See What You've Been Missing
As consultants, we’re always looking to find the most efficient ways to understand our project site data and maximize our understanding of the conditions and processes in the subsurface. Understanding data begins with quality data management, but it's important to have a streamlined process for providing data in proprietary formats for mapping and visualization software.
A well-designed management-to-visualization process allows for reduction in the cost of mapping the data, and provides the option to reallocate some of your data-handling budget to analyzing project data.
With that in mind, here are three ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your EHS data.
#1: Keep Your Data Flexible
Having your data management system connected to your mapping software provides the ability to quickly provide very specific data. For example, a project manager may want to see their BTEX constituents mapped alongside parameters such as dissolved oxygen and conductivity, but in many instances, chemistry and parameters are stored in separate spreadsheets.
A data management platform such as EQuIS allows for all chemical and field parameters to be searched in a single query and distributed to GIS or other contouring software. (Our own CAVe architecture allows for any project data stored in EQuIS to be directly exported into ArcGIS, saving additional handling time.)
#2: Utilize Technology
Traditionally, data isolines have been hand-drawn and provided to drafting resources to be drawn electronically. In more recent times, data has been entered into third-party software (such as Surfer) and imported into CAD. ArcGIS and MVS have several built-in deterministic and geostatistical algorithms for interpolating analytical surfaces and contouring.
While site-specific knowledge may assist in shaping the final appearance of contours through editing, using a statistical solution for developing the contours provides a defensible mathematical method – and may show you trends in your data that you may not have been looking for.
#3: Create 3D Visuals to Communicate the Complete Picture
Conceptual site models are regular practice for sites that require remediation. Development of a 3D depiction of site features juxtaposed with chemistry plumes can add to your understanding of the full extent of contamination.
Additionally, visualizing key features such as bedrock surfaces, sand, or gravel lenses or high screening values can add support to assertions about contamination sources and migration pathways. Presentation of your site’s data to other stakeholders with this kind of visual also provides understanding to non-project personnel, allowing them to really see what you’re talking about.