Environmental engineering is a role unlike any other; it has spanned throughout human civilization and been responsible for some of its most remarkable feats. Today, the occupation remains just as integral to society, especially as the human population continues to grow and expand. While new challenges continue to arise, there is, fortunately, an increasing arsenal of technological tools and resources available to help conquer them. Chief among them is mapping software.
As surveying and mapping are foundational aspects of environmental engineering, it is critical that they are approached with the best possible resources in order to envision, plan and achieve the ideal result, for any project. While there is no shortage of mapping software options available, how can you be sure of what to look for when selecting yours? While it is true that many of these programs accomplish the same theoretical function, there is a significant and notable disconnect between them as far as functionality, ease of use, support and more. When embarking on complex projects, often with important long-term implications, it is imperative to use the software that most empowers engineering teams and firms.
Here are a few key features and functions to look for in your new software:
To effectively work with the earth and its landscape, it must be perceived and analyzed in the clearest and most realistic manner possible. This can be achieved with programs that offer multiple types of mapping options that include contour maps. Whether you are examining water systems to identify its routes, or examining potential sources of ground pollution, contour maps can provide illuminating data, as well as a clear visualization of how that data changes over time. You can get more out of contour maps still by choosing software that offers multi-dimensional modeling which enables you to explore spatial changes and relationships as well.
A powerful and sought-after tool absent from many programs is the ability to grid easily, whether dealing with data from monitoring wells or soil sample sites. The ideal program allows you to enter your data directly. This is how you can create your contour maps or visualize your data in a way that will provide the most value and instill confidence in your results. Look for an option that provides multiple interpolation methods that allow the gridding of all data, whether it is regularly or irregularly spaced. From kriging to local polynomial to the Modified Shepherd's Method and beyond, be sure to equip your team with the tools needed for powerful and time-efficient gridding.
Customization & Exporting
It's important to tell the story of your data the right way, so explore options that allow you to easily customize your maps and data with text blocks, legends and more. Many professionals in the industry are prevented from achieving the full extent of their desired customization by their current software. It can often be difficult to make customizations to maps or models themselves, which instead requires complex and abstract menu-based options that are difficult to find, learn and remember. Similarly, it can be helpful to have simple and user-friendly export options that allow you to quickly and easily retrieve your information in the form of a 3D PDF, PowerPoint presentation or any number of other formats that will suit your purposes.
As more people from the environmental engineering industry rise to take back the power from big developers by creating their own software, current engineers can improve their results tremendously by applying it to their work. There are many exciting developments on the horizon thanks to industry-savvy developers like these, such as ways to manage databases and datasets coming from drill sampling wells or boreholes, which allows users to map them directly to the software itself.
If you'd like to learn more about mapping software designed by and for people in the industry, contact Golden Software today.