ArcGIS

Sea Turtle Solutions: Using ArcGIS to Protect an Endangered Species

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Partnering with Quantam Spatial, Argis Solutions uses a JavaScript web application developed with the Leaflet library to minimize adverse impact to sea turtles during dredging. 

By Alyssa Grant 

Watching footage of baby sea turtles struggle out of their eggs and clumsily head for the ocean, you find yourself holding your breath, cheering for them as they face daunting odds of survival. An estimated one in 1000 to one in 10,000 hatchlings reach adulthood. There is even more to root for—some sea turtle species have incredibly long migrations that take them several years and thousands of miles. These statistics underline the challenges the sea turtle faces and why it is endangered. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been working with scientists and the dredging industry to identify ways protect endangered sea turtles while still allowing the important work of dredging to continue. Dredging, a form of excavation, offers valuable environmental benefits: beach reclamation, flooding prevention, as well as contaminant remediation. The question to answer: How could dredging operations safely co-exist with minimal harm to sea turtles? Recognizing the value of a digital approach in answering this question, BOEM approached Quantum Spatial (QSI), partnering with Argis Solutions, to assist them in solving this unique problem.

A massive aggregation of data related to the turtles' behavior on the Atlantic coast was gathered from publicly available data sources and scientific turtle studies conducted by QSI. BOEM’s goal was to use this data to determine the best locations and times of year to dredge.

QSI and Argis Solutions worked together to standardize the data for use in the solution. Recognizing the adeptness of ArcGIS at communicating GIS data quickly and clearly, they created a JavaScript web-based application developed with the Leaflet library in which users could actually view the estimated population of any given species, in any given area, at any given time. Now BOEM is able to plan dredging projects based on data rather than using arbitrary dredging windows.

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It is a simple, intuitive solution that protects endangered sea turtle populations while allowing dredging companies to continue their work. Even better: Users with little experience operating technology of this kind can easily interpret the data, assess the risk, and adjust accordingly. Protecting endangered species like sea turtles will continue to be a  complex global challenge, but creative digital solutions like this one are a big step in the right direction.

Silver Lake Construction Uses ARCAD App to Improve Accuracy in Foundation Construction

Argis Solutions recent work with Silver Lake Construction Company has been highlighted in depth by Chris Andrews on Esri’s ArcGIS blog. Andrews recognizes the value augmented reality (AR) adds to GIS data, noting: 

 “As a product manager driving 3D, BIM, and other related software efforts at Esri, I’m always looking for applications of geospatial technology that can improve the lives of real users.  We get asked about AR a ton and whether through partner apps, such as Argis Solutions, or through development using our ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, it’s great to be able to report that real partners and customers are building AR applications that are transforming the experience of GIS in the field.  I expect to see much more like this in the future.”

Silver Lake Construction Company builds residential foundations in the Las Vegas, NV area. First on the construction site, Silver Lake must be accurate and efficient. Brett Willis, Silver Lake’s president, was researching avenues for increasing his company’s accuracy in construction. His question: Did a tool exist that could help his crew dig foundation cuts on bare-earth plots with better than two-inch accuracy?

The answer to Willis’ question was found in augmented reality technology. The Argis Lens, a geospatial AR app created by Argis, projects ArcGIS data into the real world using a mobile device. For this particular problem, the Lens was modified to help Willis meet his goal of two-inch accuracy for foundation construction. Typically, the Lens uses onboard GPS within the mobile device or paired GPS units to achieve the required accuracy, but Silver Lake’s accuracy needs were more exacting. 

 Up to the challenge, the team at Argis created a new application, ARCAD, which uses computer vision technology. Computer vision enables a computer to see something and make a decision that a human no longer has to make. Photos of fruit affixed to stakes were used to mark known locations on the construction site. Through computer vision, ARCAD was able to recognize these complex images, anchor the precise geospatial location, and project the building plan onto the ground. While still in the field-testing stage, ARCAD is meeting the 2-inch accuracy requirements.

 Overall, the Silver Lake crew is cautiously optimistic about ARCAD’s ability to streamline their work process while allowing them to achieve the high level of accuracy needed for foundation construction. Looking to the future, Silver Lake sees many additional possibilities for further ARCAD app development. 

Broomfield Simplifies Cemetery Plot Management by Extending Web AppBuilder

In Michigan last February,  two sisters discovered, to their shock and horror, that the cemetery where they had buried their brother 15 years prior had lost him. No headstone, no records, nothing. They desperately tried to locate him, but their attempts have been fruitless. Heartbroken and dismayed, they are still dealing with the aftershock and harsh reality that their brother was somehow misplaced.

How does this happen? How does a cemetery lose vital information and misplace someone?

Arguably, the biggest challenge is data management. Hard copy maps get lost, destroyed, or simply crumble over time. Records can be misplaced, and eventually the people who knew who was buried where also die.

Fortunately, geospatial data can change all of that.

In fact, Broomfield, Colorado will soon be home to a brand-new section of cemetery, and its interment staff is among the first to be equipped with an interactive tool to manage their data more efficiently with ArcGIS mapping at its foundation.

Argis Solutions has developed a customized Web AppBuilder widget that builds upon the current process for buying cemetery plots. It's a workflow app: First, a customer is shown which plots are available, indicated by a particular color. Next, when a plot is chosen, the app changes the plot's color and creates a PDF report detailing the legal agreement the customer will adhere to. Once the newly signed document has been scanned back into the system by the cemetery administration—and payment is received—the app automatically updates the plot with a new color to reflect its purchased status.

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The widget also allows the interment staff to perform surname searches, and family information will be geographically linked to real cemetery plots. All past records will be loaded into the map and made searchable as well, making this technology a powerful tool for tracking important information. This technology will empower the cemetery staff to quickly and efficiently find records, and their corresponding locations, allowing staff members to confidently provide the best service possible for those looking for plots.

While most cemeteries are accustomed to paper record keeping or static maps, having a searchable, dynamic, color-coded map capable of creating PDF reports and keeping track of the purchasing process will undoubtedly save time and frustration for all parties involved. This unique way of extending ArcGIS that embraces the workflow process for cemetery administration makes a lot of sense.

Practical, helpful, and available in real-time, this Web AppBuilder widget is just one more way Argis Solutions is helping a client meet their real-world needs by extending ArcGIS.

If you are interested in exploring how Argis Solutions can help meet your company's real-world needs, set up a call here. We want to hear from you!