Creating Scalable and Smart Solutions with Environmental Data Management
March 16, 2021
Image
Estimated Reading Time: 13 minutes

Environmental monitoring is a critical aspect of any project or ongoing activity that has the potential to impact the environment. The capture and accurate analysis of relevant data is essential to understand the environmental effects their activities have on a site. Ever more data is being collected as sensing technology improves and managing it all can be a challenge. The Golder team has worked with many clients to help capture, analyze, and present data for various stakeholders.

Introducing data management software

By using data management software, we take advantage of advanced automated workflows to manage field data collection, laboratory analytical data checking, as well as automated telemetry data streaming, and more. We can decipher large amounts of data in an organized and visible manner, and can quickly generate meaningful spatial data maps, graphs, tables, and charts.

Areas that software grants users the power to organize their data, includes:

  • Geochemical laboratory analysis (e.g. groundwater; surface water, soil, sediment, and air)
  • Ecological data including surveys of fauna and flora
  • Limnology
  • Location parameters
  • Spatial survey information
  • Associated compliance monitoring
  • Well construction
  • Facility data

To manage this influx of information, Golder maintains a long-standing business partner relationship with EarthSoft who produce EQuIS™ (Environmental Quality Information System) software. It is the most effective environmental data management workflow system on the market. Ideally EQuIS™ is implemented at the start of a project. That said, our data analysts can manage and maintain newly collected site data with established workflow processes and are able to backfill years of historical site data using the software.

Why use a data management software?

Data management is a very powerful tool that has the potential to save businesses significant time and effort in the collation, organization, and analysis of environmental data. EQuIS™ provides an alternative to outdated manual systems such as spreadsheets and offers a single centralized enterprise system, where multiple data types can be viewed, reported, and analyzed independently or collectively free from manual input errors.

Benefits include:

  • Establishing better quality control (QC) data procedures to ensure accurate outputs
  • Scalable and reliable solutions for data across individual projects or entire site portfolios
  • An efficient automated approach compared to outdated manual systems
  • Unlimited web accessibility across sites and offices for better decision making
  • Effective project management tools to help handle complex scenarios
  • Full ownership as opposed to the limited data ownership from other data management methods
  • The ability to present data to external stakeholders and authorities for better collaboration

Automated field logger and field form data collection

While most commonly used to manage laboratory analytical data, Golder has been using the software to manage and maintain many types of data collected on field tablets and electronic telemetry data devices. For example, we manage data from different live sources such as:

  • Common field data loggers
  • Automated collection from third-party applications (e.g. HydroVu and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))
  • Live vibrating wire data collection
  • Landfill gas data collection
  • Hydrologic flow monitoring

With new custom digital field forms, the paper form is less common and digital field data collection is increasingly becoming more automated with fewer transcription errors. EQuIS Collect allows data collected by field personnel to be transmitted via cellular of Wi-Fi signal to the database much faster and with increased accuracy. Digital data forms envisioned development for handheld devices include:

  • Monitoring well inspection
  • Field sample parameter
  • Depth to water measurements
  • Membrane liner construction quality assurance
  • Location parameters
  • Job site safety analysis
  • HSSE surveys
  • Telemetric device data downloads

Effective data workflows can be set up for reliable data loading, quality checks, and reporting to enable businesses to make efficient and informed decisions. Streamlined, customized reporting analytics allow clients to maintain compliance with reporting requirements and rapidly identify non-compliance issues so that they can be quickly addressed.

Which industries can benefit?

Golder has worked with many clients to customize data management programs to fit their needs across a variety of industries including the manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, solid waste, transportation, and power sectors, around the globe. In each scenario, EQuIS was set up to collect, store, and present data from disparate sources.

Air Monitoring Dashboard Example

Manufacturing client - case study #1

Golder is engaged to manage and monitor site hydrogeological chemistry data for a former manufacturing facility. Consultants have the resources to maintain and evaluate the on-going sample monitoring events, in addition to over 35 years of sample data that include groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment and routine groundwater elevation measurements.

In addition to site chemistry, Golder recently started monitoring and evaluating site telemetry from over 80 vented and non-vented logger locations, from multiple on-site and public discrete sources. This type of data is collected quarterly, weekly and in some cases, daily. In addition to the live data collection, several automated system agents are employed to derive groundwater elevation from the telemetry data collected.

Golder provides online dashboard analytics to the client via EQuIS Enterprise. Multiple dashboards display live logger historic trend charts, geo-spatial chemistry map views, and custom data reporting options.

Solid Waste client - case study #2

Golder worked with a solid waste client on data collected from residential drinking water well samples surrounding their facility. A continuous residential water sampling program was carried out over a period of five years, during which conventional data was collected, with some systems having point-of-entry treatment systems.

This project required significant coordination between Golder, other consultants, the client, and the laboratory. A key challenge was that the project required reporting within a mere 2- to 24-hour window (depending on laboratory results). Using EQuIS™, the Golder team was able to provide a fast, sub-two-hour data summary report to the client any time a specific compound was detected. Otherwise, data was reported within four hours – well ahead of the 24-hour requirement.

The wider project team and the client now have access to a variety of data dashboards, displaying trend charts, dynamic maps symbolizing current results, and current data report grids all in one place. This continues to streamline the client’s environmental monitoring.

More than just dashboards

Dashboard analytics are available with EQuIS™ web services and have more recently been made compatible with Power BI and Tableau. However, it is more than just a reporting tool for tables and charts. The data it manages can also be used in various applications, across different solutions including GIS, CAD, and 2D-3D Modelling. While most of the data is used internally, the connections that can be made with Power BI and CAD-GIS are leading to an increased update in external communication as well.

Reliable and scalable

Integrating data management software in our clients’ projects has proven to help reduce the amount of resources, time, and cost that businesses traditionally spend capturing, analyzing, and reporting environmental data using outdated systems. Once properly integrated, the program’s automation takes over and allows businesses and stakeholders a much greater overview of their environmental data in a reliable and scalable manner.

Such is the importance of data management today that an ever-increasing number of client request for proposals (RFPs) now include a requirement in some form of project data management to protect their data and improve data visibility. At Golder, we are constantly adding more bidirectional relationships in the sector, staying at the forefront of this type of technology, and working to improve it well into the future.


LEARN MORE ABOUT GOLDER DIGITAL

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carl Schaefer currently serves as a Business Analyst for Golder’s Information Management Group and is a senior leader with over 29 years of experience as an Environmental Data Manager, GIS Analyst and Civil Design Professional. He has served as Golder's New England Geospatial Information System (GIS) and Geo-Environmental Data professional for several large data projects across the United States. He has managed a Geo-Environmental Data Management Group; specializes in database applications and data visualization peripherals; assisted in developing and managing a North American data management program for Golder, including testing, training and developing on the EQuIS data management system. Carl is a U.S. Regional lead for EQuIS.
Carl Schaefer

Carl Schaefer Member Name

Business Analyst


Discover more

Golder uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, we assume that you consent to receive all cookies on our website.

OK Learn More