Forest Structure Analysis using LiDAR

SymGEO is pleased to announce the development of two new D.C. forest structure datasets created in partnership with DDOT Urban Forest Division, using LiDAR data managed by OCTO and the DC GIS program.

A little background: LiDAR data is a digital cloud of millions of elevation points typically gathered by a low-flying airplane or ground-level vehicle. The elevation is recorded at every surface the measuring laser beams hit, so in the case of a forest, it will capture the top of the trees, some branches, as well as under-story vegetation and ground elevation. The LiDAR used for this project was also classified by the provider into a number of useful categories, including buildings, ground, and high / medium / low vegetation.

Using an innovative method, SymGEO used the ArcHydro toolset to create “catchment” areas for each tree, with tree locations being determined by the UFA Street Trees dataset. Each tree point was given an artificially high elevation value, and then all surrounding vegetation points around the tree point were examined. If the model determined that the vegetation points were connected to the tree, then it was included in the catchment. If an adjacent tree was found (indicated by adjacent vegetation elevation points increasing in height), then the catchment was divided into the two tree areas. Kind of technical, but maybe the graphic below will help 🙂

This catchment method worked quite well; however, it did suffer from capturing multiple trees in the same catchment. Fortunately these cases were isolated quite easily be doing a spatial join between the catchment areas and street tree points, and identifying many-to-one joins.

For these cases, the catchment areas were converted into a grid of points, and the points were joined to the nearest tree. They were then back into areas (with the new tree ID as an attribute), effectively splitting up the area into smaller areas that had a one-to-one join with the tree points.

Once the tree area was established and cleaned up through a manual inspection of outliers, attributes including tree height and average canopy width are assigned to each tree. These attributes will help the Urban Forestry Division manage the tree canopy even more effectively.

A secondary dataset was also produced using the LiDAR data that catagorized areas into high, medium, or low vegetation, so some combination thereof. This helps the Urban Forestry Division prioritize areas for under-story plantings or the establishment of new urban canopies. This data set suffered a little from mis-categorized LiDAR points, but it is a good starting point for an urban canopy structure dataset.

If you have access to a LiDAR data set, and are interested in learning more about derivative products, contact us today – SymGEO is here to help!

Graduated, Certified, and Ready to Partner

SymGEO is pleased to announce that we have graduated the Esri Startup Program a year and a half early and have joined the Esri Partner Network as a Silver Tier partner. This elevated partnership status is a direct result of our focus to integrate best-in-class ArcGIS technology into our products and our determination to benefit our clients with a long-term Esri partnership.

“The Esri Partner Network is a rich ecosystem of organizations that work together to amplify The Science of Where. Partners deliver solutions, content, and services using the Esri Geospatial Cloud. Alliances are industry leaders aligned with Esri’s high level goals, joining forces to advance shared initiatives.”

– Esri

We have also been included in the Esri ArcGIS Online Specialty program in recognition of our proven set of value-added services and solutions that help users implement and optimize ArcGIS Online within their organizations.

Finally (for now!), SymGEO is honored to be part of the Esri ArcGIS for Local Government Specialty program. This designation is for promoting and implementing ArcGIS apps, maps and solutions for local government.

“As a proud Esri business partner, we are so grateful for all the support, encouragement, and technical resources that Esri has generously shared with SymGEO. We have benefited tremendously from Esri’s business guidance, shared best practices, and professional friendship!” 

–  Kevin McMaster, Principal, SymGEO

Talk to our industry experts today to hear more about our innovative, cost-effective, mapping solutions that leverage Esri technology – SymGEO is here to help!

Ward7 Community Outreach

SymGEO was honored to partner with DC’s Ward7 to design and launch a community outreach site designed to present a brief history of the area, a flavor of the neighborhood, the challenges faced due to a changing development landscape, and a call to action for the residents.

