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Tag: Arlington

Using StoryMaps to Celebrate Arlington County’s 1920 Centennial

Up until the end of the American Civil War, both present-day Arlington County and Alexandria County were included under the Alexandria County name. Then, in 1870, Virginia's re-written Constitution called for the state’s many incorporated cities to become independent from their respective counties. Thus, Alexandria City separated from the County of Alexandria, which was renamed to “Arlington County” to avoid confusion.

Blue Raster partnered with the Arlington Historical Society to create a StoryMap celebrating Arlington County's centennial anniversary. This StoryMap highlights 115 points of historical significance throughout the county, as curated by the Arlington Historical Society. The map displays a diverse range of feature types, including bridges, farmhouses, mansions, schools, and more. Each location also features a high-quality picture, modern-day address, and informative site description.

Arlington Centennial StoryMap

Arlington County Centennial StoryMap

This StoryMap also features a custom basemap, created from scratch by Blue Raster’s GIS and design teams. This basemap gives viewers a better view of what Arlington County looked like in 1920, including historic street and community names. In addition to a view of the past, this basemap also contains elements of the present. Zooming in activates a layer showing current-day building footprints that can help the viewer relate present locations to historical points of interest.

Since our inception in 2002, Blue Raster has been headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia. We always love working with local businesses and organizations, and we look forward to celebrating the county’s centennial anniversary with this StoryMap.

Let Blue Raster create your organization’s next StoryMap. Contact us today to get started!

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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.