Groundwork GIS

As a conservation land trust focused on issues of environmental and economic justice, Groundwork Milwaukee’s work is inherently spatial.  This realization led to the founding of the Groundwork GIS program in 2017. Groundwork GIS aspires to leverage geographic information systems (GIS) to enhance existing Groundwork programming.  By providing technical training, tools for data collection and analysis, and production of thought provoking maps and web products, Groundwork GIS supports all other Groundwork Milwaukee programming, allowing us to understand our work from new perspectives. 

Climate Safe Neighborhoods

What does housing discrimination have to do with climate change? Over the past year, Groundwork Milwaukee has been providing technical support through its program, Groundwork GIS, to five Groundwork trusts aiming to answer this question. The project is called Climate Safe Neighborhoods and it aims to examine how the legacy of federally supported segregationist policy, like redlining, dictates which neighborhoods are most vulnerable to severe heat and flooding predicted to be caused by climate change. Follow the links below to view story maps outlining the data-informed process Groundwork Denver and Groundwork RVA are using to advocate for their neighborhoods.


In the spring of 2019, Groundwork GIS, Groundwork USA, Groundwork Elizabeth (NJ), and Groundwork Rhode Island collaborated with NASA Develop to design technical methods for evaluating heat and flood risk for Groundwork USA’s ongoing project with the Kresge Foundation called Climate Safe Neighborhoods. Here is a brief video outlining the products NASA Develop created for the Climate Safe Neighborhoods team. Groundwork GIS intends to recreate the methods developed by NASA for the three other trusts participating in the Climate Safe Neighborhoods project. Look for more on this project in the coming months.


Clink the below image to launch a story map of the Groundwork Milwaukee’s summer 2018 trip to Grand Teton National Park. Three of our Green Team members attended the trip. They worked to restore historical buildings in the park and enjoyed the unique physical landscape of both the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Click the image to launch the story map.

Click the image to launch the story map.

Milwaukee Grows raised bed inventory

Click the image to the right to open the Milwaukee Grows web map.  In the winter of 2018, an inventory of raised beds was conducted using aerial imagery.  The initial count of beds is 1,124. A more thorough inventory will be ongoing throughout the 2018 growing season. The map contains points and polygons for each garden, points for each garden bed and proportional symbols for the number of beds per garden.  Click around to get an idea of the broad impact of the Milwaukee Grows Network!




Groundwork GIS, in collaboration with the office of Wisconsin State Senator, Lena Taylor, has created a web map of existing orchards in Milwaukee County.  This map was created by Groundwork as a service to our neighbors and collaborators in the Greater Milwaukee Area.  Explore the map here, or by clicking the image to the right.





Riverwest garden school Imagery

Check out this imagery of the Riverwest Garden School on Clarke St. in Riverwest.  These images were collected and uploaded by our UWM GIS interns.  Our goal is to establish a standardized process for future imagery collection.  We'd like to have this type of tour for all of our gardens for the sake of sharing garden experiences with the broader Milwaukee community.  See you again when you're in bloom, Peace Garden.

Program Areas

GIS is a broadly applicable tool.  As a result, Groundwork GIS operates and supports a wide array of program areas that aim to improve the data that drives decision making at Groundwork and beyond.  Importantly, a major emphasis of Groundwork GIS is to engage the communities we work in through the implementation of community informed asset mapping and crowdsourcing applications.


Green Team Education


Groundwork GIS provides technical training to our Green Team & Ground Corps members.  The goal is to develop basic data collection, management and cartographic skills while also considering important geographic questions like "Where does our food come from?", "Why are there so many vacant lots in Milwaukee?", "Why do health disparities exist between different neighborhoods?".  The Green Team has been central to the Brew City Match property survey and will begin to collect detailed garden data, including Mapillary imagery in the Spring of 2018.  Click here to take a walking tour of Mitchell Park with our 2018 Green Team.


Brew City Match Property Survey


Groundwork Milwaukee has partnered with LISC Milwaukee to contribute up-to-date commercial property surveys for 8 BIDs in the city.  The Brew City Match is a project focused on stimulating economic activity through proactively placing small business owners and entrepreneurs in vacant commercial and industrial properties throughout the city.  The first step is collecting accurate property data.  Throughout the winter of 2017-18 our Green Team members have excelled at collecting this data and will continue into the spring and summer of 2018.


Groundwork USA Network Support

When Groundwork Milwaukee founded its GIS program in 2017, one of the primary goals was to provide technical support to the larger Groundwork Network.  There are 23 trusts throughout the country, all of which undertake various forms of spatially regenerative work.  Groundwork GIS aims to put the entire Network on the map.  Check out Groundwork USA here, or explore our Network map by clicking the below image.  If you're from a Groundwork Trust and are interested in our services check out this web portal to explore GIS possibilities.



Milwaukee Community Health Map


The Milwaukee Community Health Map  is an initiative to better understand health disparities in Milwaukee.  The hope is that better understanding the health landscape of Milwaukee will bring together organizations providing health resources and those most acutely challenged by health issues together.  The app will be available to view here sometime in 2018.