2018: A review (What we did, what we learned, where we're headed)
December 17, 2018
(edited on January 2, 2019)

As we approach the New Year, we'd like to use this opportunity to review this past year. Like in any organization, this year had its up and downs. Some projects launched while others were closed or sunset. Looking back, there are a few milestones we'd like to call out.
  • The Holodome preview experience launched in May at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). Since launch, 30,000 customers have experienced advanced immersive reality without headsets, allowing them to interact socially in the environment. (Stay tuned in 2019 for news about an exciting special engagement for Holodome, as well as General Availability.)
  • The Skylight platform assisted a patrol vessel in West Africa, recently, to interdict an illegal shark finning operation.
  • EarthRanger went into General Availability in July, providing location intelligence for protected areas (like national parks and wildlife reserves) in Africa – by the end of the year, it will be assisting 3500 rangers across 21 parks covering 62,000 km2 of protected lands!
  • In September, the Vulcan Machine Learning Center for Impact was announced, moving forward with using machine learning for good, to create a larger impact.
  • Allen Coral Atlas launched an MVP in October, mapping benthic and geomorphic layers across five coral regions around the world. The Allen Coral Atlas is being used by scientists to inform decisions for MPA Design, sediment runoff capture and selection of coral restoration locations. Stay tuned for exciting updates in Q1 and Q2 of 2019!
  • The Great Elephant Census Forest Initiative, a partnership between Vulcan, Wildlife Conservation Society and Gabon’s ANPN, surveyed landscapes in Gabon, Congo and DRC.  To test conventional versus novel monitoring methods for the first time, teams walked over 5000+ km of transects, collected 1000+ dung samples and 16,000+ camera trap videos for individual id.
  • Completing its 2nd year of the 3-year Smart City Challenge program, the Smart Columbus team is transforming the region by setting a new trajectory for greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. In this past year, EV sales in Columbus have leap-frogged the Midwest, increasing by 85%!
  • The FinDNA toolkit project has developed genetic protocols for 9 of the 12 CITES-listed shark species. Trainings were conducted in Hong Kong, Peru, Taiwan and more are expected to come in 2019.
These highlights and achievements wouldn’t be possible without a strong internal shared services team. There are a number of improvements made to developer productivity and operational excellence, internally, such as:
  • Launch of the Vulcan Cloud Platform
  • Growth in adoption from a single customer to serving all of the Impact team
  • Support for multi-tenant clusters, bringing in our cloud footprint and easing overhead
Looking forward to 2019, stay tuned to hear more about the improvements we’re making.
 
Outside of the team and in the world of #Tech4Good there were a number of stories, events, and advances in technology that inspired us and fueled us in the last year. Here’s just a few: 2018 has been and exciting one, with growth, learnings, and changes. But, obviously, no 2018 review could be complete without taking into account our founder, Paul Allen. While we are still saddened by the passing of Paul Allen, we are committed more than ever to see his vision of using technology for good come to life.

We’ve made progress towards Paul’s vision, but there’s so much still to do. Using that inspiration to fuel the flame, we’re looking forward to continuing in 2019. We’ll be taking a couple weeks off from posting, but stay tuned to learn more in 2019 about what we’re doing to carry on Paul’s vision and make an impact in the world.
About the Author
Impact Engineering
Team
The Impact Engineering team strives to build solutions for some of the world's hardest problems. We take an unconventional approach, combining technology, data, smart policy, partnerships, and powerful storytelling to drive positive change in our community and around the world.

Category Tags
Coral Conservation
Developer Experience
Digital Mapping
Ideation
Machine Learning
ML4Good
Ocean Health
OnlyAtVulcan
Remote Sensing
Tech4Good
Wildlife Conservation
About the Author
Impact Engineering
Team
The Impact Engineering team strives to build solutions for some of the world's hardest problems. We take an unconventional approach, combining technology, data, smart policy, partnerships, and powerful storytelling to drive positive change in our community and around the world.

Category Tags
Coral Conservation
Developer Experience
Digital Mapping
Ideation
Machine Learning
ML4Good
Ocean Health
OnlyAtVulcan
Remote Sensing
Tech4Good
Wildlife Conservation
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