The Southeast Blueprint changelog has been updated to capture what changed from Blueprint 2022 to 2023!
A changelog records the major changes made in a new version of a project or software program. We maintain a changelog for the Blueprint to record what we changed with each update, and why. When SECAS releases a new Blueprint, you already hear a lot about the big improvements–like expanding to the U.S. Virgin Islands or adding new indicators for the Gulf marine environment. But staff also make a bunch of little tweaks and adjustments that aren’t as high-profile, but are still important to remember! We update indicator source datasets, refine Zonation and corridor methods, streamline indicator names, and more. The changelog gives us a place to write it all down.
For example, one thing we changed in Blueprint 2023 was adding meaningful 0 values to as many of the indicators as possible to better represent the extent of the source data and make them perform better in online tools. This allows users to better distinguish between places not evaluated by an indicator at all (which receive a value of NoData), and places where an indicator was assessed but found not to occur there (which receive a value of 0). Is that making it into press releases about the Blueprint launch? Well, no. But it’s still an important Blueprint improvement.
You might wonder–“SECAS already provides the Blueprint development process. Isn’t that enough documentation?” Well, while it does a thorough job of recording everything we did in 2023, it doesn’t necessarily highlight how those methods differ from the previous year, or the reason for changing things.
Since 2022 was the first year the Southeast Blueprint used consistent methods and indicators across a large chunk of the SECAS region, the 2023 changelog chapter has a lot more detail than previous years. So hopefully, the changelog will prove a lot more interesting and useful from here on out!