Celebrate Innovation on GIS Day

November 16th is GIS Day and we’re celebrating more than a decade of delivering creative, innovative, and integrated client solutions using GIS. We’ve been using this powerful tool to benefit our clients and the environment on projects spanning a variety of markets and geographic locations from coast to coast. In recognition of GIS Day, we’re taking a moment to highlight the value this technology and our GIS team has contributed to our clients, the environment, and our teaming partners on several recent efforts.

For more information about ESA’s GIS services or any of the projects mentioned below, contact Bill Boynton at 415.896.5900 or Mike Leech at 206.789.9658. 

City of Mukilteo Stormwater Phase I-III | City of Mukilteo, Washington

With a robust geodatabase and stormwater system companion folio map, the City of Mukilteo meets NPDES permit requirements and proactively addresses stormwater quality issues and infrastructure.

Mukilteo Stormwater Graphic 1
Mukilteo Stormwater Graphic 2

ESA partnered with the City to develop a robust geodatabase and a companion map folio of the City’s stormwater system as a tool to help city staff with stormwater management and response, basin-scale planning, asset inventory and to comply with NPDES permit requirements. ESA’s hands-on training for City staff ensures efficient knowledge and application of the geodatabase, and provides the City with the tools necessary to update their stormwater infrastructure. ESA’s GIS team utilized City stormwater data to inform solutions to address significant stormwater quality challengs facing the City and the greater Puget Sound region.

GIS Applications

  • Geodatabase development
  • Trimble data integration
  • Geometric network


Vasco Wind Energy Project Environmental Impact Report | Martinez, CA

GIS was critical to understanding the potential impacts and land disturbances and to ensure regulatory compliance associated with replacing existing wind turbines along this 4,260-acre site in 2011. 

Vasco Wind View
Vasco Wind Wetlands
Vasco Wind Setback  

Repowering an aging wind farm, the Vasco Wind Energy Project will decommission 435 existing wind turbines along 4,260-acres, replacing them with up to 54 larger wind turbines. The turbine replacement will include extensive infrastructure upgrades and modifications to roads associated with an interconnected road system, underground electrical collector lines, and the rebuilding of an existing substation. Our GIS analysis proved critical to understanding how the project might disturb the landscape and potentially impact sensitive species, hydrology, and cultural resources. GIS was able to determine land disturbance associated with construction activities such as road construction, turbine pad grading, and existing turbine removal activities at a glance. A GIS viewshed analysis assisted with the aesthetic analysis by identifying which areas in the Los Vaqueros Watershed would be visually impacted by the construction of the project. 

GIS Applications

  • Hazard Assessment
  • Viewshed Analysis
  • Regulation Compliance


County-Level Shoreline Master Program Updates | Western Washington

By providing counties and their cities with interactive mapping tools and high quality cartographic products, jurisdictions in Western Washington have been able to make more informed planning decisions to achieve no net loss along their shorelines.

Eatonville SMP Flythrough

ESA is assisting several Western Washington counties with their comprehensive Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) Update. By coordinating the GIS analyses and mapping (including reach-scale assessment and some watershed characterizations) to support the inventory and characterization work at several spatial scales for this geographic area the counties were able to make informed decisions regarding issues spanning multiple jurisdictions. ESA’s GIS team developed web-based applications using ArcGIS Server (embedded in ESA Solutions sites) with more than 60 GIS data layers to support the project document review process by providing pertinent information at a range of scales and detail levels to assist each stakeholder group.

GIS Applications

  •    Spatial and Tabular Analysis
  •    Reach-scale Assessments
  •    Web-based mapping applications


California Coastal Erosion Response to Sea Level Rise | California

The mapping and analysis of geospatial and physical data along California’s coast created a systematic assessment to help state policy makers develop an understanding of the economic impacts and vulnerability of flooding and erosion to inform science-based adaptation strategies to climate change and sea level rise.

Cliff Hazard Zones

Collaborating with researchers at the Pacific Institute, Scripps, U.S. Geological Society, and the California Energy Commission, ESA PWA developed a total water level methodology for assessing future erosion hazards using GIS and scientific analysis. ESA PWA’s GIS team collected geospatial and physical data that was used to evaluate the geomorphic erosion responses of various backshore types by dividing the coast into 500m sections and estimating future erosion hazards based on the changes in total water level above various shoreline features. Applying another layer of detail, ESA PWA compiled and updated existing FEMA coastal flood elevations based on observed sea level rise and tidal datum changes. The final assessment and methodology was the first systematic vulnerability assessment of California’s Coast to sea level rise and is being used by state policy makers as they develop adaptation strategies for climate change and sea-level rise.

GIS Applications

  • Spatial and Tabular Analysis
  • LiDAR Processing
  • Reach-Scale Assessments


Managing Wildlife Hazards at Airports

Using GIS and traditional data gathering methods, ESA has developed efficient and reliable procedures and recommendations regarding reporting, wildlife logs, and deterrent activities to help airports manage wildlife hazards.

Relative Risk
Winter Relative Risk

ESA Airports has assisted airports throughout the U.S. manage wildlife hazards and perform Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA). ESA’s FAA Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist (per FAA AC 150/5200-36) and a GISCI-certified GIS professional perform wildlife observation/data collection for seasonal, local, and daily movement of wildlife on or near the airfield. They use observation data analysis (including comprehensive geospatial and geostatistical analysis), historical strike data analysis, documentation, coordination meetings, and then develop recommendations to reduce the potential risk of wildlife-aircraft strike occurrences. Our team has worked on a variety of geographic locations from airports adjacent to or within large bodies of water, such at the Pacific Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, or in biologically active areas such as the Pacific Flyway where listed species that pose a potential risk to aviation located in close proximity to the airport.

GIS Applications

  • Field Data Integration
  • Space-Time Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
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