The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) is responsible for managing many facets of the City’s major construction projects, land use planning, and economic development. A core mission of BRA is to manage the review process of City redevelopment projects.
Initially BRA developed an Access database to allow staff members to collect, manage, and review specific land re-development data. Over time, redevelopment related data became spread across several versions of this database and other databases managed by the BRA. This made it difficult for BRA staff to integrate the data necessary to complete a formal redevelopment project review as defined by the City’s zoning code. BRA staff recognized that these disparate data sources can only be linked using geographic location, making a GIS a necessary part of the solution
Farallon was asked to develop an improved method for managing the BRA redevelopment related data, as well as a greatly simplified means for project managers and developers to access and visualize the information.
Farallon recognized that the primary success metrics for BRA staff were fast and simple access to maps, City GIS data, and project specific redevelopment information. To achieve this integration and simplicity, Farallon first replaced BRA’s original Access database with a web-based GIS application integrated with a new SQL database. This approach allows BRA staff to enter redevelopment project data into an enterprise database, making it available to all City staff with appropriate access privileges.
Farallon then developed a web application that integrates BRA’s new SQL database with additional BRA and enterprise databases using GIS. Microsoft’s Virtual Earth web mapping platform is used as the foundation of the BRA’s Redevelopment Project Tracking portal. Geospatial analysis, such as the proximity of a project to City infrastructure, is accomplished using the BRA’s ArcSDE/SQL Server and ArcGIS Server 9.2 technologies. Farallon developed web services (using .NET and ArcGIS technology) to dynamically overlay these GIS results onto Virtual Earth.
The result is that now the City of Boston has access to development data and the capability to map 3D models in a real world environment, resulting in a greatly enhanced ability for the City’s personnel to efficiently manage the review process of City redevelopment projects.
Screenshots & Videos
GIS project data are dynamically queried from the geodatabase and displayed on the map as pushpins, vectors and imagery. By hovering over a pushpin, a user can immediately see GIS information about the site and request several additional actions, including generating a more detailed site report
Simply by clicking on the ‘Birds Eye’ view button (outlined in grey on the map navigation pane located in the northwest corner of the image), a user can display Pictometry oblique aerial photography. Note: For close-up analysis, Farallon replaced the standard Virtual Earth image tiles, with City of Boston hi-resolution aerial photography images. As a user zoomed in to a more local scale, the tiles seemlessly switch from VE to Boston GIS image data, all still within the interface and functionality of Virtual Earth.
Example of a web mapping application developed by Farallon Geographics for the City of Boston Redevelopment Authority that fuses city enterprise GIS data with the intuitive map navigation tools offered by the Virtual Earth API. This figure shows the Virtual Earth streets and land use basemap overlaid with City of Boston parcels and building outlines retrieved from an ArcSDE/SQL Server geodatabase using ArcGIS Server.