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Environmental Industry Software: A Growing Data Management Challenge

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY, SILICON VALLEY, Calif., 9 April 2008 — Bay Area based Locus Technologies is in large part responsible for the creation of an emerging technical sector— the storage and management of environmental industry data. Even conservative estimates project rapid growth in the environmental information arena, with an increasing need for software tools to store, manage and manipulate data. Such data includes the massive amount of complex information collected during environmental cleanup projects, air emissions, greenhouse gasses monitoring, and other activities, which in past practice was stored in various distributed locations from spreadsheets to PDAs to field notebooks. Locus stores environmental industry data in an online central database, making it accessible via the Web and available for analysis, visualization, and reporting, leveraging Web 2.0 technologies such as Service Oriented Architecture, mashups, and vertical searches.

 

ABOUT DR. DUPLAN
Carnegie Melon alumnus Dr. Neno Duplan is the founder and CEO of Locus Technologies where he has
pioneered the application of an Internet based on-demand computing model for data management in the
environmental industry.

Dr. Duplan is the author of more than 30 technical papers on the use of technologies in the environmental
industry. As a research associate at Carnegie Mellon in the early eighties, he developed the first prototype system
for environmental and geological data management and display using microcomputers. This early work led to the
development of numerous database management systems at some of the nation’s largest contaminated sites, and
ultimately to the formation of Locus Technologies in 1997.

Dr. Duplan earned a Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, Master’s and
Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil
Engineering from the University of Split, Croatia. He attended Stanford University’s Advance Project Management
program, and has taught classes at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., August 25, 2007 — The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) selected Locus Technologies to perform a study of potential groundwater impacts from expanded use of recycled water for irrigation in the Santa Clara and Llagas Groundwater Sub-basins, California.

For this project, Locus will be using several investigative techniques to assess the potential impact to groundwater from use of recycled water. In addition to fate and transport evaluation of recycled water chemicals of concern, such as NDMA, HAA5, and trace metals, Locus will perform soil core bench tests and conduct a full-scale pilot test to monitor chemical concentrations as recycled water percolates through the vadose zone. From these tests, Locus will assess the soil aquifer treatment capacity, evaluate the potential of recharged recycled water to degrade the groundwater quality, and develop water quality standards for the recycled water to be used in the Llagas and Santa Clara Groundwater Sub-basins. To help the stakeholders in their practice, Locus will identify best management practices for irrigating with recycled water and identify necessary ongoing monitoring requirements to protect groundwater resources.

This award cements Locus’s reputation as a company on the forefront of the high-end environmental consulting business on complex groundwater problems.

“This is an important win for us at the time when companies and government are under pressure to achieve sustainability goals,” said Mr. Elie Haddad, Vice President of Locus’s Environmental Services Division. “On one hand, there is a push to reuse recycled water, and, on the other hand, this reuse should not degrade our precious groundwater resources. Our study will bring the balance between what seems to be competing goals. We are very pleased to be selected through a competitive bidding process by SCVWD for this important groundwater study. We look forward to continue partnering with industry and local governmental agencies to protect the precious Silicon Valley groundwater resources and provide long term stewardship for this most important resource.” added Haddad.

Project execution will come primarily from Locus’s office in Mountain View, California.

Greening of America Through On-Demand Software

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 2, 2007 — Locus Technologies (Locus), the industry leader in Web-based environmental data and information management services, will join Global Change Associates and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP to promote a seminar on carbon trading and finance. The seminar will be held on July 17, 2007, at Pillsbury’s San Francisco office at 50 Fremont Street.

Led by carbon markets experts Peter C. Fusaro and Jay Gould, partner and co-leader of Pillsbury’s Investment Funds & Investment Management Team, the seminar, “Carbon Trading is the Missing Link in Clean Tech Investment,” will explore what role carbon trading plays in clean technology investment and how to establish a successful carbon hedge fund.

