FOUR Earth Shattering Apps that Make our World Better

Chris Gerecke By: Chris Gerecke

Every year for Earth Day, we highlight recent apps developed for our clients that help protect, sustain, and preserve our natural resources, communities, and surrounding environment. Of course, this year is no different!  At Timmons Group, the sustainability of our earth and the protection of our landscapes are very important to us.  From forestry to fish and wildlife, we strive to create solutions that enable our clients, the public, and our partners to focus on fulfilling their mission and objectives via technology.  We work closely with our natural resource clients to understand their vision and achieve it by creating apps that fulfill their mission through engaging user experiences.  Below, we’ve highlighted a few apps that enable our clients to meet each of their unique missions. Check them out below!

Citizen Science Portal for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

With limited resources, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) major challenge is to keep up with the tracking and data collection involved in wildlife surveys. The MDIFW Citizen Science Program was designed to recruit interested citizens who are skilled at identifying species of wildlife to participate in wildlife monitoring programs.  This engages the citizens, generates interest in the outdoors and wildlife, and assists the State with wildlife reporting. The Citizen Science Portal leverages ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise to power the robust mapping features within the app and to provide MDIFW easy access to the geospatial data via ArcGIS Online and custom ArcPy reporting geoprocessing tasks. We’ve coined this as the best new citizen engagement tool everyone should know about! Some huge benefits of this program are the encouragement of citizen scientists to interact with natural resource agencies, the useful species data that’s readily available for monitoring and conservation efforts, and the fact that it gets people outside enjoying wildlife.

IFRIS Easements Tracking Application for Virginia Department of Forestry

A conservation easement excludes certain activities on private land, such as commercial development or residential subdivisions. Its main goal is to conserve natural or man-made resources on the land. The easement is usually described in terms of the resource it is designed to protect, such as agricultural, forest, historic, or open space easements.  The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) manages a large and comprehensive system called the Integrated Forestry Resource Information System (IFRIS).  IFRIS manages much of the internal operations for the agency but did not include the capability to manage the requirements for Forest Certification Tracking nor did it manage VDOF-managed Easement Tracking. Timmons Group worked with VDOF to develop the Forest Certification Tracking and Easement Management modules inside of IFRIS. IFRIS leverages Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise for advanced mapping, geo-processing, and map / feature services.  How does this help our Earth? It allows VDOF to easily manage, protect, and enhance conservation easements across the State so that we and future generations can enjoy our natural resources!

FireConnect for Texas A&M Forest Service

Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) and Timmons Group have teamed up to develop FireConnect, a portal with two-fold benefits.  It connects citizens with local fire departments and local fire departments with tools and information at their fingertips.  Citizens can learn about emergency responders in their area, including station locations, staffing and contact information.  Fire departments use FireConnect to manage their profiles and report their suppression response activity on wildland fire incidents. FireConnect utilizes the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to help fire departments manage and visualize current and historical wildfire incidents. Ultimately FireConnect allows TFS to help sustain an efficient and effective network of emergency responders that work ferociously every day to protect the lives and lands of the Lone Star State. We believe that the protection of the first responders that protect us and our lands/natural resources is just as important as protecting the Earth itself.

Community Assessor for the South – Southern Group of State Foresters

Communities will become more ‘fire adaptive’ when they learn about their vulnerabilities and take action to mitigate their risk from wildfires.  The Southern Group of State Foresters and Timmons Group are collaborating to develop the Community Assessor application, a new module in SouthWRAP that empowers 13 southern state forestry agencies and their partners to do mobile field assessments of communities located in the Wildland Urban Interface.  Once assessed, hazard mitigation strategies are delivered to communities, who are pursuing Firewise recognition and/or are included in the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans.  The information produced through Community Assessor also allow states to identify and prioritize where to focus hazardous fuels mitigation work across the landscape. The Community Assessor for the South consists of a web application (utilizing the ArcGIS API for JavaScript for community mapping) and two native mobile applications with offline mapping capabilities (utilizing the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for iOS and the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Android). This tool helps our Earth by educating and interacting with southern homeowners, HOA’s, and local fire departments on the wildfire risk to their communities. The more ways and tools that we can develop and use to educate, the more we increase conservation efforts for our Earth.