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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.

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Global Forest Watch Fires: New Fire Monitoring Capabilities

Thousands of fires are burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil - the most intense blazes for almost a decade. Global Forest Watch Fires (GFW Fires), an online platform for monitoring and responding to forest and land fires, provides a near real-time view into the current fire activity. Additionally, users can view fire reports and compare historical data on regions all over the world.

GFW Fires Report

New Updates to GFW Fires

Draw or upload a shapefile to calculate fire counts and subscribe to alerts. Users can select specific areas and see the calculated numbers of VIIRS and MODIS Alerts in the past 24 hours. Next, users can click on the drawn or uploaded shapes on the map to subscribe to alerts for that area.

Global Forest Watch Fire Reports provide robust insight into fire history, cumulative fires to date, and a statistical analysis by administrative boundaries within a country or around the world. New to GFW Fires, users can now view charts of unusual fire activity. The report compares fires from the current week to the same week in the previous 16 years. In addition, new charts analyze fire activity in Palm Oil Concessions and Wood Fiber Areas.

Global Forest Watch Fires Report
Fire alerts in the Amazonas region of Brazil.

In addition to the basemap imagery, Global Forest Watch Fires now provides an option for Sentinal Imagery. The latest satellite imagery is available from Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8. Sentinel-2, operated by the European Space Agency, has global coverage in 10-meter resolution, and can obtain updated imagery every 10 days.

Global Forest Watch Fires Sentinal Imagery

By using the latest geospatial technology, Global Forest Watch Fires allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world. Users can monitor fire activity, sign up to receive alerts, or share their own stories on GFW's blog. Explore this interactive map today.

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 Solutions for Emergency Management Workshop

Emergency Managment Disaster Response training

Both man-made hazards and natural disasters significantly impact populations across the globe. Advanced preparation is becoming more critical than ever, especially within the government entities that manage crisis response and emergency management. To answer this demand, Esri has organized a new category of out-of-the-box toolsets designed to mitigate the risk of hazards and delegate resources in the wake disasters.

ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management encompasses a range of products that help emergency management officials to manage response resources and visualize events as they occur across time and space. Earlier this month, the Blue Raster team attended a workshop on this program set at Esri’s Redlands Campus in Southern California. This event focused heavily on the Emergency Management Operations Gallery group, which features seven applications with seven unique maps and 33 total feature layers.

Emergency Management Disaster Response training
Emergency Management Disaster Response

Our team gained significant experience with each of the applications, from configuration to deployment. We were particularly impressed by the cross-component integration and real-time feature updates. Once properly configured, this toolset features an extremely user-friendly interface with numerous options for customization of outputs and data visualization. Furthermore, one-click data inputs and feature updates result in fast and efficient communication of changing conditions.

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Blue Raster is excited to add ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management to our continuously growing line of GIS professional services. We look forward to being able to contribute to emergency management preparedness and disaster response efforts.

ArcGIS Urban: Take City Development Further

Blue Raster Project Manager Megan Gottfried took her ArcGIS Urban skills to the next level at Esri’s "Deploying ArcGIS Urban" training. The training, held in San Diego just before Esri’s annual User Conference, included other Esri business partners, distributors, and advanced level users from around the world.

ArcGIS Urban is gaining significant attention in the GIS and City Planning & Development industries. The platform is a complete solution allowing municipal planning departments and development-focused NGOs to improve urban planning practices and decision-making on a city-wide scale. Users can use ArcGIS Urban to create 3D renderings of city landscapes, proposed buildings, and compare proposed site projects across key stakeholders.

ArcGIS Urban case study

Megan Gottfried used San Francisco as a study area for development and used ArcGIS Urban technology to assist the city’s urban planners with the growing issue of overcrowding. Key program features such as theoretical population and employment projections helped officials to understand the regional severity of the problem and work to find innovative solutions, while 3D building renderings with zoning and building setback details gave realistic building city scapes for user exploration.

San Francisco City
"Today's advanced GIS software can now model cities in 3D and integrate the full planning workflow, thereby dramatically enhancing efficiency and effectiveness."

- Scott Edmondson, Senior Strategic Sustainability Planner for the City of San Francisco

Other highlights of the training session included a product demo and an overview of the ArcGIS Urban system. in addition, Megan Gottfried was able to learn both the back-end and front-end ArcGIS Urban platform and provide clients with tips and best practices for deployment. Megan tested the many features of the ArcGIS Urban program and created sample projects & planning files for the San Francisco area. The event concluded with a Q&A session where Megan and her colleagues were able to ask questions about the program and troubleshoot some of their problems.

ArcGIS Urban Site Project

Learn More

Blue Raster is excited to begin offering ArcGIS Urban solutions for our clients. Are you interested in harnessing the power of informed planning for your business or municipality? Contact us today!

