Development Threats in the Napa Valley

Potential Development Map
This map shows the possible parcels that could be developed with residential structures, including new wineries.
Client:   Jack L. Davies Napa Valley Agricultural Land Preservation Fund

The world famous Napa Valley runs through the county of Napa in the northern Bay Area. A long history of citizen action has created many protections for both the valley floor lands and the surrounding watersheds. But challenges still remain and the Napa landscape is vulnerable to excessive development, given the area's popularity. The Davies Fund supports efforts to protect Napa's natural resources and asked GreenInfo to help develop maps illustrating key issues, for use in public presentations.

This project began as a basic mapping task, but quickly evolved into a project that engaged the Davies Fund in learning more about the County and its development issues.  The overall goal was to create maps of the county landscape that could give audiences at presentations an "aha!" moment - comparing what is to what could be, and supporting questions and dialog about best futures.

The early work on this modest-budget project revealed that matching available GIS data from Napa County to the issues seen by the Fund was going to be more complicated than expected. GreenInfo staff worked with the Fund's directors and staff and explore what could be shown, and to see how that affected their understanding of Napa's situation.  Ultimately, many different working maps were created by GreenInfo, so that the Fund could visualize their choices, including maps of: We then developed different approaches to visualizing this data - using graduated themes, points, etc., plus many different color combinations to achieve legibility.

Finally, we created a "look and feel" for the Fund's maps, using its logo colors and and designing the map frame to account for the unique "extrusion" of the county at the far north end.  This required a special approach to ArcGIS mapping that allows the map to overlay the title banner (not straight-forward in GIS!).

The final maps were pared down to two, though others are also available to the Fund - current development footprint (of buildings) and potential development, represented as points based on zoning criteria, placed in each parcel.  The maps are designed to be viewed at poster size - 36" x 48" - all cartography is focused on the viewer's experience first seeing these at 3 to 5 feet, and then moving closer up for details.  In addition to the maps, we also prepared summary statistics about each view, defining in acres the various categories of development.


Focus:   Conservation  

Services:  GIS Services, Communications, Strategy, Maps 

Tags:   Esri ArcGIS, Napa County  

Project Years: 2015-2016

GreenInfo Network creates, analyzes, visualizes and communicates information in the public interest. We specialize in mapping and related technology for nonprofits and public agencies, focusing on using it for conservation, social equity, public health, environment and foundation grant making.
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