“This is the second in a series of clean technology investment seminars we are hosting with Pillsbury, which launched one of the first multidisciplinary climate change practices in the nation. We are very excited that Locus Technologies, the leader in environmental information management, will promote the seminar, as the information management component of carbon trading is an important factor to consider in implementing sound carbon strategy,” said Fusaro. “Our last seminar attracted more than 150 people as California continues to be the center of carbon market activity for the foreseeable future.”

“We see carbon emissions management as the next logical expansion of our highly successful LocusFocus environmental portal. Many of our Fortune 100 customers using LocusFocus for environmental data and information management will find it easy to expand in our on-demand portal to include management of greenhouse gases (GHG). Many of Locus’s customers are actively looking for the tools and advice to move forward and formulate real carbon strategies in advance of upcoming regulations. Once regulations are promulgated, companies could lose substantial dollars by not planning ahead for this change. Locus’s customers that are already engaged in this highly topical discussion and are prepared to adopt carbon management strategy at this time can leverage the LocusFocus environmental portal for GHG data management with minimal additional investment and provide their shareholders with transparency on this issue. This seminar is perfect forum to get up to speed and educated on this important matter, particularly for the companies with operations in California that will be subject to California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Assembly Bill No. 32 (AB32) relating to air pollution,” said Dr. Neno Duplancic, President and CEO of Locus Technologies.

The seminar will cover the basics of environmental trading, carbon trading and finance, some clean tech solutions, information management, how to implement a carbon reduction under the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and the basics of how to build a carbon fund.

GHG management will impose additional burden for environmental information management. Establishing a comprehensive GHG inventory is the foundation for future GHG management and compliance strategy. However, performing the GHG inventory can be a challenging process for many organizations, particularly for data acquisition, validation, and real time reporting. To make intelligent decisions about GHG management, clean energy, and other factors affecting the quality and sustainability of life, businesses and government entities must have better tools to manage and interpret this information in real time. Robust environmental information management systems are needed to store and analyze this data, and the LocusFocus environmental portal is a solution.

“Carbon trading is a new asset class for hedge fund finance and investment,” said Gould. “Indeed a recent report by the National Venture Capital Association showed that while U.S. venture capital investments, as a whole, were down by 33 percent in 2006, compared to five years ago, investments in American clean tech companies were up 243 percent in that time–more than two and a half times the growth rate of the next strongest industry over that period.”

 

ABOUT GLOBAL CHANGE ASSOCIATES INC.
Global Change Associates Inc. is a leading edge consultancy on energy and environmental financial markets based in New York lead by Peter C. Fusaro. Peter is the best selling author of “What Went Wrong at Enron” and a leading proponent of market-based solutions for environmental remediation. He created the annual Wall Street Green Trading Summit in New York each spring, and is recognized as an international leader in clean technology and emissions trading. He co-founded the Energy Hedge Fund Center in 2004.

Environmental Business Journal, Instruments and Information Systems


A growing need exists for a standardized format for transmitting environmental electronic data. There are more than 15 different standards in use in the U.S. alone, most of which are antiquated. Locus leverages the latest XML technology to drive standard consolidation and ease of use.


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 30 2007 — Locus Technologies (Locus), the industry leader in web-based environmental data management software, announced today the release of a set of its first standard Electronic Data Deliverable (EDD) formats for the reporting of environmental laboratory analytical data. With the recent signings of several large Fortune 100 clients, and the upcoming tenfold increase in the number of sites with data in the company’s flagship product, EIM™, a growing need exists for a standardized format for transmitting electronic data. Several EDD formats already exist in the environmental industry—some promulgated by government agencies—and others by vendors of commercial software products. However, some of these format “standards” suffer from the requirement that data be submitted in multiple files, while other formats, have antiquated requirements related to field lengths or valid values that originated at a time when hard disk space was at a premium.

Locus’s Extensible Markup Language (XML) formatted single-file standard EDD allows for much more flexibility in file structure, because the data self-identifies each field using labels to bracket its contents. The content is similar and compliant with the (Staged Electronic Data Deliverable (SEDD) format. SEDD is an inter-agency effort spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to create a generic XML-based format for electronic delivery of analytical data for environmental industry.

