Finally, An Environmental Software Suite that Works Together

When looking for a GHG reporting program, there is one element that is typically overlooked. This short video gives us more insight.

Better Tools for Remediation Projects

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In this short video Africa Espina, Manager of Environmental Services, discusses Locus Technologies’ expertise in site investigation and characterization services. Locus utilizes cutting-edge tools and techniques to conduct thorough site investigations. This includes site reconnaissance, sampling, and monitoring to assess soil, groundwater, surface water, and air quality.

By employing both traditional and innovative sampling methods, such as direct push technology and high-resolution site characterization, Locus ensures accurate and representative data collection.

Watch the video to learn more.

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    Efficient EHS Reporting For the Oil and Gas Industry

    When looking for a GHG reporting program, there is one element that is typically overlooked. This short video gives us more insight.

    Tracking Safety Activities with your Smartphone

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    Locus makes it easy for end users to use their smartphones to track their Safety activities. The attached video shows a user responding to a task notification for a tailgate meeting, and then entering a Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) observation.

    Locus: Simple – Intuitive – Easy-to-use.

    Click here to watch the video. 

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    Request a demo

    Send us your contact information and a Locus representative will be in touch to discuss your organization’s needs and provide an estimate, or set up a free demo of our enterprise environmental software solutions.

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      5 Red Flags of Outdated Software

      5-red-flags-outdated-software-laptop

      For 26 years, Locus Technologies has been helping organizations that serve millions of people a day. Throughout that time, our team of experts have noticed some common red flag with the alternative solutions that are available on the market. The alternatives can be more problematic that helpful, creating data congestion and slowing down your workflow. Your organization deserves a solution that alleviates the burdens of data entry, regulatory compliance, voluntary reporting, and more. Here are the top five signs that your organization is using outdated water software:

      1. Using paper form and/or transcribing data more than once

      To ensure the highest level of data quality, you should not be risking human error at multiple levels. Enter your data once, and have it audit-ready, set to go on regulatory and voluntary reports, which are created directly from Locus Software.

      2. Software support is not led by the specialist.

      Support doesn’t end after implementation. What we often hear from our customers when they switch from other providers is that they are delighted with the level of support that Locus brings with our software. Locus is proud to have the expertise and experience to back our software, and if there is anything you need, you can be sure that Locus support can get it done smoothly.

      3. The software has regular or unexpected downtimes.

      You need reliability. Your software should be available to you on-demand. Locus is proud to be the only environmental software developer to publicly share our uptime, which is over 99.9%. If you are experiencing downtimes at inconvenient times or for long periods, you should switch.

      4. It’s not mobile-enabled.

      Field collection is key for most organizations managing water quality data. You should be able to enter that data into your system once, and from anywhere, reducing errors and extra time doing the same work twice (or more!). Also, being able to access historical data at your fingertips can help you solve problems on the fly.

      5. It doesn’t provide actionable insights.

      Sure, you may have all your data collected, but what are you doing with it? If your software is not giving you meaningful findings from analyzing your data, then you are always going to be playing catch-up. Having the tools to help your organization look forward is essential in selecting water data management software.

      Want to learn more about our Water Data Management Solution? Reach out to our product specialists today!

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        EIM Search Tool – Vlog

        Locus Technologies’ customizable software makes scheduling and collecting routine water samples is made easy by using Locus Mobile and EIM.

        6 Must-Haves for Upgraded Mobile Tracking Apps

        Water and wastewater operation and maintenance (O&M) mobile tracking apps have existed for some time now. Users are now familiar with the benefits of these apps such as instant data collection and access to reference information for better, more reliable O&M monitoring. As technology progresses and makes improvements your current application might seem outdated. Upgrading to a custom application with excellent customer support is easy with Locus Technologies. Below we have compiled some of our “must-haves” when looking for an upgraded application. 

