, Esri announced a new product in their platform– ArcGIS Hub. ArcGIS Hub supports collaboration between governments, businesses, citizens and their communities to accomplish data-driven Initiatives.

Recently, Blue Raster assisted Esri in the creation of the Grow Your Local Economy Initiative. This Initiative provides a suite of tools and applications you can use to show business owners, developers, and entrepreneurs why your city is the ideal place to attract top industry talent and grow their business. You can then show and monitor the progress your community is making towards growing your local economy.

The Grow Your Local Economy Initiative consists of four main tools:ArcGIS Hub Icon

  1. Business Development Website – Features the economic development initiative. Users can embed the Economic Development Explorer & Storymap to fuel interest in their area
  2. Economic Development Explorer – This premium interactive application gives potential businesses and developers an easy way to explore aspects of the area.
  3. Why Locate to Your Community Story Map – This configurable story map template highlights why your city is the ideal place to attract top talent.
  4. Survey capabilities – Gain input from current or potential business owners, developers, and entrepreneurs.

Economic Development Explorer

Get inspired by this example of Washington D.C.’s initiative below, and learn more about Blue Raster’s ArcGIS Hub work and support packages.

ArcGIS Hub Grow Your Local Economy

 

 

Open Data and Cool Apps: Blue Raster Presents at IMIA

Blue Raster Senior Project Manager, Phil Satlof, presented as an invited guest for the International Map Industry Association (IMIA) DC meetup.

From the IMIA website, the mission of the organization is defined:

“The International Map Industry Association is a global organization that represents the world of maps. IMIA brings together leaders from across the spectrum of mapping and location-oriented businesses to connect, share and learn.”

Rosslyn based Esri DC R+D Center hosted the event, featuring presenters from the US Government, private industry and non-profit sectors. Blue Raster and others shared the latest ideas around Open Data and Cool Apps . Alongside presenters from the US Census Bureau, US Forest Service and NOAA, Phil used the opportunity to highlight several long term Blue Raster projects and their data sources:

Improving the APTA Industry Footprint

We are very proud to announce that we are in our fourth year of supporting the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Industry Footprint.  The APTA Industry Footprint is a public transportation industry map application that supports APTA’s mission of strengthening and improving public transportation through information sharing. Public transportation provides personal mobility, reduces traffic congestion, reduces our carbon footprint, and provides economic growth opportunities.

APTA promotes public transportation and advocates for continued support and funding from state and federal legislators.  This application displays APTA member locations around the nation, the breadth and depth of public transportation services offered, as well as key facts and statistics, all offered at the state and congressional district levels.  APTA also uses this tool to conduct “Washington Fly-Ins” with business members who meet with members of Congress and key congressional staff to explain why proposed cuts would threaten economic development, productivity and job growth across the country.

Manufacturers List by Congressional District

What’s new this year? We have added functionality and updated data feeds just in time for the 2017 APTA Expo and Annual Meeting which was held in Atlanta, Georgia from October 8 -11. The Expo attracted 12,000+ attendees exploring how innovation and technology accelerates every mode of public transportation. Updates to the application include:

  • Rail and Bus Manufacturer lists are now available for each Congressional member and State Upper and Lower Chamber Legislators
  • Updated public rail lines, Amtrak lines, and bus transit buffers across the country using the TransitFeeds API  TransitFeeds Logo

We encourage you to go APTA’s Industry Footprint to check out the public transportation available in your area and see active APTA members and Bus and Rail Manufacturers within your congressional and state districts.


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