To simplify the work of legacy systems, Locus is also releasing an EDD standard format, which consists of 53 explicitly defined fields maintained in a single file. Clients may request that additional custom fields be included to meet specific agency, the major state submission, or project requirements. The selection of the fields that are included in the Locus EIM EDD format was based on input from Locus’s user community and experts in analytical data management, as well as a review of the most popular currently used EDDs. The contents of the format permit data to be validated to EPA Level II, if a customer so desires. Locus envisions this format to be transitional for the companies and laboratories that are not yet ready to adopt XML-based technology, but are tired of dealing with multiple and antiquated file formats, which only serve to increase IT costs.

Since the release of EIM in 1999, Locus has allowed companies to design their own EDD formats, and Locus will continue to support this flexibility in its systems. However, Locus believes that the promulgation of a standardized format will allow laboratories to reduce the costs of creating EDDs, minimize errors in the reporting of data, and more quickly support new EIM clients.

“As the leader in environmental data management software, Locus strives to provide guidance, direction, and endorsement to the best ideas in an effort to standardize data management processes. Currently, there are more than 15 different standards for analytical data submittals, and this needs to change,” said Locus’s president and CEO, Neno Duplancic. “We believe that the standards we are releasing today, one transitional and one XML-based, will take steps toward achieving that goal and will help drive uniformity in the marketplace. With more than 35,000 sites reporting through LocusFocus EIM, Locus customers represent the largest users of environmental lab data, so this effort should help drive consolidation of the standards. Locus is committed to meeting all federal and state EDDs and leading the industry in reducing proliferation of incompatible formats by strongly endorsing XML-based SEDD standards,” added Duplancic.

Locus’s XML-based EDD accepts files in Stage 2a SEDD format, which contains the basic analytical results (including the sample ID, analyte, result, and qualifier) plus method quality control data. The EIM import module includes data verification and consistency checks outlined in the Document Type Definition (DTD) for Stage 2a, as well as forms for viewing the data in the imported SEDD file. Both formats can be downloaded for free from the Locus’s website at www.locustec.com.

The Leader in On-Demand Environmental Information Management

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 17, 2006 — Locus Technologies, the industry leader in on-demand environmental information management, announced today a limited time promotion for new customers to try Locus’s popular on-demand analytical data management software (EIM™). From now until the end of the year, Locus will offer free data loading for up to five (5) sites for any new customer who signs up for its on-demand environmental data management services. Locus is making this offer to encourage companies to try, risk-free, a whole new way of managing environmental data on the web.

Data management practices in the environmental industry have lagged far behind other more-visible departments in most companies. In the age of instant funds transfer, online banking, electronic data transfers, wireless Internet, and sophisticated enterprise data systems, it is, unfortunately, still common for mission-critical environmental data to be delivered via hard-copy mail and hand-keyed into simple desktop spreadsheets managed by various consultants with offices across the country. Even in the best of circumstances, data are attached to insecure emails and stored in custom-designed, single-use databases with limited, if any, access by the data owners and multiple project participants.

Locus is changing this paradigm and shaking up the environmental industry by delivering sophisticated, robust enterprise environmental data management tools on-line and ondemand to the marketplace. Locus’s EIM environmental data system combines one of the most advanced and robust databases with a full-featured front end to deliver an unequalled set of services to a sector long ignored. And all of this is offered online, on-demand, 24/7, anywhere in the world–meaning that no hardware or software investment is required, no installation is needed, and no IT department services are necessary. Just sign up, log in and start realizing what some of America’s largest companies have already discovered. Locus is offering free data loading to encourage companies to try a better approach that will forever change the way they manage data.

