Welcome to the first edition of the Planscape newsletter! The California Natural Resources Agency and the USDA Forest Service officially announced plans to build Planscape, with support from Google.org Fellows, at the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force Meeting in September. CNRA and USDA are collaborating to build Planscape, a new planning tool that brings together the best available science, to maximize landscape resilience and benefits and help regional planners assess, prioritize and plan landscape treatments.
Read on for more updates on product development for Planscape, what’s next, and how to get involved.
For questions, please reach out to email@example.com.
Overview of work to date
The Planscape Team, led by CNRA and USDA Forest Service, with support from Google.org Fellows, has made exciting progress translating extensive user research into a clear product vision, in partnership with experts and stakeholders across California. Here are the highlights:
User Research: The team completed a research study looking closely at the existing tools and data California resource managers are using to identify management needs and prioritize projects. The goal was to understand the pain points and communication around decision making, so Planscape can better support this process. Major opportunities for Planscape to address include:
Users need help using data to optimize treatments based on multiple landscape goals.
Users want to be able to model tradeoffs between different treatments to support communication and planning.
Users need a comprehensive view of current and planned projects.
Users need a tool that supports collaboration throughout the planning process and allows them to easily share finalized project proposals.
You can find the research report in the data portal, along with previous user research findings and the Design Sprint artifacts.
Product Announcement: The Team announced Planscape to an in-person audience of over 300 people at the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force on Sept. 27 in Grass Valley, CA.
CNRA and the USDA Forest Service demonstrated Planscape as part of a panel on forest resilience in the Sierra Nevada with the Task Force Interagency Science Team.
Read CNRA’s press release announcing Planscape.
Product Manager Mojia Shen demonstrated Planscape to the Task Force on Sept. 27.
Website: The Planscape Team launched a new website – Planscape.org – to share product development updates as the work takes place and provide a venue for interested parties and future users to contact the team. You can sign up to join the Planscape mailing list here, or follow Planscape on Twitter or LinkedIn.
A closer look at Planscape
What is Planscape?
Planscape is a new landscape resilience planning tool designed to bring the best available state and federal data and science together in a user friendly, accessible, web-based format.
Who is Planscape for?
Planscape is an open source tool and will be available and free to use for the public. Specifically, it’s being designed to help regional planners prioritize landscape treatments to mitigate fire risk, maximize ecological benefits, and help California’s landscapes adapt to climate change. For planners, this will include those identifying larger planning areas needing attention and planners focused on specific details, like treatment types and project boundaries.
What data and science will Planscape use?
Planscape will use the Regional Resource Kits (RRKs) as the foundational data input. RRKs include landscape metrics for all 10 Pillars of Resilience, as identified in the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. The RRK for the Sierra Nevada region is complete, and the RRKs for all other regions in California will roll out over the course of 2023 to enable use of Planscape.
Planscape will allow users to optimize projects according to their near- and long-term benefits across multiple metrics and pillars – from carbon sequestration, to wildfire risk reduction, to biodiversity conservation.
What will you be able to do with Planscape?
Planscape is focused on helping regional managers plan landscape treatments at scale and better understand the condition of the land they manage. The ability to visualize a variety of data sets across different geographies to understand landscape conditions, including recently treated areas, helps them hone in on the specific units that will benefit most from treatment.
Planners can also use the tool to understand the broader impact of a treatment on different environmental metrics – for example, how a treatment will impact carbon sequestration, endangered species habitat, or other co-benefits.
Finally, Planscape empowers users to compare proposed projects and choose the most impactful ones based on their needs, constraints or goals. Planscape is designed to enable cross-organizational collaboration for decision making across teams.
Below are two sample Planscape user interfaces (note: these are subject to change based on ongoing user testing and development).
Who is involved in building Planscape?
CNRA and the USDA Forest Service have created a core Steering Committee to guide the development of Planscape. This Steering Committee includes members from the CNRA, USDA Forest Service, UC Berkeley, and the California Department of Conservation. This group has been instrumental in defining the product vision and continues to lead the development of Planscape. Google.org Fellows are supporting the initial development of Planscape through the Google.org Fellowship Program.
How to get involved
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in:
Outcomes of the latest user research. Find all user research in the public data portal. As the team completes additional research, we will hold live read-outs to share findings and take questions. Please share your contact information here if you would like to be included on future invites.
In the next user research study. Research participation is critical to this project, so thank you in advance for your time! Over the next few months the team will be conducting usability studies – please submit your interest here if you’d like to participate and provide input.
Thank you for your interest and partnership,
The Planscape Team
Produced in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, which is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
As a reminder, you’re receiving this because you are a valued stakeholder in this work between CNRA and the USDA Forest Service. The goal of the newsletters is to provide relevant updates and highlights, product milestones, and ways to get involved. For any questions, or to opt in or out of this newsletter, please reach out to email@example.com.