Ward7 header

“The genius of SymGEO was exactly what I needed to help jump-start a discussion on the DC Comprehensive Plan/Element Framework, transforming it from a boring review of data sets into an energizing discussion where people can clearly identify themselves in the data and endeavor to become change agents! SymGEO has taken community engagement and data collection to another level! #OneHappyCustomer”

– Ward7 Outreach Committee Chair

The Ward7 Community Outreach site is built on the Esri Hub framework which offers exceptional design flexibility and mobile responsiveness. The site begins by presenting what makes a successful neighborhood and how Ward7 has achieved its own distinct success.

Historic challenges have caused a rather sharp divide between Ward7 and some of its surrounding neighborhoods. This divide was best illustrated with demographic data showing income and education. This mobile-responsive data exploring application was built using Web AppBuilder.

Ward7 data

The site discusses how long term planning and development within Washington DC is guided by the Comprehensive plan, what factors are considered by the plan, and some of the challenges faced by Ward7 during the development process.

Suggestions on how to improve the plan are offered, and community input is solicited using Esri Survey123,

ward7 survey

Finally, social media is embedded into the site so that the community can stay up to date with the many events happening in and around Ward7.

ward7 social media

Talk to our industry experts today if your neighborhood or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri Hub – SymGEO is here to help!

Urban Forest Health

SymGEO is pleased to announce the launch of a Forest Health website for DDOT’s Urban Forest Division (UFD), designed to educate the community on how DDOT (and DC residents!) help keep the urban canopy vibrant, healthy, and productive. In a natural ecosystem, there are many checks and balances to keep a forest healthy. Urban environments present many challenges to trees, which include the urban heat island effect, degraded soil, limited growing space, and the introduction of exotic pests. This can lead to pest infestations and canopy damage if not caught quickly and mitigated efficiently. Fortunately, at the DDOT Urban Forestry Division, dedicated specialists prevent and respond to urban forest health issues on a daily basis.

“We are excited to share our forest health programs with the public in this new format. The new forest health website is dynamic and easy to use, it allows users to learn about pests and pathogens to look out for, while also giving them the opportunity to report their observations.”

– DDOT Urban Forestry Division

The new Forest Health site discusses a range of preventative measures the UFD takes against pests, including the Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) and the Cryptic Wood-Borer Insect (CWBI) programs, as well as how DC residents can identify and report invasive species.

The site leverages Esri Hub framework for design and mobile responsiveness and Esri Survey123 for pest reporting. Information is gathered through the website, including pest species, life stage, or signs/symptoms, and is passed to the survey to help the reporting process along.

A Pest Vulnerability Matrix (PVM) is also presented which enables urban foresters to evaluate the overall vulnerability of the urban forest and evaluate the potential impacts of emerging pests and diseases.

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri Hub – SymGEO is here to help!

School Recycling: Urban Wood Reuse

Teaching kids the importance of nature, recycling, history, and culture is a lofty goal. Perhaps it’s a lesson that could be taught from the comfort of a bench constructed from recycled urban wood sourced from a local DC neighborhood rich in cultural history? This is now possible thanks to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Division (UFD)’s new initiative called “Urban Wood Reuse: for Schools“. This partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will provide DC Public Schools and public charter schools with wood products to improve school grounds at no cost.

SymGEO was excited to help the Urban Forestry Division (UFD) develop this initiative by using Esri Hub technology to establish two-way communication between the UFD and DC schools interested in “sitting on a piece of DC History”. The site shares knowledge and products from the UFD while gathering the school’s product ideas and requirements.

The site discusses the benefits of wood reuse, where the wood comes from, and the variety of products available including benches, stumps, or woodchips. It also provides a link to an order form as a convenient and easy way to request wood products.

The order form itself is powered by Esri’s Survey 123 technology and is designed with step-logic where pertinent questions appear based on previous answers.

One of the exciting new aspects of an initiative is the ability for an audience member to sign into a community account and “follow” the initiative. This will grant them access to broadcasts about new events, updates, new product launches, and other useful information. Of course, being able to show which schools are as excited about this new initiative as we are has never been easier!

Talk to our digital platform experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri Hub Initiatives – SymGEO is here to help!

APTA Industry Footprint

The SymGEO team was honored to redesign the flagship custom mapping application for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) called the Industry Footprint. This application is designed to explore APTA membership, public transportation providers, transit service, manufacturing and supply chain, and congressional / legislative information. There is a wealth of information packed into one application!

