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.
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.