Mobile Digital Data Apps for Extreme Alaskan Conditions

Alaska has hundreds of remote contaminated sites accessible only by plane or boat. Investigation and remedial action at these sites take far longer than typical sites because of the short time windows and large funding allocations required to complete incremental steps in the cleanup process. This reality presents a combination of complicating conditions: locating historical features can be very difficult as historical data sources, rectified for spatial accuracy, are not easily employed in austere field conditions; the collection of field data is hindered by wet, windy, and cold conditions; paper forms must "survive" these elements and return to the office without becoming illegible or lost; and managers have limited ability to track progress and inform field decisions to maximize the field effort and increase the value of million dollar mobilizations. Geosyntec is providing innovative digital data collection and field management tools to overcome these challenges and increase data quality and integrity.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec has been retained by three different prime contractors for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Alaska District and Air Force to develop and deliver mobile digital data apps for field activities at seven contaminated sites in Alaska. The mobile apps are loaded on ruggedized field tablets that withstand the worst Alaskan field conditions. The apps are paired with sub-meter GNSS units that connect via Bluetooth. This combination of tools allows field teams to navigate to historical features and sample locations that would otherwise be a guess because of the decades that have lapsed since site use. The tablet interface allows field teams to view historical imagery from multiple years to better pinpoint targeted infrastructure. New data collection is done all within the app, and the data are tied to a distinct, single location for integrity. Examples of collected data include GPS location, field screening, logging of soil borings, soil/sediment/surface water/groundwater sample collection, well installation, well development, photologs equipment calibration, health and safety checklists, and more. The digital data are backed up in the field daily, and in locations with internet availability, the data are pushed to the project database. This allows project managers, clients, and stakeholders to view field progress in detail. For longer projects, analytical data received from the lab can be pushed from the database back to the app to allow the field team to assess data gaps and perform additional investigation within the limited window of time on-site.

Notable Accomplishments

Geosyntec is uniquely offering these robust digital data collection and management tools for remote work in Alaska. The service is becoming highly sought after for projects where the integration of historical data, often decades old, is vital to ensuring the exact feature is found and investigated, and there is need to manage data for remedial investigations lasting multiple months in remote locations. In fact, USACE Alaska District is beginning to include task order award evaluation criteria that stipulates how data management will occur for large-scale and remote remedial investigations to ensure they get the data quality and integrity Geosyntec is able to deliver.

Project Overview

  • Location: Alaska
  • Client: Multiple Alaska Clients
  • Project Practice Areas: Environmental Management
  • Type of Facility: Various
  • Services Provided: Mobile digital data apps for navigating to and finding historical features and site infrastructure; Collecting valid value and required field data; Syncing with project database for data integrity
  • Type of Work: Digital Data Collection and Management
  • Company: Geosyntec Consultants
  • Governing Regulation: Federal and Local
Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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