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.


South Park Arboretum’s Plant Finder uses ArcGIS Experience Builder to Showcase Restoration Efforts

Blue Raster partnered with Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC) to develop the South Park Arboretum Plant Finder application using ArcGIS Experience Builder and assist in the data management of South Park Arboretum’s “outdoor museum of trees”. With the launch of their new website on November 10th, visitors to the arboretum will have a new tool in hand that allows them to explore individual plant records, search information about featured plantings, get restoration project updates, and learn how South Park Arboretum staff are mitigating and managing invasive species on the property.

Plant Finder Application Developed with ArcGIS Experience Builder

Plant Finder Application Developed with ArcGIS Experience Builder

Historic Restoration of South Park Arboretum

Located in Buffalo, New York and unique to the historic Olmsted park and parkway system is South Park Arboretum, an arboretum that was on par with the most notable arboreta of the late 19th century and early 20th century. The multi-year, eleven phase restoration of the South Park Arboretum, consisting of 155 acres of historic and culturally significant "Olmstedian" character-defining features, including approximately 400 “Olmsted Original” or heritage trees, is an exceptional feat, requiring significant oversight and planning. The vision behind the restoration is to capture and integrate Olmsted’s original design into the current park by selective plant evaluation for their contribution to the collection including plant removal, cultivation, and care of “Olmsted Original” trees that support the original taxonomical organization that the Olmsted design established in 1895.

ArcGIS Experience Builder Mobile View

ArcGIS Experience Builder Mobile View of Plant Finder Application

Developing Plant Finder with ArcGIS Experience Builder

Blue Raster established an ArcGIS Online environment for BOPC by leveraging their status as a non-profit for reduced software costs. We then assisted with preparing and publishing data and identifying additional datasets of interest. Blue Raster successfully ingested plant records data into our plant synchronization workflow – which automates updates from BG-BASE, the organization's botanical repository, into GIS. This workflow provides staff with the ability to make data modifications in the field, while pushing the data back to the system of record seamlessly.

After finishing the backend data workflows, Blue Raster designed and developed an ArcGIS Experience Builder application for both internal and public use. The application contains filters, queries, and navigational tabs for users to identify trees of interest, facilities information, featured photos and plantings, reference data such as Olmsted’s original 1895 Planting Plan, and a survey for visitor feedback. As the application was developed with a mobile-friendly design in mind, users can easily use the tool while on the grounds to navigate and find relevant information.

When working to finalize the Plant Finder mapping application to coincide with the launch of the new website, South Park Arboretum’s Director and Curator, Margaret Lapp, had this to say about the efforts to make their data more accessible for staff and the public by utilizing GIS

“Partnering with Blue Raster and BG-BASE has proven invaluable to the Arboretum’s overall restoration and awareness-building efforts. GIS enables South Park Arboretum to integrate collections documentation with geographically referenced information supporting tree care, its coordination and curation alongside public enjoyment and discovery. The launch of the Plant Finder App. is a testament to Frederick Law Olmsted’s democratic and inclusive principles and transcends time in upholding Olmsted’s vision—to create an Arboretum where visitors could observe and learn about plants. BOPC is absolutely delighted to share our plant collection with the community near and far, fostering a spirit of curiosity for the natural world.”

- Margaret Lapp, Director and Curator, South Park Arboretum

Plant Finder Application Developed with ArcGIS Experience Builder

Plant Finder Application Developed with ArcGIS Experience Builder

Learn More About Blue Raster's Work with Public Gardens and Arboreta 

Blue Raster is an Esri Gold Business Partner and Nonprofit Specialty holder. Blue Raster is excited to support Public Gardens clients and bring awareness to some of the most beautiful and historic public spaces. Learn more about Blue Raster’s long history working with Public Gardens on innovative GIS solutions for staff and the public.

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Expanding Nutritious Food Access with the Healthy Corners Mobile App

What if you lived in a neighborhood where you didn’t have a local supermarket with affordable and nutritious food offerings? This is a very realistic scenario for many low-income communities in Washington, DC, but a local nonprofit—DC Central Kitchen (DCCK)—is aiming to solve this issue.

The organization provides culinary job training for individuals facing barriers to employment while simultaneously bringing nourishing foods and meals to communities that lack fairly-priced and wholesome options. Partnering with DC schools, community agencies, and corner stores, DCCK is continuing to find inventive and impactful ways to combat hunger and create healthy food access—and Blue Raster had the opportunity to be part of this mission.

Introducing the Free Healthy Corners Shopper App

In 2022, DCCK came to Blue Raster with the Healthy Corners Shopper app—originally developed by students at the University of California, Berkley—with the goal to display corner stores in DC neighborhoods that offer fresh, affordable produce to residents through the Healthy Corners program.

DCCK wanted a user-friendly application that would clearly show customers product availability by location and offer free recipes, resources, and more to inspire better eating. In addition to showing the location of inexpensive produce, the app also notes which stores in the Healthy Corners program offer a “SNAP Match” coupon program for SNAP/EBT customers and/or serve as DC WIC-approved vendors.