The newly modernized Industry Footprint first begins with a look at APTA membership and transportation provider data at the national scale. It’s not easy making intuitive sense of thousands of data points, but fortunately, there are visualization tools designed to help. SymGEO uses a novel cartographic predominance approach that shows the relative number of members and dominant industry category in each congressional district with a firefly symbology effect to give it a pleasing glow.

industry categories

“The SymGEO team worked on a tight schedule to deliver a series of impressive updates and fixes to our existing application, including a whole visual re-imagining. We are excited to work on even more innovations to the tool going forward together.”

– Matthew Dickens, Senior Policy Analyst, APTA

State-wide information is provided upon zoom-in and includes details about the many APTA members, providers, bus and rail service areas, manufacturing supply chain, and legislative representative information. Most of these data sets required updates as part of this project, and several had broken over time as congressional data APIs had changed since the first version of this tool. This required extensive code logic updates and re-writes by our fantastic development partner and included many stylistic and responsive updates to match the new modern design comps from our design partner.

statewide data

There are several search options available to help users find the information they are looking for and create the perfect map for their report or policy advocacy. For the detailed legislative information, users can locate their area of interest and select a congressional district or an upper / lower house state legislative district. Contact information is provided for the appropriate representative as well as a snap-shot of transit facts and membership data pertinent to that area.

congressional data

Print-ready interactive reports are also offered for the convenience of researchers who need to share their findings with others, either as digital pdfs or hard-copy prints.

printed report

Finally, the application was redesigned for a fluid and responsive mobile experience. This allows data access on the go, in a meeting, or wherever needed.

APTA mobile

Talk to our mapping application experts today if you have an aging custom application that needs some modern TLC – the SymGEO team is here to help!

Downtown: Energize! in ArcNews

SymGEO was honored to have our community engagement pilot project Downtown: Energize! Kentlands featured in the 2019 ArcNews Spring edition!  This premier hard-copy and digital publication by Esri has a circulation of 900,000 industry professionals and is a go-to source for all that is new and innovative in the Esri GIS community.

This wonderfully in-depth article examines the purpose and need of the site, the benefits brought to residents and businesses, and of course, the amazing Esri technology that makes it all possible.

Check it out, and let us know if your community would like to experience the positive power of Downtown: Energize!

DDOT Urban Forestry Division Hub

SymGEO is pleased to announce the launch of the DDOT Urban Forestry Division Hub! This new digital platform is designed to engage and interact with the DC community and provide information about the many services and resources offered by the Urban Forestry Division (UFD) of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). This digital platform was built using Esri Hub technology, in coordination with DC Open Data and OCTO.

With a long history of caring for the extensive forest canopy in DC, the Urban Forestry group has meticulously assembled data sets and applications to help in their forest management mission and to communicate with a variety of audiences. With the introduction of Esri Hub technology, there is finally a digital platform perfectly designed to tie all the pieces together into a cohesive story. SymGEO was honored to be approached by the Urban Forestry group to help them design, configure and deploy this comprehensive digital solution.

urban forestry intro

“SymGEO is a remarkably flexible and responsive company. They listen carefully to requirements and deftly blend customer vision with technological capabilities.”

– Earl Eutsler, DDOT Urban Forestry Division, Associate Director / State Forester

The urban forest story begins with a look to the past and introduces the audience to the long history and important role of trees in DC.

history

The story then turns to the impressive variety of trees available for public enjoyment and leverages several applications and digital stories that the urban forestry group has already developed.

canopy

The flagship data set of the Urban Forest group is the Public Tree Map which elegantly displays a tremendous amount of current information about the urban tree canopy. Links are provided to both the map and the underlying data for the community to use and explore.

public tree map

Work orders, permits, inspections, plantings, removals… there’s a lot going on in Urban Forestry! Fortunately, many data sets and reporting mechanisms have been developed to keep track of it all. These have now been shared with the public under one digital roof for a better understanding of agency scope and status.

urban forestry maps

Of course, what fun are statistics if they can’t be updated on the fly as new information is entered into databases behind the scenes?

stats

Finally, links to tools and resources are provided for partners and stakeholders to begin making their own applications and discoveries with DC government data.

tools

Talk to our industry experts if your agency or organization is interested in leveraging the power of Esri Hub – SymGEO is here to help!

