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With the threat of global warming looming, software developers are using mapping technology in innovative ways to challenge our changing climate head-on.

Mapping firm Esri today announced the finalists for its Climate Resilience App Challenge 2014, which called on developers to build desktop, web, or mobile apps that help communities become more environmentally resilient and sustainable. All 51 projects used Esri’s ArcGIS platform, which enables the apps to create and manage geographic data, maps, and analytical models.

Here are the top 13 submissions as described by Esri, which will dole out $15,000 in cash prizes and software to three winners later this month.

Modeling Community Erosion from Climate Change

Based on modeling current and future soil erosion with high-resolution scientific data, the app allows users to locate sites that are vulnerable to erosion, predicts soil loss driven by climate change, and enables users to investigate erosion risks for future land covers.

Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis

With the Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis app, users are able identify the suitability of a location for solar panel installations by locating their home or current location and querying solar analysis data to identify viable locations.

EveryDrop LA

Encouraging water conservation, the EveryDrop LA app allows users to identify and report water waste directly, view instances of water waste around them, receive alerts to conserve when essential, educate themselves on water conservation, and engage the water community through social media.

Coastal Resilience 2.0

Providing tools to reduce ecological and socio-economic risks of coastal hazards, the Coastal Resilience 2.0 app enables users to assess risks and vulnerability to coastal hazards, including current and future storms as well as sea level rise scenarios; identify solutions to reduce risks across social-ecological systems; take action to help communities develop nature-base solutions; and measure effectiveness to ensure efforts are successful.

Flood Forecast

When users register their address, they receive push alerts notifying them when that address is in danger of flooding. The Flood Forecast app analyzes NOAA flood advisories, identifies specific properties affected by floods, consumes to provide accurate weather reports based on user’s location, and sends flood alerts via Twilio and location of nearest Disaster Assistance Center.

Save the Rain

With Save the Rain, users are able to make smarter choices and save water when it is available. The next time it rains, users can capture rain that lands on their homes and use it again for watering plants, trees and lawns, wash cars, and even flush toilets.

Global Forest Watch Commodities

The app provides three tools for businesses interested in good forest management: Suitability Mapper, which enables businesses to identify degraded areas best suited for commodity development as an alternative to clearing new forest areas; Forest Analyzer, which provides information on land cover and land use to monitor and evaluate change to forests on commodity concessions; and RSPO Support tool, which producers can complete for an analysis of forest change on certified areas and use analysis for the compensation procedure required by RSPO while also enabling commodity buyers to make informed sourcing decisions.

Community Resilience Inference Measurement

Measuring resilience to climate-related hazards in the county level for the United States, the app allows users to directly calculate the resilience index of places they choose and view the weights of the socioeconomic factors contributing to those scores. The app also provides factors that increase or decrease the resilience.

CommunityViz Web App

Providing users the ability to open new opportunities for education, citizen engagement, and policy change, the CommunityViz web app enables users to quickly share their analysis results, such as energy and greenhouse gas generation and possible energy futures, with their ArcGIS online organization, selected groups, or the general public.

Urban Heat Risk Explorer

Helping cities prepare for, respond to, and recover from extreme heat events, the Urban Heat Risk Explorer app provides people with a better understanding of heat risks in cities and communicates ways they can protect themselves during extreme heat events.


Uniting entities that create the data needed to provide rich visualizations and insights into commuter habits globally, Unity enables unlimited public and private networks within a region to create behavioral changes and eliminate traffic by allowing users to sync data to Esri ArcGIS for modal analysis. Users can also explore how each mode contributes to greenhouse emissions and climate change.

Culvert Inventory for Climate Resilience

Designed to meet the challenge of limited information on culverts throughout the transportation network, the app provides a user-friendly culvert inventory template, online video instructions, and citizen scientists to help transportation management agencies expand the knowledge of the culverts in their network.

Local Food Alternatives in Washington County

The Local Food Alternatives app provides information on the availability of local and seasonal produce from nearby farms, markets, and vendors to empower consumers to reduce their carbon footprint and support their local community.

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