An App that Serves Up Real Change

Working off the original application structure, Blue Raster made the Healthy Corners Shopper app production-ready using the cross-platform framework React Native with an innovating backend in Airtable—a low-code platform for building applications.

Since 2020, DCCK’s Healthy Corners program has assisted in selling over 1.2 million units of healthy food options in DC corner stores (Source: https://dccentralkitchen.org/healthy-corners), and the Healthy Corners Shopper app is only helping that number rise. Interested individuals can download the app for free on their Android or iOS device—with exciting, new features coming soon thanks to the continued collaboration of DCCK and Blue Raster.

Strengthening Food Security in DC

Learn more and explore DCCK’s Healthy Corners Shopper app here, or contact Blue Raster today to discuss our hands-on process for creating custom mobile applications.

ArcGIS Monitor Maintains Healthy ArcGIS Enterprise for Collin County, TX

Blue Raster worked to deploy a well-architected ArcGIS Enterprise installation to support the growing GIS user base of Collin County, Texas. Just north of the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area, Collin County has a rapidly growing population of over 1 million residents. With such a large and growing GIS practice to manage, the county looked to Blue Raster to install ArcGIS Monitor to aid in monitoring its GIS infrastructure and ensure that it stays up and running.

What is ArcGIS Monitor?

ArcGIS Monitor is a powerful tool from Esri that allows organizations to monitor the health of GIS infrastructure in real-time. It can help organizations identify and fix issues before they become major problems, saving time and money in the long run. This tool excels in:

  • Real-time monitoring of environments
  • Alerting and notifications for issues
  • Collection and analysis of performance data
  • Detailed resource utilization reporting
  • Monitoring of security events
  • Visualization of data in dashboards and reports

ArcGIS Monitor displaying performance metrics for Collin County's ArcGIS Enterprise

ArcGIS Monitor Provides Real-Time Performance Metrics for ArcGIS Enterprise

ArcGIS Monitor Helps Identify and Resolve Issues 

Blue Raster worked with Collin County to deploy a robust, well-architected installation of ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1 on-premises in 2022 and later added ArcGIS Monitor to maintain a healthy and stable environment. With Monitor, improved insights were apparent quickly with better visibility and quantification for issues related to Collin County's enterprise GIS. The tool saves time for GIS Supervisor Bret Fenster, providing a single location to monitor all components of ArcGIS Enterprise and make quick decisions based on real-time metrics.

"With ArcGIS Monitor, we’re able to assess the performance of our services and multi-server environment easily. Before we had Monitor, we had to RDP into each server to see exactly what was going on. Now, we can see CPU and RAM performance with one login and a well-crafted dashboard configured by our consultant, Blue Raster. "

- Bret Fenster, GIS Supervisor, Collin County

With improved visibility and insights into their ArcGIS Enterprise, Bret and his team were able to immediately address patterns they noticed with server performance and allocate more resources to the problem. The deeper level of metrics provided by ArcGIS Monitor helped Bret and team to address data and content governance with their internal customers, improving performance for all users of ArcGIS Enterprise.

ArcGIS Dashboard displaying metrics from ArcGIS Monitor

ArcGIS Monitor Displays Metrics Highlighting Need More Server Resources

"We’re able to determine where we need more resources immediately. For example, recently we noticed our hosting server began to consume more RAM (90%). We worked with our server team to get 12GB added to the VM. After the increase in RAM, the hosting server continued to use more RAM and motivated the team to look at ArcGIS Server manager and inventory the services. We noticed some new, unexpected layers published from our internal portal that were created by another team. We were able to contact that department and remove the services that were creating the impact and resolve the issue."

- Bret Fenster, GIS Supervisor, Collin County

ArcGIS Dashboard displaying metrics from ArcGIS Monitor

ArcGIS Monitor Displays Improved Performance of ArcGIS Enterprise after Increasing Server Resources & Addressing Data Publishing Governance

Is ArcGIS Monitor Right for You?

Collin County’s success with implementing ArcGIS Monitor for their ArcGIS Enterprise deployment demonstrates that the insights and resulting solutions stemming from the data collected and visualized provides value to the County’s GIS and IT teams. The ability to support observations with quantified metrics empowers Collin County’s team to maintain a performant enterprise GIS environment and reduce downtime. Blue Raster strongly recommends including Monitor in all new deployments of ArcGIS Enterprise or adding it to existing installations. If your organization would like better insights into your enterprise GIS environments, please explore our ArcGIS Monitor Page and Contact Us Today!

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Changing Lanes with Configurable Solutions in MCDOT’s Bus Rapid Transit Planning Study

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is giving its citizens a say in the latest Flash Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) configuration, locations, and corridor termini serving Takoma Park, Langley Park, and White Oak—and ArcGIS is helping make it all possible.

