Vista Training and Support

NatureServe Vista is designed to address broad and complex processes, and is, therefore, an extensive tool with many functions. We know getting started can be daunting and we are dedicated to providing full support to Vista users to ensure you can get up and running quickly.

NatureServe partners exclusively with PlanIt Forward to provide training, support, and consulting services for Vista. PlanIt Forward is led by Dr. Patrick Crist who was the program lead for NatureServe Vista from its inception and has applied it to numerous projects for many sectors around the world since 2004.

View Vista User Manual

Technical Support Services

This service addresses problems and questions in the technical application of the tool.

Services cover:

  • Installation assistance
  • Help debugging errors and generating work-around solutions
  • Clarification of input requirements and Vista functions

This service will be provided via:

  • Email support with Vista support staff
  • Telephone support for items not resolved by email
  • Web meeting support when live visual interaction is required (user must be able to connect to web meeting services used by NatureServe and may need to provide control of your computer)

Limitations and exclusions will apply


Includes a complete training program for Vista with a variety of options to suit your needs and budget. We offer standard or custom interactive web-delivered packages or custom onsite training for users anywhere in the world. Our “on-demand” online service means that you can get the training at the point in the process you are ready to apply it—meaning more effective training for you by building your project while you are training. However, we understand that every situation is unique so we are happy to customize trainings to suit your needs.

Standard Training

Our standard training program offers individually priced packages for all of the essential Vista functions, provided as live, interactive, web-based sessions. These allow you to follow the trainers instruction and the trainer can see your desktop to assist you as you practice functions in real time. The on-demand feature means that you can get training when you need it and can build your project as you progress.

Training services will be provided via:

  • PDF and or PPT guides emailed to the user(s)
  • Live, interactive, web-based instruction (user must be able to connect to web-meeting services used by NatureServe and may need to provide control of their computer; broadband Internet required).
  • These sessions are “on demand,” meaning that they will be delivered at that point in the process at which the user is ready to apply that Vista functionality. They can typically be scheduled with one-week notice depending on trainer availability.

Custom & Onsite Training

We offer custom training tailored to your particular needs. We can also perform onsite training (on a limited basis) for individuals or groups anywhere in the world.

This service requires reimbursement of all trainer travel costs and requires at least 30 days advance notice.

Training & Support Opportunity Descriptions

Below you can find the training and support packages available, including the fees associated with each package. All fees are per “active” participant. Other individuals within the same organization may log in and listen but may not interact unless provided in a custom package. Participants may use either a NatureServe-provided sample dataset or build and use their own project dataset through the training program.

Reminder: PlanIt Forward is also able to create customized training packages.




Starter Package Basic package of 4 training modules (Vista Overview, How to Start Your Project, Element Input, & Scenario Definition and Evaluation)
plus 4 hours of technical support
4 sessions (7.5 hours) 
+ 4 hrs technical support
Vista Overview / How to Start Your Project (Organizational)

Provides an overview of the Vista software and covers the science and planning concepts supported by Vista, the type of project structure (e.g., work groups) recommended to develop the project inputs, and concepts for maintaining a dynamic database and adaptive planning process

1 session - 
90 minutes
How to Start Your Project (Technical) Provides a complete overview of the Vista software and covers the basic technical GIS and database tasks of setting up and starting your Vista project. Includes troubleshooting for common problems, mistakes, and workarounds for functionality gaps 1 session - 
90 minutes
Element Input and Processing & CVS Reviews types of elements supported in Vista, the basic element data model and inpur requirements, the companion expert knowledge-gathering tool and process, information input process and documentation, processing an element conservation layer, element reports, running a multi-element conservation value summary, reporting, and exploring sites in a value summary 1 session -
2 hours
Condition Modeling & Condition-Based Assessments Covers the concepts of condition modeling, data inputs for condition models, building and running condition models, and how to do condition-based evaluation (Element Input & Scenario Definition and Evaluation training or experience required) 1 session - 
90 minutes
Scenario Definition and Evaluation Covers concepts of scenarios and evaluations, types of scenarios and inputs, building scenarios from scratch and from existing scenarios, evaluating scenarios, generating and interpreting reports and maps 2 sessions - 
2.5 hours
Site Exploration, Mitigation, and Alternative Scenario Generation Covers exploration of scenario evaluations by sites, running site reports, specifying alternative land uses and policy types for sites, creating mitigations and alternative scenarios using Site Explorer. (Scenario Definition and Evaluation training/experience required.)  1 session -
90 minutes

Please inquire with PlanIt Forward for costs per package. PlanIt Forward charges on a sliding scale depending on type of organization (academic, non-profit, government, industry).