GIS Data Analysis

Sea Turtle Solutions: Using ArcGIS to Protect an Endangered Species

Sea+Turtle.jpg

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.

seaturtles2.png
analyzing+sea+turtle.png

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.

North Carolina’s Vision Zero Map: Making Sense of Traffic Crash Patterns

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University wanted to project the number of deaths per year resulting from risky driving behavior onto a centralized map that could be sorted by different demographics and updated by multiple sources. The solution? The North Carolina Vision Zero Map. This map was a collaborative initiative to help eliminate roadway deaths and injuries in the state. The aim was to create a single map of deaths by year in order to recognize and understand patterns and allow for easier interpretation of multiple data sets from different sources.  

This map enables policymakers and the public to see what types of accidents  specific geographic areas experience compared to other areas, and it allows them to view information sorted by different time periods, age of drivers, or type of incident. Seeing this data visually on a map gives a clear picture of the patterns that emerge over time in specific areas.  

The Vision Zero Map was launched at the end of November 2017 with ArcGIS API for JavaScript developed by Argis Solutions. Argis Solutions created a data warehouse system for the multiple data sources that would be displayed together on the same map. They also helped with UI (user interface) development, producing a responsive design for both web and mobile users.  

This system allows multiple sources of data to converge, building a more complete picture of traffic crashes because the data is aggregated together in a sensible manner. Patterns are more easily seen and detected, and the objective is to find solutions and bring awareness to what caused the accidents in the past. Eventually, the hope is to reduce traffic deaths to zero. This map is paving the way to a better driving future for the state of North Carolina.  

Mitigating Overweight Freight: GIS Data Analysis and Widget Development for NCSU-ITRE

The Argis Solutions' GIS consulting team has lent our expertise in a number of different ways in association with the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) of North Carolina State University. We have created analysis and visualization tools for the NC Vision Zero program. The federal Vision Zero project aims to lower highway deaths to zero.

Our consultants provide support for the Size and Weights Department as they control overweight freight on North Carolina highways, protecting the quality of the roads. Overweight freight tends to damage and degrade road ways over time, making them more dangerous to drive on and wasting tax payer money in repairs. Our efforts have supplied the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) with more real-time data to generate planned patrols, lowering incidences. The result of these visualizations is that the NCSHP with NCSU-ITRE have been able to lower traffic deaths and create a safer driving experience throughout the state of North Carolina.

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) is an institutional center located at NC State University. Chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1978, ITRE conducts surface and air transportation research, training, and technical support activities for municipal, state, federal, and international clients in order to address critical transportation issues. ITRE is committed to developing leadership in its study of transportation issues through fostering analytical thinking, integrating technology in education and research, serving as a catalyst for problem solving, and cultivating professionals and students dedicated to excellence in transportation.