Maine Community Futures Mapping Application

Basic Mapper View
Client:   The Center for Community GIS

Maine is known for its rich forest resources and vibrant small communities. Pressures for land conversion and development created a need for Mainers to visualize alternative futures, based on a variety of scenarios. A team of researchers and policy analysts asked GreenInfo Network to design and build a map application that would give anyone access to information about future options for the state.

The Maine Futures Community Mapper (MFCM) is an easy-to-use tool for identifying the best balance of future land uses. The system is based on land use planning models developed by a large group of stakeholders and a research team from the University of Maine, supported by The Center for Community GIS . Though it is based on scientific research, the MFCM is a non-technical tool geared for anyone with an interest in conservation.

The application and its lead researcher were awarded the University of Maine's 2014 Presidential Research Impact Award.  Read an article about it here:  

The MFCM includes planning information for ecosystem protection, forest management, agriculture, and economic development for over 4.5 million acres in Maine, including many of Maine’s land trust service areas. By looking at all these land uses together, conservation-minded users can find areas best suited for conservation, management, agriculture, and development, and make better informed decisions based on best possible use.

Website users can select an area of interest (typically a town or township) and get back a report of land use suitabilities, as well as seeing the suitability visualized onto the map. They can then generate an attractive PDF report, including the same tables, charts, and maps.

Of technical interest are the raster analysis and PDF generation techniques. The selected area polygon is compared against the rasters using the agoodle Python library, resulting in pixel counts within the selected area. The whole set of predefined areas of interest is pre-calculated and cached into the database, so visitors don't need to wait for calculations to run; return times are typically under 2 seconds. PDFs are generated using the WKhtml suite of tools, allowing us to develop attractive PDF reports using HTML and CSS, much faster than using traditional PDF techniques.

Results: The project launched in May 2014 and has received active use since then, along with an award from the University of Maine.

Focus:   Conservation, Economic Development, Environment  

Services:  Interactive Solutions, GIS Services, Analysis, Data, Applications Development, Web Mapping 

Tags:   community, Maine, natural resources  

“ This innovative, award-winning research epitomizes the statewide mission of Maine’s flagship university, and its impact on the quality of life and place in the state. ”

—  Paul Ferguson, President, University of Maine

Project Years: 2013-2014

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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