The trend within data collection management is a general attitude of “more data is better data.” Using time series data from data loggers, sensors, and other Internet of Things (IoT) sources has caused an explosion in the amount of data that can be collected and analyzed. More data are only valuable and meaningful with good tools to interpret the data and skilled data management professionals wielding those tools. Vast quantities of data can be difficult to analyze. Access to superior data management tools and systems is critical to meet project goals, such as assessing pollution plume impacts on public water supplies or monitoring discharge operations to ensure public health and permit compliance.
EarthSoft’s EQuIS™ advanced environmental and geotechnical data management and decision support system manages and standardizes large volumes of data collected in the field or from loggers, sensors, or other IoT sources. The EQuIS suite of software is an extremely flexible and interoperable system that manages data across the entire workflow and integrates with industry leading third party tools like Microsoft Power BI, ArcGIS, and AutoCAD, or connects to open data endpoints via OData or REST API. EQuIS enables environmental professionals to evaluate data quality, quickly visualize elements of the data, and identify risk. Ultimately, this leads to more accurate decision making and cost saving on the project. Not all data are equal. As more data are collected, a tool like EQuIS becomes more essential to help interpolate the data and see relationships over time.
EQuIS Live and Data Loggers
Data loggers are used to collect readings, or output, from sensors and can be very useful to understand historical context or to compare data changes over time. These sensors could be measuring industrial parameters (e.g., pressure, flow, temperature) or environmental parameters (e.g., water level, wind speed, solar radiation). Today, sensors are available to measure virtually any physical parameter.
Discrete monitoring events, such as measuring ground water levels, provide meaningful information for site assessment, but are a snapshot in time. Long-term, continuous monitoring from data sensors in the field can reveal data trends. Open data sources are available from many weather sites, vendors, and government agencies, such as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These open-source data can be used to compliment data from loggers (discrete or continuous) and provide a more complete site assessment.
For example, a USGS logger on a river might provide flow information along with temperature and turbidity. Analysis of the logger data can yield trends of low flow during the fall and winter and then increased flow and turbidity in the spring related to snow melt and runoff.
EQuIS is exceptionally well suited to organize and interpret large volumes of data from data loggers and open data sources. EQuIS stores high-volume, high-frequency information in separate data tables giving data management professionals greater flexibility with how to use the data. EQuIS Live is the application that manages real time sensor data. EQuIS Live is designed for high-frequency, high-volume data sources originating from live "feeds" of data. A variety of EQuIS Live agents are already configured to acquire logger/sensor data from industry vendors or open data from sources around the globe. Other EQuIS Live agents and reports are designed to transform or reduce data to frequencies defined by the data professional to facilitate data analysis and interpolation.
EQuIS Live widgets (charts, graphs, tables) added to EQuIS Enterprise web-based dashboards provide user interface components for interactive and real time data analysis (see Figure 1). EQuIS users can view data in different ways and discern trends over time (see Figures 2). To facilitate a comprehensive site understanding, EQuIS Live data can be combined with other discrete sampling data and annotated with general information from the data logger, pre- and post-measurement information, or duplicate measurements.
EnviroInsite is another EQuIS application used extensively by environmental consultants as well as government agencies as a tool for remedial investigation decision making. EnviroInsite enables users to analyze and visualize environmental and geotechnical data in real time to understand complex spatial and temporal relationships. Users can generate borehole logs, strip logs, cross-sections, complex geologic models, contaminant concentration graphs and maps, groundwater elevation and gradient graphs and maps, geochemistry diagrams, and more. Users can also readily create polished report figures. Data and visuals processed by EnviroInsite are easily shared with other EQuIS applications and third-party software, such as Esri ArcGIS Pro. Figure 3 is an EQuIS Enterprise dashboard that illustrates a variety of EnviroInsite graphics.
EQuIS EnviroInsite is being used by a leading regional governmental environmental monitoring and compliance agency to guide, justify, and support next steps with several environmental investigations involving hazardous substance cleanup. In a recent case study, the agency shared where EnviroInsite was extremely helpful for an environmental cleanup of an old dry cleaner operation. The site had above and underground storage tanks (AST/UST) where chlorinated solvents were stored. Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination was discovered in 2014 after the storage tanks were removed. Due to the placement of the tanks and how the solvents were pumped into them, many locations existed where contamination could have entered the environment and solvents are now threatening to contaminate a local groundwater aquifer. Investigators used EnviroInsite to interpolate the chlorinated plume extents, locate hot spots, and identify potential migration pathways for the plume based on groundwater flow direction. The analysis in EnviroInsite allowed the agency to understand the site conditions and determine where new wells should be installed to further their remediation efforts.
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