A Little Bit of Background

The USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program is the most historic, long-term, authoritative monitoring of Forest conditions across all lands in the United States. In recent years, FIA has leveraged ESRI to leverage state-of-the art geospatial technologies to store, process, analyze and publish FIA monitoring information and data products. 

Today, the Big Data Mapping & Analytics Platform (BIGMAP) is a secure computing environment hosted in the cloud that facilitates more efficient, innovative, and dynamic workflows analyzing geospatial data to produce relevant map products published to inform management, stakeholders, and the public on Forest health. BIGMAP now represents a deep data pool allowing commercial off-the-shelf geospatial software to quickly harvest relevant information to inform Forest management decisions. By developing and sharing innovative new analytical results through the Forest Service WebGIS library, Forest managers can improve collaboration and better justify agency decisions based on mapping and data from FIA. 

But What is the FIA Program?

The FIA program leverages ESRI for state-of-the art geospatial technologies to store, process, analyze and publish FIA monitoring information and data products. Today, the Big Data Mapping & Analytics Platform (BIGMAP) is a secure computing environment hosted in the cloud that facilitates more efficient, innovative, and dynamic workflows analyzing geospatial data to produce relevant map products published to inform management, stakeholders, and the public on Forest health. 

The Forest Service seeks to visualize (using ESRI and Tableau) the volume of timber moving between source National Forests and destination markets across the country and internationally. The FIA-BIGMAP program requires a web-based, easily accessible catalog of existing geospatial corporate data. Also, the agency needs to refine, enhance and document an ArcGIS Pro Toolbox, Small Area Estimation (SAE). That way, more diverse users can run the tool as part of their own analysis. The project will translate similar functions, visualizations, and dashboards, initially developed using ESRI products, to Tableau.

Identifying Useful Information

Problem

The challenge remains to identify not only the most useful information to share with stakeholders. Also, to identify the most effective and intuitive methods to render complex analytical maps. We understand the Forest Service seeks to visualize (using ESRI and Tableau) the volume of timber moving between source National Forests and destination markets across the country and internationally. 

The FIA-BIGMAP program requires a web-based, easily accessible catalog of existing geospatial corporate data. The agency needs to refine, enhance and document an ArcGIS Pro Toolbox, Small Area Estimation (SAE). That way, more diverse users can run the tool as part of their own analysis. Also, these dashboard visualizations of woodflow, the thoughtful development of an intuitive visual data catalog, and technical enhancements to the SAE Toolbox, represent a strategic step toward a more dynamic, intuitive, and helpful role for FIA-BIGMAP data products. We understand the utility and ubiquity of Tableau dashboards among Forest Service users. Also, we are prepared to translate similar functions, visualizations, and dashboards. All of which were initially developed using ESRI products, to Tableau.

Solution

The Xentity team used sequential project management methodology for woodflow online Esri visualization. Xentity and FIA BIGMAP teams reviewed and discussed examples of web-based mapping applications. Particularly, applications that have elements the FIA BIGMAP team likes and feels are appropriate for the visualization tool.

Xentity used the same methodology for Smart Mapping Viewer Starting with requirements confirmation for the Smart Mapping Viewer. Also, Xentity met with the FIA BIGMAP team to discuss requirements and desired features of the web-based visual catalog. Furthermore, Xentity took part in Small Area estimations. This required reviewing current capabilities, application issues, desired enhancements, and performance requirements for the SAE tool. Finally, Xentity worked with woodflow tableau visualization. Also, Xentity worked to develop initial design concepts for the reports. They supported two rounds of design revisions, with the second round being the final design for the reports. Xentity then created the reports using our own Tableau Creator license. Here, we made the needed workbooks, dashboards, and stories.

Improved Data Visualization

Xentity’s efforts helped the FIA program in visualizing the data of timber volume movement. This allowed a more refined, and enhanced program that allows users to better understand existing geospatial corporate data. To learn more about the program, check out the links below.

FIS BigMap Story Map – https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/c710684b98f54452804e8960d37905b2

The Forest Inventory & Analysis Geospatial Data Showcase – https://fia-usfs.hub.arcgis.com/