“We are continually surprised by the state of environmental data management in the environmental industry. Customers routinely come to us with boxes of CDs, faxes of report data tables, and hard-copy lab reports and tell us these are critical data for the closure of their environmental sites–sites that carry many millions of dollars of liability for the company for which they spent millions collecting the data. Locus helps customers migrate and organize their data quickly and effectively, so they can optimize the value they receive from Locus’s on-demand EIM software. Once uploaded to EIM, everyone can work from a single, centralized database and never again deal with inconsistent and inaccessible data,” said Neno Duplancic, President and CEO of Locus.

Locus’s on-demand model is an innovative, low-risk, and flexible solution for laboratories, consultants, regulatory agencies, potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and companies that own environmentally impacted sites. With little up-front investment, customers can take control of their data, rid themselves of the current inefficient and insecure practices, and start enjoying the benefits of EIM’s versatile and proven set of tools to manage, view, and
report their data. EIM organizes environmental data and automates analytical data management, from laboratory electronic data submittals and regulatory agency reporting to exciting data visualization in real-time through Google maps. EIM is the only system in the marketplace that has been serving environmental data on the web continuously more than 8 years.

You owe it to your company, and yourself, to try Locus’s EIM, and we are making it simple and risk-free with this offer. Please read the “fine print” for offer conditions and exclusions.

Fine Print: For a limited time, Locus is offering free upload of historical analytical data into our EIM system, free of charge. Maximum five (5) sites per customer. The offer is valid until 31 December 2006. To qualify for this offer, you must sign a 1-year hosted service contract with Locus and provide your data to Locus in one of the following electronic formats: EQuIS, GISKey, Terrabase, Access, Oracle, SQL database, Excel spreadsheet, flat ASCI file, or similar. A separate arrangement can be made for paper-based data. Locus’s existing customers are ineligible for this offer.

Environmental Business Journal

Read the Press Release Here

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., 12 May 2005 — Locus Technologies, the industry leader in environmental information management, announced today a new “On-demand” pricing model for its popular analytical data management software (EIM™). This is the first truly on-demand solution for the environmental industry, allowing clients to pay for environmental software, much like one would pay for electricity. Up until now, the most common means for procuring software was to buy a shrink-wrapped product or develop an in-house proprietary system. Both of these approaches are expensive and usually require the involvement of IT departments to administer the system and apply upgrades and bug fixes. The Locus way negates the need for such work and, instead, allows users to access their data and any needed software over the web. Clients pay for only what they use, typically on a per-record basis.

Locus’s on-demand model is an innovative, low-risk, and flexible solution for laboratories, consultants, regulatory agencies, and clients. With little up-front investment, clients can rid themselves of the headaches of administering their own systems and begin using EIM’s versatile and proven set of tools to manage and view their data, typically within 24 hours from placing an order. These tools, which include a flexible and powerful data loader and state-of-the-art data visualization and charting modules, have won widespread praise from engineers, geologists, managers, chemists, and other environmental professionals.

In the software industry, the “on-demand” movement is beginning to take root in an ever growing number of fields as companies move away from expensive, customized products that they own and manage toward standardized, componentized, and lower-cost services that are obtained from an external provider. In the Locus On-demand model, customers can use the On-demand service for one site or all sites in their portfolio. The customer decides how much, what they need, and how much they pay.

Locus’s President and CEO, Dr. Neno Duplancic, said, “The appeal of the model to our customers stems from a combination of cost savings, convenience, ease of use, and simply better data management practices. Customers also benefit from a rolling upgrade program; standardization of data management practices across sites, divisions, and consultants; the ability to query across many sites; and ultimately, ownership of their own data. We are particularly excited about this business model and our ability to serve the consultant sector of the environmental industry. Consulting firms will be able to directly identify data management costs on a per-site and by-use basis. This will allow them to parse these line item costs back to a project at a very cost-effective price.”

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., 6 October 2004  — Locus Technologies (Locus), the leader in environmental information management, today announced that it has expanded its award winning, web-based Environmental Information Management™ (EIM™) system to include the ability to generate on-the-fly boring logs and soil profiles using the Scaleable Vector Graphics (SVG) format. SVG supports dynamic, high-quality graphics that can be generated from real-time data and displayed in a web browser.

