Using Geospatial Models and 3-D Visualization to Advance Decisionmaking and Communication of Remedial Solutions to Environmental Problems

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Courtesy of Weston Solutions, Inc

ABSTRACT

Integrating and presenting technical information so that complex site conditions are readily understandable is a critical factor in successful negotiations with regulatory agencies and in the courtroom. During remedial investigations, a significant amount of data of varying quality and formats is collected and compiled in a multitude of database structures. The development of geospatial models provides a quick and technically defensible means for integrating these diverse databases and interactively visualizing environmental information in three dimensions (3-D). Geospatial models are comprehensive tools that effectively illustrate complex conditions common at environmental sites, such as the 3-D distribution of hydrostratigraphic units and important hydrogeochemical parameters. Thus geospatial models are powerful tools for conveying complex technical issues to laypeople and to decisionmakers. They are equally effective in boardrooms, courtrooms, and public meetings. The use of these models facilitates decisionmaking and consensus building within project teams as well as with regulatory agencies.

Geospatial models provide highly defensible and easily understood interpretations of complex hydrogeologic data, thereby providing better communication of environmental solutions and remedial alternatives. These models ultimately provide confidence in decisionmaking and communicate solutions to regulatory agencies. This paper presents two case studies to illustrate how geospatial models, developed using earthVision software (Dynamic Graphics, Alameda, California), were used to communicate complex environmental information and solutions between engineers, clients, regulators, and the public and resulted in expedited remedial actions and favorable decisions.

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