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NatureServe Vista
A Powerful Scenario-Based Assessment and Planning Tool

NatureServe announces the release of NatureServe Vista™ 3.6.1

  • Compatible with ArcGIS 10.6
  • Improvements to Site Explorer selection functionality
  • Several bug fixes

NatureServe is planning a final ArcMap extension release of Vista compatible with ArcGIS 10.7 in the September/October 2019 timeframe. NatureServe is now partnering with Dr. Patrick Crist of PlanIt Forward LLC to provide training, support, and consulting services for Vista. Visit this page to learn more.


Project assessment and planning have become increasingly complex, with the need to accommodate multiple objectives and to integrate climate change considerations. Advanced decision support tools are needed to automate complex GIS processes, keep track of your work, and deliver defensible, repeatable maps and reports. Implementing plans in a dynamic world also requires tools that are easy to update with new information, can reanalyze new situations, and help you find best options to meet your goals.


Exploring results of scenario evaluation using Vista's Explorer functionNatureServe Vista® is an extension to ArcGIS that supports complex assessment and planning in any environment, anywhere that has data sufficient for your planning needs. The tool helps managers and planners assess impacts on a variety of natural, cultural, and development objectives, and create options for sites, and entire landscapes and seascapes.

Vista supports decision-making by providing quantitative reports and maps, and allows testing of “what-if” situations on the fly. The tool combines data, expert knowledge, and stakeholder values to support development of well-documented and defensible solutions. Vista supports ongoing, routine, plan implementation, and adaptive management. Vista is an ideal tool for implementing the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Vista also works well with a variety of other tools to integrate other functions, such as solution optimization, ecosystem services valuation, and sector-specific suitability analysis and planning.


NatureServe Vista saves you time and money by automating hundreds of complex GIS functions in a clear but flexible work flow. Its rich documentation capability helps you build defensible alternatives based on local expert knowledge and stakeholder values. It also helps you become a better steward of our planet.

"I really like the software. I think it’s a great way to organize a great deal of data and very easy to build a planning project, which can be used and updated by diverse stakeholders. Although documenting of decisions along the process can be a time-consuming process, it really helps to make sure are all transparent and justified and/or supported.  - Vista Survey Respondent


Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) developed and adopted both a long range transportation plan and an integrated regional mitigation plan to guide future development, while reducing impacts to the environment.

NatureServe Vista was used to analyze the ecological impacts of various transportation and development scenarios. The tool provided outputs to identify priority areas for conservation and mitigation in the region. The results led to the development of land-use scenarios and ultimately, PPACG's preferred development plan.

Comparison of PPACG scenario evaluations in Vista

Features & Benefits
  • Conducts cumulative effects assessment over planning regions and individual sites to support planning and environmental impact statements for example.
  • Supports many planning types, including land-use and marine planning (marine protected area and marine spatial planning), natural resource management, infrastructure and transportation, energy development, green infrastructure, and climate change adaptation.
  • Supports Risk Assessment: impacts to natural resources or human assets, climate change, vulnerability assessments, and more
  • Provides objective and documented reports and maps that are easy to replicate or update.
  • Combines data, expert knowledge, and stakeholder values.
  • Supports ongoing, routine, plan implementation, and adaptive management.

Vista Uses and Technical Features

If you have any questions about Vista, please contact PlanIt Forward.