Croatian Rail Network

SymGEO is pleased to announce the completion of a project with The World Bank Group that enables valuable interactive insight into the rail transportation system in Croatia. This project started with a series of excel files that detailed rail segment speed, passenger numbers, freight volumes, age of track, and other characteristics.

croatia excel file

SymGEO then used a schematic diagram of the network to build and calibrate a spatially accurate network based on OpenStreetMap rail data and linear referencing of station locations.

croatia network diagram

This newly created spatial data was then hosted in ArcGIS Online and used to configure an Operations Dashboard application. This application was specifically designed to filter and query the data interactively on demand and present summary statistics based on complex queries. This combination of attribute queries, summary statistics, and visual representation now enables report graphics and key decision data to be created on-the-fly by the client.

“This is superb and exactly what the client needed and what I was imagining.”

– World Bank client

If you have complex transportation network data that you’d like to leverage with an intuitive, user-friendly, configurable application, then SymGEO would love to hear from you!

SymGEO Hub in the News

This month we were honored to have Downtown: Energize! featured in two local papers. There has been tremendous energy and enthusiasm swirling around this flagship project from SymGEO, and the technology continues to improve with every update.

lakelands newspaper

Downtown: Energize! features many different components of the ArcGIS technology suite, including Survey123, GeoForm / Collector, Operations Dashboard, Web AppBuilder for the retail locator, and a web scene that uses CityEngine textured models derived from building footprints and Lidar information processed in ArcGIS Pro. These components are then hosted in ArcGIS Online and leveraged using ArcGIS Hub technology.

downtown energize banner

Two local development boards, the Kentlands Downtown Working Group (KDWG) and the One Main Street Initiative (OMSI), took an excited interest in Downtown: Energize! and have commissioned complimentary sites to be built using Hub technology. The commercial real-estate management of the site is especially useful in a fast-paced environment!

kentlands newspaper

“The KDWG was commissioned by the Kentlands board to provide accurate and timely information on the various development efforts going on with our downtown so residents can be better informed and take a more active role in improving our community. We chose the Downtown: Energize! platform developed by SymGEO with its innovative digital mapping because it helps do exactly that.”

– John Ingrassia, Chair, Kentlands Downtown Working Group

“A great commercial district is a huge amenity for our community. Downtown: Energize! is a great digital tool for helping the community achieve the vision for our commercial district. Not only will it help us engage the community to provide flexible two-way dialogue, but it will help us by mapping opportunities where businesses can expand and thrive. This innovative platform will allow us to easily update data, access data and provide data well beyond our community, which provides outreach to businesses looking to expand. Additionally, it is a fun way to empower consumers looking for a place to spend their precious free time to engage with this easy to use tool whether at home or mobile. Working with Kevin at SymGEO has been an amazing experience. He and his team are bringing tremendous innovations and ideas to our team at The One Mainstreet Initiative.”

– Neil Burka, Chair, One Main Street Initiative

“I was so excited when SymGEO came to us with this idea. As a local real estate agent and resident who is deeply engaged in the community, I understand on a personal level how important this spatial data is to get the community engaged and onboard with what’s happening. This platform will make it easy to access the data – especially for folks who, like me, are more visual.”

– Sheena Saydam, Realtor, Keller Williams Capital Properties, Member, Kentlands Downtown Working Group

“Downtown: Energize! as created by Kevin McMaster using the SymGEO platform, is an innovative digital tool that provides mapping of business locations to potential and existing customers in a format that is fun, easy to use, and flexible enough to accept updates and even track current events. It’s a win-win for our community by empowering residents to engage with our local businesses and to energize our downtown!”

– Ingrid L. Fraley, Local Business Owner – Design Services, Inc.

kentlands 3d

If you’d like to join the party with a Downtown: Energize! initiative, let us know as SymGEO is here to help!