FCSNW2018 English header

Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
255 Front St West, North Building, Toronto Ontario 
June 13-15, 2018 

Stream 6A – Information and Technology Management
How Mobile Technologies Can Benefit Both Field Staff and Custodians – Results from a Recently Deployed App
Mathieu Arcand, Kim Krug, David Wilson
Stantec Consulting Ltd.
The objective of this presentation is to share lessons-learned from the use of real-time technologies using an app linked to GIS and communication tools.

How can using advanced information technology benefit field staff, project managers and the client in a remote work environment? From a field tech’s perspective, new technologies are extremely beneficial to ensure accuracy in the field, ease the process of sharing field notes with the team back in the office, and information extraction/sharing at the end of the project to create precise figures and reliable historical notes.

With the new Collector app, site maps can be uploaded onto an iPad or iPhone and can connect to a GPS installed on a hard hat using Bluetooth technology. Excavation or features of environmental significance can be walked and instantaneously measured and mapped, samples can be logged directly onto the existing site maps along with the sample description, field parameters, and even photos which can be uploaded with a Wi-Fi connection and accessed by the team back in the office from any computer. With pre-populated maps and a GPS with up to 22 cm accuracy, field staff can track their location on site and ensure that site characteristics and areas of environmental concern are logged accurately and make changes where required. Using the new FlowFinity tool, daily reports can be filled out on an iPad from the field and submitted once a Wi-Fi connection is established. Waste quantities can be tracked remotely and exported into an excel table when requested. The daily reports, including photos, can be exported to Excel and submitted with limited formatting. In terms of communicating real-time information from on-site field staff to the project manager, this new technology is far more accurate and convenient than attempting to send field notes and photos via a poor internet connection at the end of a long day.

However, newly developed apps can be finicky and not without their drawbacks. By examining lessons learned from using these technologies for several major remote remediation projects, these tools can be improved to better support field staff, project managers, and custodians.

Creating and Enhancing On-the-Fly Spatial and Attribute Queries of Historical Environmental Records in a Geographic Information System
Daniela Loock1, Neil Pothier1, Darren White1, John Lawless1, Michael Hulley2, Kela Weber1
1Environmental Sciences Group, Royal Military College of Canada
2Deptartment of Civil Engineering, Royal Military College of Canada
The objective of this presentation is to illustrate an approach to managing large environmental datasets spanning decades in a Geographic Information System to support contaminated-sites management decision-making.

Federal custodians of contaminated sites manage large amounts of environmental data pertaining to assessment, remediation and long-term monitoring activities. This data can spatially and temporally span many kilometers and decades. The complexity of managing large data sets increases further when users and decision-makers have a need for looking more closely at specific contaminants, time-series trends, or specific summary reports. To contextualize and make confident decisions, additional meta-data often must be incorporated into any analyses of environmental data to provide a better understanding of the site and surrounding lands. This can be effectively done through the creation, or integration, with an existing Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS enables managers, technicians and/or external contractors to quickly and effectively visualize a spatial snapshot of multiple sampling locations, sampling timelines, and analytical results without the need for time-consuming searches through hard or soft copy reports.

The Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) located at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario was engaged by 4th Canadian Division Support Base Environment Services, Garrison Petawawa to perform a review, adaptation and development of a GIS for scientific and environmental data management

This project saw the consolidation of datasets requiring digitization from five years of paper copies, extraction from a partially completed 20-year Hydro GeoAnalyst (HGA) database, Access Databases, and Esri Geodatabases, standardization from hundreds of digital documents, followed by consolidation and conversion from several formats before migration to a GIS. By using a combination of relational database management systems (RDMS) tools, Python and/or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts, and Esri-based technologies these records were consolidated into a series of point files related to several tables ranging from several hundred records to hundreds of thousands.

Currently, these data records are being connected to additional spatial datasets such as drawing sets, site photographs, survey data, aerial imagery, natural heritage features, and topographic datasets such as digital elevation models (DEM). Once, completed, it is intended that the finalised GIS will become a powerful management tool; providing insights into, for example, sighting of groundwater wells, temporal contaminant concentration trends, watershed quality, and impact of construction activities. The build methodology, and examples of effective future applications will be presented.