Innovate Celebrates the International Day of Forests 2021

The UN announced the theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 as, “forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being,” and called for the protection and revival of forests to address climate change crises. Innovate reaffirms the value of every tree, measured in economic, environmental, physical, and emotional benefits. We believe that a GIS approach to visualizing forest information can empower local and national reforestation efforts by offering new perspectives and insights. Innovate has collaborated with partners to understand and visualize the state of forests and preserve our forests. Presented below are a few of project highlights.

Integrated Reporting of Wildland Fire Information (IRWIN) – Department of Interior (DOI)
While wildland fires are a natural part of ecosystems, we’ve seen an increase in wildfires due to the effects of climate change such as warmed temperatures, reduced snowpack, and longer dry seasons. Because of these changes, forests are more susceptible to severe wildfire, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Wildfire management is imperative to protecting and preserving our nation’s forests.

Innovate supports DOI IRWIN, a large-scale, cross-agency application that maintains data exchange operations between wildfire organizations and provides a comprehensive picture of national wildfire efforts. IRWIN interconnects systems so that new and updated information is automatically available to different interagency systems. This data is vital to situational awareness, fire danger modeling, incident mapping, and decision support to the wildfire community. We designed data workflows to optimize data architecture, developed data exchange tools to generate insights, and provided new tools for visualization. Innovate also created a dashboard with queries and reports. We were awarded Esri’s “Collaboration Partner” Federal Small Business Specialty Award 2020 for our application of GIS software and innovative solutions to help the US government run more efficiently and transparently.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Report on Environment (ROE)
Innovate developed and updated web-based geospatial visualization tools for EPA’s ROE. The ROE is a dynamic, interactive website that displays how the condition of the environment and human health in the US changes over time. The ROE uses 80+ indicators to track land, air, water, and ecological conditions, such as changes in forest biomass, and forest carbon storage. We integrated mapping layers to supplement existing indicators and information related to analytical methods for an indicator (regional boundaries, regional reference conditions, etc.) and developed tools to allow multiple metrics to be mapped together (e.g., sulfur dioxide emissions and acid deposition). The ROE allows user to interact with the environment and human health data in a visual way and adds geospatial perspectives to many of these indicators. The ROE especially emphasizes the vital role forests play in environmental and human health and its interconnectedness to other indicators. For example, acidification can injure and slow the growth of forests, which results in ecological changes, impacts greenhouse gas emissions, and bird populations.

Idaho Forest Group (IFG) – GIS Support
It is important that foresters engage in sustainable practices and restore forest health to reduce their impact on the environment. Innovate works with IFG to optimize their GIS systems and GIS data to support their sustainable practices. Our services include GIS enterprise deployment and maintenance, training, data analysis, data management, data acquisition, authoring map products, and publishing GIS layers. We supported the migration and integration of data from a paper-based system to a complete digital system supporting both desktop and mobile devices, which both reduced their paper consumption and provided a single, accessible data repository. Innovate developed a 3D map and other applications to assist timber acquisition planning and analysis.

We also created a solution for obtaining county-level parcel data and serving it in a seamless map layer. The Northwest Parcel map harvests and standardizes data received in various formats from over 30 counties located across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Our solution enhances the value of the data for land-use professionals across diverse disciplines, including forestry, utilities, planning, government, and others. This system can be easily expanded to accommodate additional parcel data and cost-share partners, and it can be customized for a client’s specific area of interest. The data are then post-processed with several natural resource layers and served alongside complementary layers such as soils, the National Hydrography Dataset, Public Land Survey System, and Aerial Imagery. By integrating and displaying their forestry GIS data in an easy-to-understand way, IFG can make data-driven decisions about forests and other natural resources.

Global Cooling Network
Innovate sponsors the Global Cooling Network, a 501(c)(3) organization. The Global Cooling Network’s mission is to preserve 1,000,000 acres of our nation’s forests in its natural, undeveloped state to counteract the effects of climate change and preserve forested land for animals and people to enjoy. While everyone may not have the means to reforest and preserve trees, the Global Cooling Network allows individuals to band together, as all donations go straight to preserving forested land. If you’re interested in donating to the Global Cooling Network and helping to preserve forests, you can visit www.globalcoolingnetwork.org.

If you’re wondering how a GIS approach to visualizing information can empower your organization’s efforts, you can contact Stacy Roux at bd@innovateteam.com or (703) 922-9090 ext. 749 to learn how Innovate can help.

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