        Unique and Custom Forms:  

        For many O&M programs, you may have your own data collection needs that are specific to your facility or industry. Mobile O&M apps now allow you to tailor your input forms to add new data fields, remove unwanted fields, change some of the logic like making certain fields required, and make certain fields tied into established pick lists. Even better, you can match the mobile form to the original paper form, making the transition to mobile simple and intuitive for staff. The more the merrier, as modern mobile apps let you have multiple forms on the same app, so you have everything you need in one place.

        Real-time entry validation: 

        It is not enough to just enter your O&M information into a mobile device. You also want to make sure you are entering the correct data. Current O&M mobile tools can check your entry as you enter it and validate it against whatever criteria are established for that data. For example, make sure that you are entering a pH reading of 7.2, rather than 72. You can also use configurable pick lists to limit data entry to your specific desired entries and not have to correct misspellings or 16 different ways to say, “out of service”. Make sure that pick lists are configurable and can be shared with each of your company’s devices. 

        Barcode and QR code scanning: 

        You are already using your phone to compare prices at your local store. It is amazingly easy to simply scan a product’s barcode and instantly see the best available price locally or online. Since every phone/tablet now has a built-in camera, you can use that to scan barcodes or QR codes to associate data entry with a tagged sampling port or asset. This can save you from mismatched errors that can occur when simply selecting from a list or typing in data.

        Use your voice: 

        We are starting to use voice recognition technology in our mobile devices to quickly send out text messages. Why not use it for recording inspection/audit comments or field issues? Voice recognition is improving every year and can provide your comments onto a data collection form much faster than typing and can be especially useful for conditions where gloves are required and typing, or stylus input is not practical. Using the phone’s native abilities, take advantage of the voice feature to streamline note-taking, knowing that you can always fix up any issues back in the office. 

        Review, Sync, Repeat: 

        Mobile apps should have a summary screen to review your data before sending it back to your database, such as a summary form for all data collected during a shift. And once you do sync your data back to the main database (you have a main database, right???), instantly reset the form for the next day’s data collection event so you are always ready. 

        No Internet? No Problem! 

        Mobile apps that will not function when there is no connection should be abandoned. You need to be able to collect data no matter the location and the signal strength. Look for mobile apps that function with zero connectivity and save the data until a signal is found. Not every location at modern water and wastewater facilities has a hot spot, so be prepared with the right app. 

        Locus-Mobile-Water-Sampling

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        Finding the Best Environmental Sampling Tool

        There is a need for most water entities to centralize data, and more easily load, share, analyze, and report data. Locus Technologies’ customizable software makes scheduling and collecting routine water samples is made easy by using Locus Mobile and EIM. Below is a list of frequent challenges that customers have encountered during their water sampling process and how they can be solved using the right tools from Locus. or better communications. 

        Challenge 1: Finding a flexible sampling planning tool 

        Planning tools need to allow flexibility in terms of different sampling intervals and date ranges, different field and analytical parameters, and account for location grouping. Using a well-designed application can pull together all of this detailed information and can provide a summary view of the individual samples. A manager can easily view sample status, and whether the sample is complete, in process, or planned.  A well-designed application can also generate the chain of custody (COC), and lab and sample shipping date information and labels per sample, which is a huge time saver. This type of sample tracking detail seemed to be very useful to many conference attendees to help ensure they are in regulatory compliance with required sampling frequencies. A key feature to look for is an application that is flexible enough that it can allow one-time, unplanned sample events such as water main breaks, customer complaints and schedule changes, and can handle complex multi-year routine sampling with ease. As a plus, it’s easy for you or your manager to know where you stand at any time. 

