Puget Sound Partnership Project Atlas
GIS-based Performance Accountability Application summarizes project funding and locations in an easy-to-use map interface
The Project Atlas user can select any combo of Vital Signs to view projects.
1 of 5
The Project Atlas user can select any combination of Vital Signs to view the projects associated with the desired selections.
Expertise
  • Implementation Services/Software Development
  • Market Solutions

Market
  • Water & Natural Resources

Location
  • Puget Sound region, Washington State

Overview

The Puget Sound Partnership is the Washington State agency charged with coordinating and monitoring the efforts of state and federal agencies, local governments, tribes, businesses and citizen groups to protect and restore Puget Sound. The Puget Sound waterway and its regional ecosystem are central to business and recreation in Washington state. However, more than a century of industrial use—compounded by population growth and development—has resulted in increased pollution that threatens the region’s economic vitality, human health and quality of life. 

The Partnership’s accountability mandate requires it to keep elected officials, agency leaders, stakeholders and the general public informed about where and how much progress is being made toward restoring the Sound. Although the Partnership had access to several years’ worth of project and financial data about several hundred projects from partner organizations, the agency had no easy way to consolidate, view or interpret that data to report progress.

To solve its challenge, the Partnership engaged GeoEngineers, with funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to develop the Project Atlas, a web-based GIS performance accountability application with a “dashboard” interface that displays specific project locations and details, progress toward completion and related project costs. It was an ambitious project with a tight, three-month timeline.

Approach

GeoEngineers’ Applied Technology team collaborated with the technical team at the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), which shares IT resources with the Partnership and is responsible for the project information presented in the Project Atlas.

The Partnership had previously identified a list of specific measures, called Vital Signs, to serve as indicators of Puget Sound's health. These indicators became the basis for organizing tracked data in the Project Atlas. The agency specified that users be able to filter geographic data points by Vital Signs and other non-geographic factors, and then summarize and display a filtered subset of data points on a map. In other words, as a user selected each new geographic area—such as a county, legislative district, etc.—the data points would have to be re-summarized.

This dynamic filtering requirement meant traditional methods—such as a simple query approach— would not be sufficient. The team used ArcGIS combined with other technologies to enable the Project Atlas to collect and process user selections, perform a complex query and display the required data in a map interface.

Innovation


Incorporating Esri© ArcGIS technology allowed GeoEngineers to use RCO’s project data in its native format, without having to do any data conversion—a big time saver on a project that would normally take four to five months. The team also avoided adding a new technology for the client’s IT staff to manage. And by making the data connections direct links, the team precluded future data maintenance issues.

Results

  • The Project Atlas application launched in February 2012 with 600 projects included. It successfully aggregates the large volume of project data and presents funding data in attractive map views.
  • With intuitive, easy-to-use filtering tools, the Project Atlas offers users in-depth views of state, federal and local projects funded throughout Puget Sound.
  • The enhanced Project Atlas released in the summer of 2012 enables interested stakeholders and the general public to delve more deeply into the data to monitor the performance status of initiatives to help recover Puget Sound.
  • The Project Atlas application is built to include future data sources, such as project data from the EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Image credits: Tiger fish, courtesy of David Jennings. Ferry image, Montztermash

Accolades


It’s all about accountability. We have an obligation to let folks know what we are collectively doing to restore the health of Puget Sound: showing what, where, by whom and the associated costs. And this tool helps us do just that, in an easy-to-understand way. Project Atlas and the work of the Partnership represent the transparency people expect from government.
David Jennings, Chief Information Officer Puget Sound Partnership