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Esri User Conference 2019: The Blue Raster Experience

Esri UC: The SuperBowl of the Geospatial Industry

The Esri User Conference is the biggest GIS event of the year. This year, the San Diego Convention Center was once again filled with a record-breaking number of geolocation enthusiasts; over 17,000 attendees. The Blue Raster team was excited to participate and showcase our latest work, meet new friends and learn from other GIS professionals.

Blue Raster Team at Esri UC 2019
Blue Raster Team at Esri UC 2019

With ideas flying and new technologies being unveiled, we walked away excited for what is to come:

  • Esri ArcGIS Hub – It was amazing to see all the ways cities and organizations are partnering with residents, non-profits, business, and universities through ArcGIS Hub. The Hub work that the City of Zwolle, Netherlands, and the District of Columbia government are doing was super inspiring!
  • ArcGIS Urban – This is the ultimate city planning tool. It takes into account setbacks, zoning regulations and overrides, and provides capabilities to compare large-scale 3D projects across multiple parcels and development projects.
  • ArcGIS Indoors – ArcGIS Indoors is enabling organizations to provide the ultimate workplace experience for employees through workplace maps and location data to better manage workplace operations. We are proud to announce our new ArcGIS Indoors specialty from Esri.
  • ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7.1 – This new version of ArcGIS Enterprise has reduced server memory requirements have by 95%. This means that the same hardware should be able to do MUCH more now.

The conference kicked off with the Opening Plenary featuring Dr. Jane Goodall and an exciting new StoryMap, ENGAGE – LISTEN – UNDERSTAND – ACT, that the Jane Goodall Institute and Blue Raster teamed up to create. Built with the brand new StoryMaps for ArcGIS template, this story map outlines concerns over chimpanzee populations and the environment, the steps in the process of 'Tacare' approach toward conservation, and success stories with this conservation approach. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the Jane Goodall Institute and meet Jane and her team at the UC conference this year. We hope to see Jane in DC when she visits in September.

Jane Goodall and the Blue Raster Team
Jane Goodall and the Blue Raster Team
Danny Cassiday at Esri UC 2019
Danny Cassiday at Esri UC 2019

On Monday, one of our GIS Analysts, Danny Cassiday, brought his knowledge to sunny California to present a lightning talk "My Life as a (Version) Control Freak: Versioning ArcGIS Online Items with Python" sharing his experiences and thoughts on applications of Python in versioning ArcGIS Online items.

On Tuesday, Blue Raster was proud to sponsor and attend the Sustainable World Social, a networking event focusing on the applications of GIS in the context of conservation and sustainability.

Following the social, we headed over to our annual Fish Taco Night at the South Beach Bar & Grille.

Blue Raster Taco Night  at South Beach Bar & Grille
Blue Raster Taco Night
Blue Raster Taco Night
Blue Raster Taco Night
Blue Raster Team at Taco Night
Blue Raster Team at Taco Night

We enjoyed seeing all those who stopped by our booth this year, from professionals in conservation and forest management to real estate development and utility support. We were able to demo some of our latest applications and invited attendees to visit our Map Gallery Posters. The Gallery featured our work with Forest Stewardship Council providing an interactive outlet through ArcGIS Operations Dashboards to explore where FSC Certified Forests and Certificates currently are located for verification and accountability purposes as well as our partnership with The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program, USAID, UNICEF, and the Nature Conservancy utilizing ArcGIS StoryMaps to track the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. We also had the opportunity to display a poster covering the drone missions we flew with The Green-Wood Cemetery using Esri’s Drone2Map and ArcGIS Online Web Scenes to provide high-quality imagery that will identify invasive grass for measurement and monitoring in partnership with Cornell University.

Forest Products without Compromise map
Measuring Success map
Improving Drone Missions with Lidar Support map

Wednesday evening was family night, allowing us to engage with the entire GIS community and interact with enthusiasts, young and old. Our Blue Raster temporary tattoos were a hit with the kiddos! Between our booth on the expo floor, the many sessions and socials, family night, and our legendary fish taco night, we had so many wonderful moments. Check out some of our favorites:

Family Night at Esri UC 2019
Family Night at Esri UC 2019
Christina passing out candy at Family Night.
Christina passing out candy at Family Night.
Some of our favorite moments from the UC this year
Some of our favorite moments from the UC this year
Blue Raster booth for Esri UC 2019
Blue Raster booth for Esri UC 2019
Our Blue Raster women in GIS Esri UC 2019
Our Blue Raster women in GIS Esri UC 2019

Interested in working with us?

Reach out to see how we can help you harness GIS technologies, mapping solutions, and data analysis to tackle the challenges you face.


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