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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.

Story Map

The Magic of Maps: Presenting Esri StoryMap Beta

Blue Raster recently had the opportunity to create and present a StoryMap using the new ArcGIS StoryMaps (currently in Beta) for Esri’s “The Magic of Maps: How to Engage and Inspire Your Community” event. At this event, we were able to introduce our own thoughts on the new platform, as well as give advice on how organizations are able to utilize these tools successfully. The StoryMap itself, titled Measuring Success, goes into detail on how some of Blue Raster’s nonprofit partners are tracking progress of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It addresses five of the seventeen SDGs and encompasses the work of The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, UNICEF, and The Nature Conservancy.

 

The Magic of Maps

The Magic of Maps

The presentation focused heavily on how organizations can be successful in the creation and utilization of their StoryMaps, including knowing the target audience, recognizing the potential of a successful StoryMap, and creating a concise and engaging design. Additionally we were able to showcase the features included in the new beta version of ArcGIS StoryMaps. With the new, modern platform users are able to pick and choose distinct elements to piece together, rather than having to select a set template. Uniform text and font size options also help to eliminate the complexity of styles and reduce design workload. Dynamic media types such as maps, videos, and images can be seamlessly integrated into a number of StoryMap features to further engage the audience. Most importantly, the new builder has a simplistic user interface that allows anyone regardless of prior experience (or lack thereof) to produce a professional-caliber StoryMap.

Special thanks to the members of the Blue Raster team who collaborated to create and present this StoryMap: Project Manager Christina Phang, UI/UX Designer Rachel Stock, GIS Intern Kelly Motzko, and GIS Intern Joe Nadonley.

You can view the slides and listen to the presentation here.

Following the Student Journey: Education to the Workforce

The TalentED Story Map brings community college students to the forefront of job opportunity and workforce development. In California, Blue Raster, the Community Coast College District (CCCD) and LearningCurved presented a hands-on workshop exploring the use of geographic maps as a tool to transform career exploration. Additionally, the team presented ways to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Mapping for story telling, decision making, and collaboration.

The workshop brought together over 35 attendees from local community colleges and industries, each with unique experience working directly with students and the platform. Attendees explored topics such as:

    • Maps for Smart Decision Making
    • Effective Use of Story Maps
    • TalentED Demonstration
    • User Feedback & Panel Discussion

The TalentED platform provides interactive career exploration by focusing on key concepts which are important to students. Priority Industry Sectors introduce nine growing industries in Southern California, for example Biotechnology and Advanced Transportation. Dig into each Industry Sector to learn more about occupations and wages. In addition, students can explore companies that have careers in those industries and hear testimonials from professionals who followed a similar path.

Community Feedback

The TalentED Development Team worked vigorously to get student feedback and understand ways to improve the platform. For example, the Development team conducted a Pilot Program Survey, where 595 Students and Staff from nine different colleges were invited to get a first look at TalentED. Participants had the opportunity to provide an evaluation of the platform and reflect on their experience navigating the platform. Further, the participants helped us understand if they thought the platform was effective in career exploration and if it was something they would share with their peers. As a result, the TalentED team can hone in ways to make a more effective platform for the students. The positive feedback from the users was tremendous and several respondents spoke directly about their experience at the workshop. Watch the feedback given by users through personal testimonials below.

Identifying Connectivity Across US Communities

Blue Raster recently collaborated with New America on a story map highlighting city and community connectedness across the US. The story map looks at 25 different community focused networks working to help cities and counties solve a wide-range of challenges including climate change, criminal justice, and homelessness. The story map was developed in conjunction with a larger publication by New America focusing on the contribution that community networking makes to renewal and revival.

New America Story Map

To better understand the factors that contribute to a city’s overall connectivity, New America asked our team to enrich their data with indicators such as population, Tapestry Segmentation, and MSA to determine if there were patterns and trends among the most networked communities. Population turned out to be one of the biggest contributing factors to a city’s overall connection.

Top 10 Most Connected Metro Areas (2018)

To visualize connectivity of both cities and communities simultaneously, the Blue Raster team used a combination of heat map cartography in addition to point and polygon data to show where overlaps occur between cities, communities, counties, and states.

Our team also built customized pop-ups through ArcGIS Online. Using SQL Query syntax we were able to make pop-ups that are customized to each network depending on the type of data in that network, whether it be cities, communities, counties, or any combination of geographies..

Check out the story map, and see how well connected your own community is by reading New America’s full report!

China: Then and Now – A Story Map

Recently, Matthews Asia collaborated with Blue Raster to launch “China: Then and Now”, a new story map spotlighting China’s economic transformation. The story map explores China’s demographics, rapid adoption of mobile technology, and innovations in health care.

Story Map home screen

The story map begins with a historical overview of Ancient Chinese innovations, and then transitions into exploring today’s Modern China. It concludes with a look at how modern investors are incorporating investment opportunities in China to create globally diversified portfolios.

The making of the story map

To ensure the story map would be easy to navigate, easy to share, and easy to engage with, our team leveraged Esri’s Cascade story map template. Taking inspiration from Esri’s “Two Koreas” story map, our team created a color scheme and story board that reinforced the juxtaposition between Ancient and Modern China.

Mood board colors

To create a consistent storytelling narrative, we placed all graphics relating to Ancient China on the left side of the story map, and tinted them with warm shades reminiscent of Ancient Chinese traditions (Chinese lanterns, calligraphy, and architecture). We chose a palette of deep reds, warm yellows, and tans, and wove in pulp & paper-textures to continue the authentic feeling. To ensure the maps also felt authentic, our team customized a vector basemap to recreate the look of antique maps from that era.

For Modern China, we placed visuals on the right side of the story map, and tinted them cool, neon tones that reinforced a futuristic, innovative feeling of today’s China.

Check out the “China: Then and Now” story map today!

Big cities in China

Work With Blue Raster to Share Your Story

Ready to dive into story maps? Contact our story map experts below to get started today.

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Or, get in touch by email: info@blueraster.com

Workforce Development Through Story Maps

Community colleges deeply impact students’ lives and add value as an engine of economic mobility. They are particularly important for students often left on the sidelines of higher education — foster youth, veterans, incarcerated adults, and low-income or first-generation students.

Driven by the need for new tools that demonstrate how community colleges can positively affect students’ lives, the Coast Community College District (CCCD) and Blue Raster partnered to publish a series of story maps preparing tomorrow’s workforce for the new economy. The TalentED Story Maps, built on the ArcGIS Online Cascade template, are a bold regional approach for engaging employers and educators in creating clear roadmaps for student success.

Through TalentED, students can visualize regional workforce needs and available educational opportunities. Counselors can also help others plan out a career path that reflects personal and financial goals.

Alongside the central TalentEd Story Map, industry-level Story Maps give students access to information on careers, colleges, and living costs, all targeted to their specific location.

Within each industry-level Story Map, users can watch short videos on the wide range of jobs associated with each industry. They can also view all companies in Orange County that are involved in a specific industry, and find a community college where they can continue their studies for a job in that field. Further interactive display options allow users to also tailor their experience to their needs, placing themselves on the path to a great career.

As Stephanie Feger, Project Director of Coast Community College District said:

“This resource will be invaluable to the colleges and students in our region. We value Blue Raster’s partnership in design, development, documentation and support. We truly appreciate Blue Raster’s expertise and collaborative approach.”

Check out the TalentED Story Maps today!

Biotechnology story map


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