Previously, geological data needed to be entered into various expensive software applications to display the information, but did not have the ability to correlate geological and analytical information. These data types had to be downloaded, merged, and analyzed as precious time was lost and consulting hours piled up. The new SVG application, an integrated module in Locus’s EIM, is completely web-based to instantly deliver, sort, and assemble information into highly nuanced reports, boring logs, cross sections, charts, and maps, including raster image overlays, and pictures. Beyond the usual display of boring log data, the log can also display soil and groundwater analytical data and provides interactive drill-down capability for in-depth analysis. Best of all, report-quality geotechnical logs can be printed out with the click of a mouse, further streamlining a previously inefficient process. Much of the system’s power and ease of use is in the speed and flexibility with which it delivers information. Unlike other image formats, SVG image resolution is scalable and does not degrade with enlargement.

“SVG provides a highly suitable tool for real-time display of subsurface data with incredible speed,” says Dr. Neno Duplancic, President and CEO of Locus. “Locus has successfully used SVG for the basis of EIM’s mapping module, and we are excited to bring SVG to the display of complex geotechnical data through boring logs and soil profiles. Furthermore, all of this exciting functionality comes without the need to store large image files on the server end,thus minimizing storage and Internet traffic requirements. By exploiting this exciting new web-based technology, Locus intends to stay at the forefront of web-based display of environmental information by putting inexpensive GIS capabilities on every desktop,” adds Dr. Duplancic.

ENR Magazine

23 December 2002 — When the Lucchini Group of Italy embarked on acquisition strategy to become the largest long-steel products company in Europe, it acquired the environmental liabilities of steel plants across Europe.

Lucchini’s acquisition of France’s Ascometal in 1999 was a centerpiece in its growth strategy. However, the company also gained ownership of a number of sites – some originating from the time of Napoleon – that had been the subjects of many environmental investigations. Lucchini needed to quickly digest and organize the data from these studies to ensure compliance with emerging European Union environmental laws and regulations.

 

Enter Locus and the Internet
Lucchini recognized the benefits of the Internet for managing their burgeoning amounts of environmental data. To meet their need, Lucchini turned to Locus Technologies who was building the first Web-based, enterprise-level environmental information management system (EIM) to server companies such as FMC, Union Pacific Railroad, Philips Semiconductor, Waste Management, and Schlumberger, and its alliance partner, Alstom Power.

Instead of leaving data and reports buried in offices across Europe, Locus’ EIM system and LocusFocus provided Lucchini with a central repository that can be accessed via the Internet any time, from anywhere. “Lucchini cut its environmental costs and standardized its information management processes by deploying LocusFocus,” said Dr. Francesco Caforio, director of Lucchini’s environmental programs in Paris, France. “The system has also provided us with due diligence cost reduction on the M&A front.”

EIM has the capabilities engineers, scientists, and managers require: access to lists of methods and chemicals, a planning module, forms for entering field data, a utility to upload electronic data deliverables (EDDs), and an extensive reporting and plotting module. However, it also has less common components, such as a calendar module for viewing information on sampling events and uploaded EDDs, emailing capabilities, an electronic data verification and validation module, a customizable EDD loader, and a flexible cross-tab report writer.

The system also include eGIS-SVG, a new way to view site maps and data, based on scalable vector graphics, the emerging standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium for viewing graphical information over the Internet.

 

Electronic Glue
Communications technologies, such as XML and Web Services, can knit the different parts of fragmented environmental business into a more coherent whole. “The key,” said Mr. Chris French of Honeywell, a company that recently entered into Beta testing of Locus’ EIM system, and itself a leader in applying digitization to all its business processes, “is to standardize, automate and centralize the fragmented array of company-wide and outside consultants information systems, utilizing metrics to quantify the business case. Our six sigma examination shows substantial variability in the quality, efficiency, and cost of current “silo” data management systems. Pilot testing has shown the potential for substantial downstream cost savings by digitizing and standardizing the process through the adoption of systems such as LocusFocus.