Design and Development

Global view with kelp in gold
Client:   The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy's California chapter frequently turns to GreenInfo Network when they need support for user research, design, geospatial analysis, and web development beyond what their small internal team can provide. Working with academic and government partners, TNC staff had designed, built, and launched as an MVP demonstrating how earth observation data can be made actionable in California. They came to GreenInfo and we recruited help from our partners at Development Seed to grow the site into the world’s largest dynamic map of canopy-forming kelps.

In 2022, Development Seed led the way in rebuilding the data pipeline and backend processes to improve efficiency and make the process of quarterly data updates as quick and seamless as possible. Then DevSeed and Greeninfo worked together to build a new file upload service and user interface to allow users to upload shapefiles, KMLs, or GeoJSON for repeatable and larger area reporting than had been possible with the site's existing simple drawing tools.

Next, with the backend data processing and upload features deployed, we embarked on parallel work to add more regions beyond the West Coast of North America while also undertaking design research and user engagement to guide future feature development based on a clear sense of user needs and what similar tools in other domains offer.

In June 2023, TNC's Kelp Mapping and Monitoring team and partners released new version of that included two new geographies: the Falkland Islands and Southeast Alaska. The new release of represents the first time that kelp canopy has been dynamically mapped and visualized on a regional scale in the Southern Hemisphere and made available publicly.

In March 2023, the Kelpwatch team’s Flagship paper demonstrating the types of analyses that can be completed only using the tool was published in PLOSONE. The high-impact findings of the paper were covered by the San Francisco Chronical and Vox , launching the tool into public discourse.  At the same time, we conducted a systematic comparative analysis of similar applications and a survey of users to chart the course for future feature development.

In the second half of 2023 and beyond, we will add new regions to the tool, especially in South America, and develop new features to make the application ever more useful to kelp researchers and advocates.

Focus:   Conservation, Environment  

Services:  Interactive Solutions, Applications Development, Web Mapping, Website Design, Design Research 

Project Years: 2022-2023

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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