Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ecology’s Techie Tools Improve Efficiency, Customer Service

By Barbara MacGregor, Web Communications Manager

screen grab from Ecology's Facility/Site Database
You've likely heard the commercial that says, "We've got an app for that." Well, here at Ecology we have apps for a lot of our information, too, along with the databases and innovative technological tools that help us organize and access critical information.

These apps and databases help improve agency efficiencies and make our information more easily accessible to the public.

Ecology’s Water Quality program is using PARIS to make it easy for operations with water quality pemits to file their required discharge monitoring reports online.

The soon-to-be-live Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Coastal Atlas Public Access tool will allow users to go online and not only find local beaches but also get information about water quality and recreational opportunities.

The Water Resources Program's new Webmaps showcases water right information statewide and for the Office of Columbia River. The public can use these webmaps to locate water right information on their own, thereby freeing up Ecology staff time.

New tools help Ecology work more efficiently

Internally, the Photo and Image Management System (PIMS) helps organize and safely store photos and graphics. Previously, photos were kept on shared network drives, on hard drives, and on disks.

Ecology's Environmental Information Management System (EIM) is Ecology's main database for environmental monitoring data. It currently holds about 10 million records (and growing) on physical, chemical, and biological analyses and measurements. The data is used by Ecology staff for environmental modeling, site cleanup determination, rule making, and special projects like water quality assessment.

The new Groundwater System enables Ecology hydrogeologists to easily enter, search, map, and download information specific to groundwater, including well construction, water level, and water quality data.

The Facility/Site tool contains a wealth of information about facilities and sites around the state and can help answer questions such as "What activities occur at the facility I'm about to visit? Are there any photos of the facility? What permits does it hold and from which programs? Who's been there recently?"

These are just a few of the technological advances Ecology uses to work more efficiently and to improve our customer service.

> > Visit this website to learn about other ways Ecology saves time and money.

No comments: