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.

American Institutes for Research

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.

ArcGIS Pro & ArcMap Training in Austin, TX

Last week, we traveled to Austin, TX to give a hands-on GIS training for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The idea behind the training was to deepen the staff’s proficiency using ArcGIS Pro/Desktop and ArcGIS Online.

Here’s an inside look at the three-day training at AIR’s Austin office.

Day one, we focused entirely on:

  • Building up the TEA team’s skills with ArcGIS Desktop, and Addressing some of their current needs at the agency.
  • Day one started well with an assessment that asked each team member to demonstrate their current proficiency with ArcGIS Desktop.
    This ensured each person had all of the basics down before we moved onto advanced analytics.
  • We spent the remainder of the day diving into toolboxes including editing, data management, and spatial analytics.

Day two welcomed AIR staff to the training. We split into advanced and intermediate groups and marched through a cycle of modules on increasingly sophisticated GIS operations. Everyone used common data sets from TEA’s current work in Texas and had an a-la-carte data menu to choose from as they went deeper. Each individual was asked to explore one of four questions:

  1. What is the impact of teacher tenure on student and school performance?
  2. Does a representative race/ethnic teaching population relate to student performance?
  3. What is the nature of the relationship between educator prep programs and the schools/districts they serve?
  4. Which rural districts are well-positioned to launch a grow-your-own teacher program?

We closed the day by migrating everyone’s maps out of ArcGIS Pro and into ArcGIS Online.

AIR advanced group at the training

The advanced group digging into modules on grouping analysis, point density, similarity, regressions and more.

The last day kicked off with presentations on building web apps and story maps. Each person then spent the afternoon creating an app that told the story of insights they discovered from their previous day of mapping. We wrapped up the training with a gallery walk of the team’s amazing creations with colleagues from TEA and AIR.


Interested in starting a training?

Tell us a little about yourself and your project. 

ArcGIS Online Accelerate Training

We visited Austin, Texas last week to lead a second round of ArcGIS Online Accelerate training for the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Texas State Education Agency (TEA).

We held a first round of hands-on training in August that covered the skills needed to create (and to teach others in creating) maps in ArcGIS Online. At the end of the training, AIR and TEA were able to answer questions such as:  How can I create and share maps with colleagues within my organization or within a targeted audience? How can I make the most of my ArcGIS Online subscription? And most importantly, how can I create content that allows educators across Texas to effectively do their job?

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This February, Blue Raster returned to Austin to build off of last year’s training and cover advanced topics. The two-day deep dive focused on refining and advancing the teams’ ArcGIS Online skills and covered spatial analysis and web application creation and deployment. The teams also utilized Blue Raster’s Story Map Starter Kit to learn the building blocks for creating effective Story Maps.

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See images of two story maps from the training below. Learn more about Blue Raster’s GIS training at our ArcGIS Online Accelerate Solutions page.

The Geography of School Improvement in Texas

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