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.

Restoration

Saving Wilderness Areas with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

African elephants

At the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), staff are using the Global Forest Watch MapBuilder platform to show their global impact. WCS works to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 16 priority regions. Their new MapBuilder platform is a powerful mapping tool for analyzing data in priority conservation areas.

WCS’ platform combines the use of remote sensing and GIS to visualize and monitor top priority regions for conservation. Through a combination of interactive mapping, data visualizations, and analytical reports, the platform provides staff with access to information on the current state of WCS protected areas around the world.

WCS' goal is to conserve the world's largest wild places in 16 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity.

The platform incorporates a breadth of data on priority landscapes and sea- and coastal- scapes (known as “scapes”). In addition, it visualizes key project areas where WCS is working to have a conservation impact on species. By centralizing this data all on one platform, users can visualize overlap and patterns. For example, staff can overlay forest fragmentation, infrastructure development, and conservation areas to quickly see if wildlife movement is blocked between and within protected areas. This is especially important in Africa, where species like elephants, giraffes, and zebras travel long distances between wet and dry seasons to survive.

WCS Mapbuilder Platform

In addition to the data on the platform, the site also contains powerful analytics powered by MapBuilder’s custom functionality. Through a unique workflow built by our two teams, WCS can connect their API with the Global Forest Watch API to return time-series statistics within the application. This enables users to run specialized analyses to answer questions such as:

  • Which protected areas have experienced the greatest forest disturbance in recent years?
  • How have species population trends changed over time?
  • Where are the last unbroken swaths of intact forest?
Visualizing Results

WCS can also visualize their impact. For example, thanks to conservation efforts, Nouabalé Ndoki National Park is free from logging and contains no roads within its borders. The park covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of contiguous rainforest and is a stronghold for iconic species including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees.

 

 

WCS’ platform is built with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, ArcGIS Enterprise, the Global Forest Watch API, and Google Earth Engine.

Check out the WCS MapBuilder platform today!

Exploring George Washington’s Mount Vernon in 3D

George Washington’s Mount Vernon home is a well-loved national treasure, meticulously studied by researchers, restored by preservationists, and visited by a million guests every year. It is the best-documented historic site in the nation, with a trove of information available about everything from the original builders and craftsmen of the house to the individual trees that lived on the grounds in George Washington’s day. Blue Raster shares this information to Mount Vernon’s patrons and stakeholders through an easy and intuitive website, in a partnership with the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA) and Quinn Evans Architects.

Blue Raster developed a prototype online 3D GIS portal for viewing the available spatial, structural, and background information associated with a historic building information model (HBIM) created by Quinn Evans Architects. This includes location information and 3-D modeling and will include details and documents associated with individual elements of the buildings and landscape once the content management system is complete. The tool will make the extensive historical documentation of the estate accessible to scholars, educators, and the public while improving its conservation and maintenance.

mt_vernon_outside

The web application leverages Esri’s ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.0 and makes use of its WebScene class, allowing the user to virtually explore the estate while investigating documents and historical artifacts. Blue Raster also designed a custom user interface for the application, aligned with the Mount Vernon style guide. Users will now be able to view Mount Vernon and learn about its history in ways never possible before.

mt_vernon_inside

Be sure to take a look at this new 3D web application today, and explore the Mt Vernon property, inside and out!

GFW Map Builder

Environmental restoration is becoming a top priority for many countries around the world, but it can be difficult to synthesize the numerous sources of information available to make decisions about where this restoration should happen. With the new GFW Map Builder template, anyone can create an online map application visualizing and analyzing their data alongside local, regional, or global land use data to identify future restoration priorities.

Blue Raster created Map Builder, a configurable ArcGIS Online template, for the World Resource Institute’s Global Forest Watch (GFW) program. The template allows users to overlay their own datasets, such as endangered species habitats, commercial concessions, or national protected areas, with GFW land cover and land cover change data in order to pinpoint the best locations to focus restoration efforts. The template provides built-in metadata and analysis tabs, which viewers can use to learn more about specific features in the map and generate reports with a variety of analyses on any feature.

Many users are already taking advantage of Map Builder’s impressive capabilities to create their own customized map applications. For example, Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources recently completed a national restoration opportunity assessment informed by their Tree-based Landscape Restoration Potential Atlas created using the Map Builder template. The atlas overlays rivers, land use, and population density with areas marked as having potential for restoration. Check out blog posts by Thomas Maschler and Asa Strong from World Resources Institute about customizing GFW and open data and GIS for more information and examples.

Built with ArcGIS API for JavaScript, Map Builder leverages ArcGIS Online templates as well as the ArcGIS for Server Image Extension for analysis. It features lightweight code with a fully mobile and responsive design, making it accessible even in countries with low bandwidth.


Thomas
Mapbuilder allows users to combine GFW’s geospatial analysis features with data that is important to their local cause and environment. With this highly-customizable tool users can now build web applications to monitor forests in their own backyard. Park rangers can track where forests were cut down as recently as a week ago, auditors can calculate countries’ carbon emissions from forest conversion and companies can find and address points in their supply chains that contribute to deforestation. WRI uses Mapbuilder as a platform for Forest and Restoration Atlases. These applications are published and updated together with partnering national government agencies. The tight integration with ArcGIS online allows our country teams to manage their sites independently and reduces the amount of necessary training and follow up support.

-Thomas Maschler, GIS Manager for GFW Africa, World Resources Institute

 

Turning Concept into Reality: Green Infrastructure

Water is one of the world’s most pressing challenges.  Faced with the opportunity to find better water solutions for global stakeholders, the Earth Genome, backed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), enlisted the help of Blue Raster and Arizona State University to create the Green Infrastructure Support Tool (GIST). The interactive web mapping application provides high-level wetland-restoration site analysis and portfolio prioritization to address water scarcity and was recently launched at GreenBiz 2016.

The tool employs criteria-based screening via spatial data and end-user inputs, enabling end users to weigh options across the region and compare relative value and costs. Financial metrics include net present value, area cost curves, and environmental return on investment. Together, they help determine the best “bang for buck” restoration sites to provision water across an entire basin. The application combines environmental data such as wetland areas, biodiversity and land cover with business initiatives that consider both investment and costs for various land-cover restoration options, resulting in a truly spatial decision support system.

GIST Site Definition

Key in the development of GIST was the ability to present data in an easy-to-use way and to incorporate millions of points of disparate environmental data. As a result, corporations, governments, water authorities, resource engineers or anyone interested in potential water restoration are able to create their own development sites with corresponding financial analysis. The reporting engine supports comparing multiple sites, determining the optimal green infrastructure investment, based on landscape characteristics and hydrologic modeling.

GIST Analysis

 

The ability to create these custom reports is made possible by on-the-fly statistical/histogram calculations leveraging the ArcGIS Image Server extension. The GIST also uses the ArcGIS JavaScript API and Highcharts to supply the data and charting throughout the application.


“Blue Raster was a terrific partner. The Earth Genome exists to unite data, science, visualization and end users to solve some of the planet’s most wicked problems. Blue Raster was essential in pulling off GIST, what we believe is a breakthrough tool that puts environmental data, translated via world class science, into the hands of real decision makers. I’m most pleased with the work Blue Raster did on the visual interface. The tool is elegant yet simple: anybody can use it to find the opportunities that make most financial sense for their organization.”

Earth Genome – Glen Low
Co-Founder, The Earth Genome