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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.

Tag: ArcGIS Desktop

Mapping America’s Wine Growing Regions

Wine Country

Have you ever wondered where your wine comes from? Did you know that there are hundreds of distinct wine regions in the United States? Since 2017, Blue Raster has been working with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to map over 270 of America’s Viticultural Areas (AVA) in GIS. Blue Raster then developed the AVA Map Explorer, a web mapping application to view, compare and download AVA boundaries.

Viticultural areas are designated grape-growing regions with distinguishable geographic features with boundaries defined by TTB. TTB is part of the U.S. Treasury and overseas regulation and tax collection on the sales of alcohol and tobacco. A map library with thousands of marked-up USGS topographic maps to written boundary instructions called the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 27 CFR Part 9 is the official record and only way to view an AVA.

Example of CFR entry.

Working with SJ Technologies, the team started the conversion from paper to GIS by creating points for each CFR description in a Viticultural Area. Then, using industry-accepted national datasets including U.S. Census administrative boundaries and roads, and USGS contours and the National Hydrography Dataset, the connected CFR points form viticultural boundaries.

TTB_Digitizing

Larger viticultural areas may be drawn on over forty separate paper maps in the maps library. In digital format the number of paper maps is no longer an issue. The new approach allowed for the team to provide an extremely detailed product to TTB that was easily consumable. The ability to zoom in on complex areas or view an entire viticultural area on one screen had previously been impossible.

AVAs boundaries can be extremely detailed, but might not seem so when viewing at the full extent.

Zoom in to see just how detailed the AVA boundaries are.

Boundaries follow hydrographic and contour lines.

AVA Map Explorer

With over 270 AVAs mapped, Blue Raster developed the AVA Map Explorer. This easy to use application helps TTB staff with wine labeling, vineyards petitioning for inclusion in an existing or proposed AVA, and the public to learn more about where their wine comes from. Additionally, users can search AVAs by name, address, State and County filters, or simply by panning around and exploring. Because many AVAs have overlapping boundaries, the ability to compare AVAs was critical. Contained within a popup is information about overlapping AVAs, effective dates, and geographic extent. From the popup users can also link to the CFR, which is still the official record, view the public docket of petitions and rulings, and download the shapefile of the AVA.

More than just Napa and Sonoma counties in California, wine growing regions exist all across the United States.

Zoom in to see just how detailed the AVA boundaries are. Popups show how AVA's contain and overlapp with others.

In places with heavy overlap, it’s possible to add AVA's to a list to compare boundaries.

Learn more about wine in your area with the American Viticultural Area Map Explorer. Cheers!

Arlington Democrats: Organizing Volunteers with Accessible Maps

Have you ever wondered how local political parties organize their army of door-to-door volunteers? Increasingly, these efforts depend on effective and accessible mapping.

Recently, Blue Raster worked with the Arlington County Democratic Committee to update their door-to-door newsletter delivery route maps. These maps direct a group of nearly 500 volunteers from door to door, providing them with vital geographic and demographic information. Displaying 443 routes across 52 voter precincts, the success of the maps depends on being both descriptive and easily accessible.

Comparison of old and new map formatting.

Left to Right: Old Format and New Format

The Blue Raster team processed the data in ArcGIS Desktop to remove unnecessary information and create a streamlined process for updating the maps with annual data. The streamlined process provides clear instructions for updating and troubleshooting data, in a format that can be followed by ArcGIS Desktop users of any experience level. From start to finish, users can manage their maps internally regardless of previous knowledge or expertise. The ArcMap document leverages data driven pages to quickly and easily generate over 400 map routes from a single map document (.mxd).

Alison DentonIt was such a pleasure working with Blue Raster! Carter, Olivia, Christina and the rest of the team helped us to streamline our datasets and bring real efficiency to the Messenger Maps production process. As a volunteer organization, having the professionalism of the Blue Raster team behind us moved us leaps and bounds ahead in creating maps that will truly empower our volunteers to help get out the vote. The Arlington Democrats’ Messenger Maps team is extremely grateful to Blue Raster – thank you!

  — Alison Denton, Arlington County Democrats’ Messenger Maps Team

Blue Raster also optimized the print layout of the maps, reducing printing time and costs without sacrificing content and presentation. The updated maps provide a comprehensive and flexible structure for creating and producing accessible mapping.

 


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