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GIS/IT RIT Organic Resource Locator Tool

Innovate Customizes Web Application Builder within RIT’s ArcGIS Online Account
Executive Summary

The Organic Resource Locator (ORL) is a web-based mapping tool that provides information on organic waste resources and utilization pathways in New York State. The goal of the Organic Resource Locator is to enable efficient and increased utilization of organic resources by connecting producers of organics with those who have a use for them, diverting a valuable resource from our landfills. 

 

Innovate staff worked with designated staff at Rochester Institute of Technology to customize the Esri Web Application Builder web-based mapping tool.

The Subject

Founded in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology is a university that is world-renowned as an advocate and practitioner of sustainability. In 2007, the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) was established and is now a global leader in sustainability education and research. 

 

Led by the Golisano Institute of Sustainability (GIS), the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) gives Empire State businesses, communities, and nonprofits the practical tools and solutions they need to realize the benefits of sustainability for our economy, environment, and our society as a whole.

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The Challenge

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was interested in obtaining an Online Organic Resource Locator Tool similar to one made by Innovate for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). RIT staff liked the functionality of the EPA's Waste to BioGas application. However, they wanted an application that could use their data. In order to utilize a mapping application, RIT's data sources needed to be converted from MS Excel spreadsheets into a GIS database management system that could support web map services.  

 

The goal of the Organic Resource Locator is to enable efficient and increased utilization of organic resources by connecting producers of organics with those who have a use for them, diverting a valuable resource from our landfills.

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The Solution

Innovate staff worked with designated staff at Rochester Institute of Technology to determine the best way to configure map services for the web map. RIT staff published and maintained the required service on RIT’s ArcGIS Server. After testing these services with the requirements of the custom geoprocessing task, Innovate worked with RIT staff to configure and consolidate services in order to ensure proper geoprocessing performance level. This task also included time to work with RIT staff in tuning and configuring the services to adjust layer order, hierarchy, symbology, and visible fields.  

 

We built web maps using Esri’s Javascript API combined with the Web Application Builder solution. This web map application utilizes a combination of maps created at RIT’s ArcGIS Online account and map services published from RIT’s ArcGIS Server rest endpoint. We configured the web map to provide basic functionality for searching, toggling layer and legend visibility, identifying features via pop-ups, and exporting records to a csv file. We delivered this initial implementation on Innovate’s development server and allowed access to the server for testing and approval of the final product. We then worked with Rochester Institute of Technology’s designated staff to deploy and test the data and web maps on the production server.

The Results & Outcomes

To suit our client’s needs, we customized the Esri Web Application Builder with functionality beyond the out of the box solution. This included creating a custom geoprocessing service to provide searches using a specified distance radius. The geoprocessing service was a milestone-based deliverable as part of our services and included the full source code. In addition, staff modified the look and feel of the application based on user feedback after initial deployment (i.e., custom widgets).  

 

ORL is available on the NY Pollution Prevention website (www.rit.edu/affiliate/ nysp2i/organic-resource-locator-0), where it will be maintained and enhanced. Future developments include expanding the tool beyond the Finger Lakes Region to all of New York state. Additional waste utilization pathways are also planned that include incorporating data on anaerobic digestion at a waste-to-ethanol production plant, wastewater treatment plants, compost facilities, and other beneficial-use facilities. The hope is that ORL will be an invaluable tool to move from an era in which food waste is seen as a burden to an era in which food waste is a valuable, sustainable energy resource

Acknowledgements

​Innovate is an Esri Silver Business Partner and our CEO is one of only nine members of Esri’s National Government Partner Executive Workgroup. We help our clients maximize their technology investments and deliver solutions that impact health, environment, science, sustainability, community, education, and research to affect positive change. We support geographic information system (GIS) technology to improve our clients’ vision by organizing data, bringing clarity and better decision making. Our technical GIS expertise enables clients to better integrate diverse data systems to derive understanding, operationalize solutions, communicate valuable enables clients to better integrate diverse data systems to derive understanding, operationalize solutions, communicate valuable insights, and engage stakeholders and the public.