60 minute session | Program

Amplifying a cutting-edge product with tech partnerships

Audubon’s Bird Migration Explorer reveals for the first-time the movement of millions of birds in one elegant, insightful app, connecting places and people across the Western hemisphere through our shared neighbors: migrating birds. National Audubon Society and its technology partners—Blue Raster, Esri, and Postlight—will share their four-year journey from vision to launch: wrangling hundreds of data sources, designing a stack to make meaning out of massive spatial data, and iterating the front-end to best serve users. Success was predicated on the strength of partnerships. You will hear how shared vision, consistent dialogue, and deep-seated commitment reinforced the foundation from which this ground-breaking app took flight.

First learning outcome

How to collaboratively define partner roles and apply the spirit of partnership to develop a product

Second learning outcome

How to center users from the outset and focus on audiences throughout production even as they evolve

Third learning outcome

How to build an elegant product on extensive distributed data and complex analysis and architecture


Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith

Program Director

National Audubon Society

Melanie leads projects and teams that synthesize and visualize geospatial data to educate broad audiences, identify conservation priorities, and inform decision-makers. She has an interdisciplinary background with 20 years of experience in conservation strategy and advocacy, wildlife ecology, environmental policy, geospatial analysis, and cartographic data visualization. Her lifelong love of birds brought her to Audubon in 2008. She is the Program Director for the Bird Migration Explorer, and previously spent ten years at Audubon Alaska, most recently as the Director of Conservation Science. Before that Melanie worked for five years as an environmental consultant on collaborative forest management and energy development issues in the Rocky Mountain West. Her notable products include Audubon’s award-winning ecological atlas of the Arctic seas, the Bird Migration Explorer, and the Southeast Alaska Birding Trail. The work by Melanie and her team to synthesize spatial data across broad geographies, identify landscape conservation priorities, and communicate policy objectives has guided the protection of millions of acres for Arctic birds and wildlife.
Nathan Henry
Nathan Henry

Head of Product Management


As a former 911 Emergency Communications Supervisor, Nathan is skilled in prioritization, managing stress, and removing ambiguity — all skills that translate well to product leadership. His product management style is user-centric and driven by empathy and results. As a leader, he values collaboration, team building, and consensus gathering. At Postlight, Nathan has worked on a wide range of products from carbon offset marketplaces to digital experiences for national news media. Before joining Postlight, Nathan was in a senior fintech product role at Jack Henry & Associates and Director of Technology at Closerlook, where he developed and scaled a team focused on healthcare marketing, automation, and tooling. Nathan is also an accomplished speaker who’s delivered presentations at national conferences on digital transformation in healthcare, empowering patient self-advocacy, and accessibility and adaptive technologies — and been a guest on Mind the Product’s The Product Experience podcast. He is also a passionate mentor who has implemented frameworks for mentorship, management training, and professional career development. When not on the eternal quest to find the world’s best doughnut, Nathan is obsessed with tennis, a connoisseur of white wine, and a frequent traveler to Hawaii, where he lived for many years.
Connor Bailey
Connor Bailey

Director, Enterprise GIS

National Audubon Society

Connor Bailey (he/him) Connor has a long history with Audubon starting in 2014 at the beginnings of Enterprise GIS at the organization. In 2020 he returned for a second tenure as the Director, Enterprise GIS at the National Audubon Society. Connor directs Enterprise GIS at Audubon including the Dangermond Fellowship, funded by Jack and Laura Dangermond,. This fellowship provides mentorship and training for early career professionals of underrepresented persons in the conservation, technology, and GIS fields. Audubon’s early adoption of Enterprise GIS has led to a large ecosystem of informed technology users across the Audubon Network using Enterprise GIS infrastructure, data, and tools leading to better informed decisions across the organization. Connor enjoys pushing the boundaries of GIS technology and helping utilize geospatial technology across the organization in novel and creative ways. He has a Bachelor’s in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master’s in GIS from the University of Denver. He worked for Rocky Mountain Wild from 2002 until 2012 working on many aspects of GIS including capacity building with the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance, wildlife modeling, web mapping and service-based GIS solutions. He left to work in the private sector for several years developing mobile and enterprise GIS at a much larger scale. He realized he preferred the conservation non-profit world and spent five years with The Wilderness Society as the Enterprise GIS Manager and Geospatial Information Officer. Connor is drawn to GIS and technology and enjoys enabling others to better understand their geospatial landscape.
John Mahoney
John Mahoney

VP, Digital Products

National Audubon Society

John Mahoney leads the National Audubon Society's digital product team, charged with defining strategy and managing design, build, and evolution of Audubon's web, mobile, and GIS applications. Our products bring the joy of birds and the critical importance of conservation to an audience of 20+ million users annually. John has been at Audubon since 2014, and is based in New York, NY.
Eric Ashcroft
Eric Ashcroft

Senior Project Manager

Blue Raster

Mr. Ashcroft is an Associate Project Manager with 8+ years of experience employing geospatial technologies to analyze complex phenomenon around the world. He has extensive experience employing Python and machine learning classifications of remotely sensed imagery to document land use and land cover change. Mr. Ashcroft has used Landsat imagery to document urban growth and island expansion in Bahrain. He has also used high resolution imagery to map urban growth in cities in Rwanda and Ghana. He has significant experience using remotely sensed imagery for human rights, humanitarian, and conflict related issues. He has also trained judges, lawyers, and human rights practitioners in the use and ethical implications of geospatial technologies for human rights documentation, analysis, and litigation.

Session format

60-minute session

Session location

In Denver

Date and time

April 13, 2023

10:45 am-11:45 am MT

Who should attend?

PMs creating complex products.
IT customizing platforms.
Partner Mgrs advancing partner engagement.
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