        LocusPlatform_Water_Sampling

        Challenge 2: Eliminating data entry errors caused by hand data entry 

        Data entry errors and fixing bad data when it was transcribed from field notes to Excel or other programs is a persistent problem with the old way of doing things.  Your company needs a better way to streamline the error prone data collection process.  Many clients are interested in an alternative to the pencil/paper/clipboard method and had goals to move to tablet or smartphone for data collection.  The universal wish list for mobile field applications included: 

        • Easy to use and set up 
        • Built in data validation to catch data entry errors at the source 
        • Direct upload to a data system so the end of the day all the daily samples were in the system with the push of a button 
        • Prepopulating locations especially for large water systems 
        • Complete field instructions for samplers on what to collect and where to collect it to eliminate missed samples 
        • Smart tracking to know on a daily/weekly basis, what samples were collected and what samples were still outstanding 
        • Integrated with sample planning tools (See challenge 1) to automate the sampling instructions and track the data collection activities vs plan 

        Locus-Mobile-Water-Sampling

        Challenge 3: Getting the most out of their software, especially regarding updates 

        Everyone is aware that software updates all the time.  Sometimes its security enhancements and sometime feature enhancements or bug fixes.  A source of frustration is getting a software update and not knowing what was updated or how best to incorporate a new feature/enhancement into their established process.  There was also concern for impact to an established routine with field crews that were used to the existing way of doing things. Even if a functionality improved the workflow, enhancements are only valuable to a user if they understand how to use them and how to incorporate them into their existing process. 

        Some suggestions from the attendees included:
        • Concurrent documentation updates with software updates 
        • “Quick start” guides for new functionality 
        • Online training on the new functionality with recording for later viewing 
        • Heads up on what is coming in the next several months so they can do strategic planning (sharing the roadmap) 
        • Sandbox environment to test the enhancements before going in production so they can plan how to incorporate the features into their process and train field crews 

        Mobile applications, which appear very simple to the users, are in reality complex software and require careful integration with the receiving database for a range of complex use cases.  This makes rolling out new mobile features challenging for both the developers and the users.  Enhanced customer/developer communication along with a sandbox environment can go a long way towards solving some of the inherent issues with rapid innovations and updates associated with cloud and mobile software. 

        Locus-Technologies-Training-and-Support

        Software tools are available and can solve a lot of the common data management challenges, but know what you want, know the problem you are trying to solve and know it will take some time and effort, but the end result will significantly improve your business processes. Though these challenges are present when choosing a software, Locus Technologies has the experts to help you hurdle the challenges to find the solution that is best for your business. 

        Request a demo

        Send us your contact information and a Locus representative will be in touch to discuss your organization’s needs and provide an estimate, or set up a free demo of our enterprise environmental software solutions.

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          Simplify Your Water Tracking with Locus Platform

          Tracking your data is made easy within our software as a service (SaaS), Locus Platform (LP). Your company can take advantage of LP’s mobile-aware browser functions, giving you the capability to do all your fieldwork with your existing phones or tablets.   When cellular connections are unavailable or unreliable, Locus also has a Mobile app which supports the offline capabilities you need to keep your workflow going. 

          Regardless of your mobile approach, each mobile form can be easily configured to capture the data you require in the field such as photos and the sampling results.  

          Along with easy mobile data collection, Locus Platform can help you to:
          • Track and report your daily results, such as chlorine, nitrite and temperature to water treatment operators, for real time adjustments.
          • Monitor lab results from routine sampling. 
          • Flag out of range data in real time for notifications or data entry corrections. 
          • Analyze data geospatially to understand situations impacting water quality. 
          • Report average monthly chlorine results. 
          • Track water quality complaints and illicit discharges overtime.  
          • Generate Nitrification Reports.  
          • Prepare Monthly Flushing reports. 
          Of course, those are not the limits of Locus Platform. Our software can also help you to: 
          • Track and manage all types of tasks and regulatory commitments. 
          • Track any type of permit and associated requirements. 
          • Generate notifications for defined events, such as data entered above limits. 
          • Produce PDF and Excel reports for regulators and customers. 
          • Keep all your information in an easy-to-use secure system and basically future proof your program. 

          Whether in the office, or out in the field, Locus Technologies is with you every step of the way during the tracking process. Contact us to find your solution. 

          Request a demo

          Send us your contact information and a Locus representative will be in touch to discuss your organization’s needs and provide an estimate, or set up a free demo of our enterprise environmental software solutions.

