Planning and Mapping: Geodesign to Guide Green Infrastructure for Urban Stormwater Management

Important steps in implementing green infrastructure include planning the location, amount and type of practices, along with surveying existing green infrastructure and developing objectives in order to receive maximum benefits from a project. Here is a list of tools and resources that can help you plan and map green infrastructure in your community.

GeoDesign (mapping tools)

GeoDesign is a concept that uses GIS technologies to design, analyze and compare planning scenarios. To learn more about GeoDesign visit:

ESRI ArcGIS Online. GeoPlanner.

This GIS application allows users to geodesign, test and compare different scenarios within the program. GeoPlanner is an effective tool for visualizing different scenarios, analyzing their benefits and drawbacks, and allowing people to collaborate on projects.

As an example, a Sea Grant-sponsored project used GeoPlanner to create green infrastructure scenarios for a section of the watershed that drains to Willow Creek on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus with the goal of mitigating increases in annual precipitation and severe precipitation events that are expected in Wisconsin. The project placed different green infrastructure practices on maps in GeoPlanner to determine the amount of stormwater each scenario could capture or infiltrate and the expected total cost.

Green infrastructure scenarios for an area on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, created using GeoPlanner

Wisconsin Sea Grant, 2021. Lesson: Using ArcGIS GeoPlanner to plan green infrastructure to reduce urban stormwater runoff.

A lesson on how to use ESRI’s ArcGIS GeoPlanner application and a template developed by the Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute to plan green infrastructure scenarios for urban stormwater management. The template allows users to place different types of green infrastructure in an area and visualize the impact that these practices have on reducing runoff. It uses local geospatial data as a guide and allows the comparison of alternative scenarios.

Wisconsin Sea Grant, 2021. GeoPlanner Capture Capacity and Goals Calculation Sheet.

A spreadsheet that allows users to input the inches of rainfall of a storm event and the impermeable area of their site to calculate a capture goal (based on the Runoff Curve Number method) and the green infrastructure Design Fields for use in GeoPlanner.

Wisconsin Sea Grant, 2021. Data to Guide Green Infrastructure Placement in GeoPlanner.

A summary of environmental and use constraints to green infrastructure implementation, including land use, soil type, terrain, groundwater table depth, bedrock depth, and neighboring properties. Images of corresponding data layers from GeoPlanner are included and overlaid on maps of the Olde North and Three Corners neighborhoods of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Finally, specific suitability requirements for each green infrastructure type are briefly discussed.

Wisconsin Sea Grant, 2020. Climate Modeling and Stormwater Capture and Infiltration Goals.

This document explores varying methods of calculating stormwater capture goals based on different climate modeling and mitigation strategies. These methods are informed by suggestions from UW-Madison faculty, along with stormwater management plans from MMSD and the city of Philadelphia.

ESRI ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Collector App.

This data collection app from the ESRI software ArcGIS enables users to gather geographic information using their mobile devices. The app accurately captures location and photos, videos, and audio recordings can also be uploaded and included as field observations.

ArcGIS Collector App
Source: Geographic Technologies Group

Wisconsin Sea Grant, 2020. Comparison Between Survey Forms.

This document compares a few different survey collection platforms on a variety of factors, ranging from their ability to collect data in the field to collect data from widespread users with online forms. This may help the user identify which format is right for them.


Wisconsin Sea Grant, 2020. Collection of Green Infrastructure Stormwater Capture and Infiltration Capacities.

An internally generated spreadsheet with stormwater capture and infiltration capacities for twelve green infrastructure practices, accumulated from a variety of online sources. 

Spreadsheet of green infrastructure stormwater capture and infiltration capacities