Ecotrust is a conservation organization committed to strengthening communities and the environment from Alaska to California.

Building on the local and scientific knowledge of the Pacific Rim Bio-Region, Ecotrust is attempting to increase ecological awareness through the use of GIS and spatially enabled technologies. Recognizing the value of open solutions to both environmental and software issues, Ecotrust has embraced PostGIS as an integral component of its work. PostGIS is being used in no less than 6 projects currently under development. These projects span issues from fisheries and forestry management to tribal information systems and agricultural food delivery systems.

Most web-based decision support tools being developed at Ecotrust utilize a software stack consisting of Apache, PHP, PHP-Mapscript, and PostGIS. It is through the great analysis powers of PostGIS that real-time decision support in a diverse arena of disciplines has become available. Off the coast of California, Ecotrust is making use of PostGIS to store and aggregate field-collected spatial data related to commercial fishing effort. Through the use of the geometry processing and relationship functions provided by PostGIS, complex analysis that once required a GIS analyst and desktop software is now being done efficiently over the web through on-line DSTs.

At the Shoalwater tribal center on Willipa Bay in Washington, a new data management system is being developed to house all of the tribe's environmental water quality data. Since PostGIS sits on the powerful PostgreSQL database, multiple functions are available for manipulating data that had only been available on paper copy in filing cabinets. The relational database capabilities of PostgreSQL allow for the integration of the tribes data into the Environmental Protection Agency's data exchange, and the PostGIS simple features allow for the creation of web-based tools for examining and analyzing both temporal and spatial trends in environmental quality data. The use of open source tools has allowed the tribe to not only utilize an open and stable platform, but also create an architecture that will help other tribes develop similar systems in their geographies.

For more information:

Aaron Racicot
Portland, Oregon

Published February 2007

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