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World Resources Institute

WRI Tracks Nutrient Pollution in Coastal Waters

When the World Resources Institute (WRI) wanted to draw attention to nutrient pollution of coastal waters, they turned to Blue Raster to develop an interactive website and GIS application to depict and track this growing problem.  The central feature of the WRI’s Eutrophication and Hypoxia: Nutrient Pollution in Coastal Waters website is an interactive map, which combines geographic, environmental, and time-lapse data.

Within the past 50 years, eutrophication—the over-enrichment of water by nutrients such as nitrogen phosphorus—has emerged as one of the leading causes of water quality impairment.  Eutrophication can result in hypoxia (or oxygen depletion), which can destroy aquatic life and create dead zones in coastal regions. “Until now, a lack of information and monitoring has been a major impediment to understanding the extent and impacts of ‘dead zones’ and eutrophication in coastal ecosystems,” said Mindy Selman, senior water quality analyst at WRI.  “This website is an important step forward because it compiles the current information into a central location to raise awareness and offer solutions for controlling nutrient pollution.”

Blue Raster developed the user-friendly application using ArcGIS Server and Flex API to create a comprehensive look at historical and recent eutrophic and hypoxic events around the world.  The interactive map allows users to investigate 762 coastal areas around the globe that have been affected by eutrophication and hypoxia. The data, which was compiled by analysts at WRI and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, includes 479 sites identified as experiencing hypoxia, 55 sites that once experienced hypoxia but are now improving, and 228 sites that experience other symptoms of eutrophication, including algal blooms, species loss, and impacts to coral reef assemblages.

Using Flickr, YouTube and Delicious, Blue Raster provided users with the ability to access and share other resources on eutrophication and hypoxia, including publications, photographs, and video.  The site also allows users to provide updates to the maps and databases based on their knowledge of local coastal water conditions. To learn more, please visit WRI’s website on nutrient pollution in coastal waters.

World Resources Institute – Forest Atlas of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The World Resources Institute partnered with Blue Raster to create an interactive map viewer that shows development in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Designed using ESRI ArcGIS Server 10 and the Flex API 2.2, this forest atlas allows the viewer to examine in detail logging and mining concessions, protected areas, roads, and detailed change in the forests, which cover two-thirds of the country’s territory and serve as one of the planet’s major forest carbon sinks.  The user can view the information in both English and French by themes such as forest zoning, concession date, timber production, mining, vegetation, and forest cover change.  Further, the adjustable transparency of the map layers enables the user to view the base map data underneath.

The government of DRC faces challenges in developing comprehensive forest management, zoning processes, and management of logging, mining, and agriculture.  Forest Atlas of the DRC provides easier access to current forest land allocation in the DRC and will help improve land use planning, monitoring, and resolution of conflicts over resources in areas of overlapping claims.  It will also help local NGOs and communities understand government actions and defend their access rights.

The DRC Forest Atlas map viewer is the first in a series of interactive maps focusing on forest developments and change.  Over the coming months, additional map viewers will be available for other central African countries and Indonesia.  For more information regarding the World Resources Institute Forest Atlas Project please visit

Forest Atlas of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Southern Forests for the Future

Partnering with the World Resources Institute, Blue Raster has developed an innovative tool to map the health of the southern forests of the United States.  More than 200 million acres of forests, stretching from Texas to Virginia, are under threat from suburban sprawl, coal mining and resource extraction.  Integrating YouTube, Flickr, WMS services, and KML, this Adobe Flex-based ArcGIS Server mapping application supports WRI’s initiatives of 1) increasing public awareness about these threats and providing useful information about the value of intact forest ecosystems, 2) identifying and developing options that direct economic incentive toward maintaining the health of these forests, and 3) tracking the execution of these initiatives and analyzing their progress.  For more information regarding the World Resources Institute Southern Forests for the Future Project please visit

Visit to learn more about this innovative Drupal and ArcGIS Server Flex API application.

Southern Forests

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