My Work

Valley County Idaho Road Maintenance Dashboard

I helped the Valley County Road and Bridge department realize the value behind incorporating GIS into their workflow. GIS can streamline efforts, increase efficiency, contribute to community awareness, and provide the transparency needed to help build trust with the public. Valley County Road and Bridge Department uses advanced, GIS field technology for asset inventory and condition assessments, which allows updates to the Road and Bridge Maintenance Dashboard to occur in real-time. 

The dashboard, itself, uses a combination of ESRI’s new instant applications with embedded Operations Dashboards.

Assessor’s Parcel Map and Summary Report

The application uses a combination of ESRI’s Web AppBuilder Developer’s edition and VertiGIS’s Geocortex Reporting widget.

I completed a GIS needs assessment for the Valley County Assessor’s department, which consisted of interviews with Assessor Department staff and the community. The result was an Assessor’s Map and Parcel Summary viewer which receives almost 90,000 views per year. The application includes an interactive map, showing important reference information such as Parcel Boundaries, Subdivisions, Impact Areas, etc. and provides an in-depth PDF summary report for each property. This report is generated on-the-fly and includes ownership information, links to associated Subdivision and Assessor’s plats, sketches, valuation and sales history, improvement information, and images.

StoryMap Created for Fundraising

As a founding member of a newly-formed nonprofit, Payette Riverwalk Alliance, I was able to donate my StoryMap skills to create a simple, yet effective, website that was used to raise awareness, provide transparency to the community, and was the primary presentation material used for fundraising. This approach allowed the Board to tell a unified story, build connections, and have continuity of key information in one place. It also contributed to the successful conservation of a 44-acre riverfront property that can now be enjoyed by the public in perpetuity.

The StoryMap included an embedded Dashboard that tracked fundraising efforts in real-time, which received information from Survey123 forms submitted by the community.

Quantifying Connectivity of a Fragmented Landscape

This research used a combination of ArcMap 10.x, Conefor Sensinode, and GUIDOS to complete a Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis (MSPA).

Quantifying landscape-level connectivity provides a key indicator for biological connectivity and habitat corridors, which helps to inform biologists of the level of threat to a species of interest. It can also be used to help in adaptive resource management and streamlining the efficient use of resources, especially when resources are limited. This project and report included the identification of key habitat cores and habitat bridges in a Biological Life Zone in Costa Rica and was presented to the Director of La Selva Biological Research Station who gave consent on the continuation of the research.


What My clients Are Saying:

GeoSpatial Training Systems

“I recommend Kara Utter as a highly capable GIS consultant. Kara has worked with Geospatial Training Services for several years in a variety of independent consulting capacities including Story Maps application development, course content development, teaching, and marketing and sales. She has excellent GIS knowledge and skills using Esri products including Web App Builder, Story Maps, Experience Builder, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Desktop. Kara is highly self-motivated and works well independently with little supervision. She is highly flexible and exhibits excellent communication skills.”

2020 – Eric Pimpler, Owner, Geospatial Training Services


United States Forest Service

“Kara Utter developed a geo-referenced map for the Payette Interagency Dispatch Center’s Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD). The product that she produced was simply outstanding. The entire Dispatch Staff really enjoys using the map and appreciate the attention to detail she put in it. Kara was super easy to work with while making adjustments to the project. She was very timely on meeting deadlines and was always open to feedback. Her understanding of the Dispatch Office and how the Wildland Fire Organization functions was greatly beneficial for her in the development of the map. It was a pleasure working with Kara and we really appreciated her professionalism.”

2020 – Gary Murphy, Payette Dispatch Center Manager (retired)

United States Forest Service – Intermountain Region

Valley County, Idaho

“Kara is incredibly diligent and professional in her work, possessing an excellent mind that provided both research and analysis to both internal and external stakeholders. Every conversation internally or externally with customers reaffirmed the opinions I held and continue to hold. She was able to extend GIS tools and mindset to areas outside what I would have thought were traditional GIS products. Some of these tools I personally used daily allowed me to be more effective in my decision making.”

2021 – David Crawford, former Valley County IT Coordinator


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