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            Getting More from your Environmental Data using Dashboards with Integrated Mapping

            Today is GIS Day, a day started in 1999 to showcase the many uses of geographical information systems (GIS). Earlier Locus blog posts have explained how GIS and maps support visualization of objects in space and over time. This post covers a specific visualization method called data dashboards.  

            A data dashboard is a combination of charts, maps, text, and images that enables analysis of data and thereby promotes discovery of previously unknown relationships in the data. Companies and organizations use dashboards to develop insight into the overall status of a company or of a company division, process, or product line. Dashboards are also a common function in ‘business intelligence’ applications such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau. A printed dashboard is static, but an online dashboard can be dynamic; in a dynamic dashboard, interacting with one item on the dashboard causes the other items to update. Taken together, the visualizations on a dynamic dashboard can help you find the story in your data. 

            One reason dashboards are so helpful is that they allow humans to partially ‘offload’ their thinking. Cognitive research has shown that human ‘working memory’ handles at most four items at a time. A good visualization, however, reduces the number of items to process in memory. 

            Consider a large table of carbon dioxide emissions by country for multiple years; it can be difficult to keep all the numbers in mind if you are trying to find trends.

            If you plot the data in a graph, however, each series of data in the chart becomes just one line on the graph. It is much easier to compare lines on the chart than to compare columns of numbers.

            Now consider making a map with countries color coded by emissions. Again, for each country, the map reduces multiple numbers to a single color for that country on the map. You can compare country colors more easily than columns of numbers.

            A dashboard that combines multiple visualizations further enhances data analysis. Imagine a dynamic dashboard showing you both the emissions chart and map described above. If you select a country on the map, the chart can highlight the line for that country, so you compare its emissions to other countries over time. Similarly, if you select a line on the chart for a specific country, the map can highlight the selected country to show how its emissions compare to nearby countries. This interactivity lets you drill into your data more effectively than using either the chart or the map by itself.

            Here are three examples of effective dashboards that are available online:

            Locus includes data dashboards in our applications. One example is the Site Metrics dashboard in EIM, Locus’s cloud-based, software-as-a-service application for environmental data management. The Site Metrics dashboard lets you perform roll-up queries across your portfolio of sites. A map on the dashboard shows all states with active sites. If you select one or more states, the dashboard updates the charts and tables on the right to show total sites, user logins, and record counts. Other dashboards can support showing sample locations of certain chemicals or counts of regulatory limit exceedances.

            A further example comes from the Locus Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) application. ESG metrics are becoming increasingly important measures for an organization’s performance. Data dashboards can help companies quickly visualize trends in their ESG metrics using intuitive mapping tools.

            This dashboard illustrates both spatial and time trends and provides the raw data necessary for auditability and transparent decision making. Having these features on a single combined view provides users with instant access to the key inputs for ESG prioritization, planning, and project implementation.

            As these examples from Locus show, data dashboards with integrated mapping are important tools for maximizing the value of your collected environmental and ESG data. For any dataset with a geographic component, it’s important to incorporate mapping elements in the outputs, to highlight trends and patterns that may not otherwise be visible in a chart or table. Modern software can combine these output formats in a way that tells the story shown by your data.


            Interested in Locus’ GIS solutions?

            Locus GIS+ features all of the functionality you love in EIM’s classic Google Maps GIS for environmental management—integrated with the powerful cartography, interoperability, & smart-mapping features of Esri’s ArcGIS platform!

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            [sc_image width=”150″ height=”150″ src=”16303″ style=”11″ position=”centered” disable_lightbox=”1″ alt=”Dr. Todd Pierce”]

            About the Author—Dr. Todd Pierce, Locus Technologies

            Dr. Pierce manages a team of programmers tasked with development and implementation of Locus’ EIM application, which lets users manage their environmental data in the cloud using Software-as-a-Service technology. Dr. Pierce is also directly responsible for research and development of Locus’ GIS (geographic information systems) and visualization tools for mapping analytical and subsurface data. Dr. Pierce earned his GIS Professional (GISP) certification in 2010.