Land Use Clarity via Advanced Mapping

Do you use Esri’s ArcGIS Field Maps? Use Ecobot alongside ArcGIS Field Maps enables environmental consultants to streamline field data collection for wetland projects, make the data collected more accurate and robust, and easily collaborate with teammates.

This topic was covered in the 23rd episode of Ecobot’s webinar series, Convergence of Wetland Science and Technology. View recorded episodes here.

Topics

  • Overview of technology in wetlands
  • Esri ArcGIS Field Maps capabilities
  • Ecobot and ArcGIS Field Maps

Moderator Jeremy Schewe, PWS, Chief Scientist, Ecobot 

Presenters & Panelists Sarah Saint-Ruth, Senior Project Manager – Field Maps, Esri 

Ecobot and Esri share a history of partnership.

Tech in Wetlands

The Data Ecosystem for Wetland Science

The data ecosystem for wetland technology includes GPS receivers, GNSS receivers, and field applications including GIS software. These pieces fit together to “help us tell a better story of a place, whether from the regulatory side, the conservation side, or the interweaving of all those together, with these powerful tools augmented by satellites, drone technology, and lots of other subtle tools that help fit into this ecosystem,” says Jeremy Schewe, PWS, Chief Scientist at Ecobot. Today’s conversation focuses on field applications.

Drones

Increasingly more organizations are exploring the utilization of drones to gather information such as LiDAR data. Satellite imagery, available from both public and private sectors, can also provide high-resolution data. These tools “are playing a very important role in the collection of data for wetlands and other natural areas,” says Schewe, but “it does not replace the necessity for boots on the ground.”

GPS and GNSS Receivers

GPS units have developed rapidly in recent years, transitioning from large units into more compact ones that are Bluetooth-enabled and pair directly with phones, tablets, or iPads. This in turn augments the user’s experience with field applications like ArcGIS Field Maps and Ecobot. GIS software then enables the scientist to model and convey data geospatially.

Mobile Applications

Mobile applications and management software like Ecobot and ArcGIS Field Maps bolster efficiency in the field by enabling greater accuracy and data normalization, allowing automated calculations and population of location data, and providing robust mapping and geospatial data. Additionally, field applications make collaboration easier than ever.

ArcGIS Field Maps

“The ArcGIS system is completely configurable,” says Sarah Saint-Ruth, Senior Project Manager of Field Maps at Esri. “You can design field workflows to match the exact requirements of your organization to meet regulations.”

ArcGIS Field Maps is utilized by organizations internationally and across industries. The platform has five high-level capabilities:

  • Coordination of teams to know exactly what they need to do in the field
  • Navigation to and around the project site
  • Awareness of location to facilitate the job
  • Data capture in the field and editing capabilities
  • Evaluation, the step between the field and office, which involves getting the data into the right people’s hands efficiently, and then analyzing and reporting on it to eventually make decisions

ArcGIS Field Maps was created to give mobile teams a tool to facilitate data capture and digital representation. It was built to be accessible to team members with or without GIS training, such that it’s intuitive to use and immediately streamlines the data collection workflow. 

It’s key that ArcGIS Field Maps allows synchronicity between the office and field teams, enabling real-time data to optimize field activities. Additionally, location-sharing can help boost worker safety in a case where someone goes into the field alone, for example. In questions of compliance, the coverage of field activities is proof that the work was done. In situations where cellular service is weak or unavailable, the platform works offline.

Field Maps is part of the ArcGIS system, so once a user shares data, it creates what’s called a “web map,” which gives the same view to anyone accessing that user’s information. This is crucial when coordinating activities between teams, and making decisions. This reduces processing time and removes the need for different systems.

The many integrations and compatible applications streamline things even further. ArcGIS Workforce, for example, works alongside Field Maps and provides a to-do list for the user. GPS and GNSS devices, laser rangefinders, and other tools can be integrated. Then, different mechanisms within the platform automate what to do with field data that is ingested.

To view Saint-Ruth’s demonstration of ArcGIS Field Maps for Conservation Easements and T&E Habitat Capture, click here for access to the webinar recording.

Integration with Ecobot Ecobot is currently specific to the workflow for projects related to Waters of the United States (WOTUS). “Where Ecobot and Field Maps fit together really well is the precision-level mapping modeling, and offline utilization, and then being able to compile all of the data necessary for the Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Form,” Schewe says. Ecobot is launching an even deeper integration with ArcGIS Online, such that users will be able to upload results directly. 

Once finished with field data collection, Schewe transitions from the mobile application to the Ecobot web dashboard, where he can view a geospatial model of his datapoints on a map, as well as QA his points and generate his USACE forms, Shapefiles, and more. Additionally, Ecobot automatically compiles a list of nearby mitigation banks pulled directly from the RIBITS database (Regulatory In lieu fee and Bank Information Tracking System), and generates a vegetation species list for monitoring purposes. 

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Ecobot is a cloud-based platform that optimizes data collection and management for environmental permits, supporting efficiency and accuracy during fieldwork and post-processing. Ecobot helps customers deliver data consistency across a distributed workforce and enables them to utilize data in a variety of contexts. Ecobot is used by customers at the top AEC (architectural, engineering construction) and natural resources consulting firms; by numerous counties, state and federal departments of transportation (DOT); the mitigation banking industry; and utility, energy, and oil and gas companies.

Ecobot Collector, the mobile app component of the platform, is available for iOS via the Apple App Store, and for Android devices on the Google Play Store. Ecobot is an Esri Partner.
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