With its New Hampshire Avenue BRT planning study, MCDOT is providing Montgomery County residents with the opportunity to explore and evaluate four transit alternatives that include the best Flash bus routes, future station locations, transportation connections, and more.

Blue Raster Joins the Route to Improved Transit

To make this study successful, MCDOT and a group of partners (including transportation communications experts Sharp & Company, engineering firm Kittelson & Associates, and Blue Raster) needed an engaging way to portray the four different alternatives and make them easily digestible for the community members who would be viewing, interacting, and commenting on them. That’s when Blue Raster was able to get behind the driver’s seat. Working with the partners, our team created the New Hampshire Avenue Flash BRT Alternatives Map—using ArcGIS Experience Builder to create the application and map that portrays the different alternatives.

Alternative3 BRT

The Map that Leads the Way

This map provides people who live in the area with a visual depiction of MCDOT’s proposed changes, allowing them to determine if they could be potentially impacted by these transit modifications and giving them the power to help improve the service. After examining the suggested options, users can voice their opinions, suggestions, or concerns directly in the application through a Survey123 form that Blue Raster initiated, giving MCDOT direct access to the public’s thoughts and fueling the results of the planning study. Though the study is still being conducted, it’s a privilege to be part of a project that allows our team to showcase our understanding of the transportation industry and its needs and influences the direction of a countywide transit service.

Survey123 BRT

Help MCDOT Pave the Way to Better Bus Rapid Transit

Learn more about MCDOT’s BRT planning study and explore the New Hampshire Avenue Flash BRT Alternatives Map. Make sure to submit a helpful comment to make a difference in future transit planning!

Read About the Study >

Take a Look at the Map >

Creating Effective Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Resources for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management

In 2020, the State of Nevada’s Department of Public Safety began discussing the possibility of using Esri’s ArcGIS disaster response and damage assessment solutions to support emergency preparedness, response, and recovery more efficiently and effectively within its Division of Emergency Management (DEM). With Blue Raster’s extensive knowledge on these configurable solutions, Nevada’s DEM selected our team to partner together to build out the Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) Tool utilizing ArcGIS in Nevada’s specific environment.

NVDEM Damage Assessment

With the PDA Tool, Nevada’s DEM is able to:

  • Conduct initial damage assessments following natural disaster(s) or destructive event(s)
  • Capture the extent and severity of damage to property
  • Streamline evaluation of need for resources and acquisition of resources after disaster(s)
  • Aid emergency management
  • Collect damage reports
  • Perform initial assessments
  • Monitor the impact of disaster(s)
  • Provide critical information to stakeholders and the public

For the next few months, our team collected the necessary data to bring into the ArcGIS applications; configured and tested the disaster-management capabilities; and created several workflows in ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Hub, Survey123, and ArcGIS Dashboards that would soon be presented to Nevada representatives from the state and local levels, as well as tribal lands.

To successfully build out the services Nevada DEM needed, our team also collaborated with Esri to secure the purchasing of Surge Licensing activated through Esri’s Disaster Response Program and requested through the State. With Surge Licensing, the division can request as many additional licenses as needed during the time of a disaster response without having to manage a large number of users on a day-to-day basis.

Nevada DEM’s PDA Tool utilizes:

  • ArcGIS Online to host and serve out content to the applications within the PDA Tool—including ArcGIS Dashboards, Survey123, and ArcGIS Hub
  • ArcGIS Dashboards to provide a comprehensive, at-a-glance view of the data and monitor trends
  • Survey123 so data can be collected via forms that are built into the tool; this includes operational surveys that can be accessed through the Damage Assessment Content group

ArcGIS Hub which offers a public site for county and local users and an internal destination for Nevada DEM; it also serves as a platform for connection and engagement between government entities and residents and promotes resources and data that are useful to the community

ArcGIS Experience Builder which is the configurable solution Blue Raster used to build the PDA Tool web application

In 2022, once the PDA Tool was in a good place, Nevada DEM brought in stakeholders—who were county officials, DEM employees, and local community and tribal leaders—so our team could deliver a series of trainings in their Emergency Operation Centers (EOC). Blue Raster GIS Analyst Andrew Patterson traveled to Carson City and Las Vegas to provide on-site, day-long trainings at the Nevada EOCs. These sessions included hands-on demonstrations, out-in-the-field practice, and thorough documentation so attendees could take what they learned during the training back to their communities and teach other people how to use this beneficial tool.

“Providing on-site training for Nevada DEM was a fantastic learning and teaching experience. I was able to work directly with the DEM’s GIS project manager and lead grants coordinator to provide day-long trainings at both the Carson City EOC and North Las Vegas City Hall. We used these trainings to not only showcase and teach the Preliminary Damage Assessment Tool but to also provide education on damage assessment best practices and its importance.” – Andrew Patterson, GIS Analyst, Blue Raster

NVDEM Training

Be Prepared in the Face of a Disaster

Blue Raster excels in creating fully operational emergency-management solutions. Interested in learning more? Contact us today to tell us more about your needs.

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