Introducing LSPECS – Web-Based Integrated Field Program Management
LSPECS (Laboratory Sample Planning Electronic COC and Signoff) is web-based, robust, updatable software that allows program managers to design, delegate and manage field programs from a single interface, thereby increasing efficiency, and reducing management/administration time (and therefore reducing cost).
LSPECS has been developed as an extension of ESdat and integrates seamlessly with ESdat, providing complete control of field program planning, implementation review and analysis of results. It can be hosted internally by users, or a Software as Service version is also pending.
LSPECS, in combination with the tablet based PLog Environmental for electronic field data collection, provides a complete data tracking and management system. Preparation, implementation validation and reporting stages of field program are centralised. Electronic storage of program information reduces the potential for error.
LSPECS represents a step-change in field sampling program communication and administration at all stages:
- Define Sites and Sample Locations
- Sampling and Analysis Plan incl QA
- Assessment Criteria
- Event Recurrance
- Record Field data electronically via PLog, Web Portal, up retype from paper
Post Field Work/Office
- Confirm Laboratory Laboratory Request
- Confirm SRN
- Track Progress
- Review & approve lab results and QA
Figure 1: LSPECS and PLog flow diagram demonstrating the different stages of field program planning, implementation and post field analysis.
WHY DEVELOP LSPECS?
Management of environmental sampling programs is often complex and time consuming. This complexity can be exacerbated if managing multiple programs for multiple sites and multiple clients.
EarthScience Information Systems (EScIS) have developed LSPECS to simplify the timely and accurate delivery of environmental field sampling programs.
Administration, delegation and oversight of the implementation of programs can soak up valuable time better spent achieving the scientific objectives and importantly, interpreting outcomes of a program.
Coordinating field resources. Tracking progress. Flagging exceedances. Responding to triggers. Meeting deadlines. Communicating with labs.
Managing these important components of successful field events (plus the myriad we haven’t listed!) has often meant rapidly shifting between different disconnected information sources, such as spreadsheets, proposals, emails, calendars and white boards (to name a few).
In addition, mid-stream changes to scope or timing can have broad ranging implications on resourcing and cost. Changes requiring adaptation during a program lifecycle can impact on successful program delivery if not managed adequately.
LSPECs helps you meet these challenges by centralising management of field programs into a single, easy to use interface.
WHO SHOULD USE LSPECS?
LSPECS has been developed to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of individuals or organisations involved in conducting any kind of environmental sampling.
Typical users might include:
- Manage all sampling events ranging from single event investigations to long term, multi-site national monitoring programs
Facility Owners & Managers
- Mine sites, Landfills, Upstream & Downstream oil & gas facilities – manage both internal team members and external consultants
- Clearly define and communicate scope for RFTs that flow through to real projects.
Auditors & Third Party Reviewers
- Receive notification and details of sampling events before they occur for easy review and approval
Planning Field Events
LSPECS allows field program managers to develop multiple Monitoring Programs (or Sampling Plans) from a single interface.
LSPECS has been developed to be used for any environmental matrix (or combination), such as soil, surface water, groundwater, sediment, soil vapour, stack, air and dust.
Sampling locations, required field parameters and analytical suites are determined and relevant standards/guidelines can be nominated, all through LSPECS.
Analytical laboratories can be selected and quality control / quality assurance programs defined. A graphical interface allows sample locations to be reviewed prior to commencing the field program.
Tailored Site Configuration
One of the most powerful features of LSPECS is the ability to accommodate different site configurations.
LSPECS can manage Monitoring Programs designed for large sites containing multiple sub-sites (such as mine sites) or for many small sites spread over a large (such as a nationally distributed network of service stations or depots).
For managers of assets (or associated consultants) with requirements for Monitoring Programs and/or field sampling events, LSPECS centralises control, reduces administration and management time (and therefore cost) and helps minimise risk of error.
Following development of a Monitoring Program, individual field events (Monitoring Rounds) can be delegated electronically to nominated field staff. Field staff can view delegated tasks using LSPECS through the web, or via a synced tablet using the PLog software.
Notifications and reminders of delegated events are also sent to field staff via email, who are required to actively accept the notification. This process can be automated for Monitoring Programs comprising multiple events (such as regular well gauging events).
A schedule of delegated (past, current and future) field events can be viewed by the Program Manager using a Gantt-chart style calendar, allowing overview of progress.
Figure 2: The LSPECS ’Dashboard view’
The Dashboard view provides the user with a view of Active Monitoring rounds, with details of delegation, completion status and links to other sections and functions of LSPECS.
Figure 3: LSPECS Monitoring Program Schedule Planner
As an alternative to the Dashboard view, the user can toggle between the dashboard view and the calendar view of field programs presented in a format similar to the widely used Gantt chart.
Completed field events are shown as on time, completed early or completed late.
In the Field
Field data, such as field parameters and observations, and sample identification can be recorded on site while field work is in progress, using the PLog tablet. Internet connection is not required on site, as the information collected on the tablet using PLog can be synced once an internet connection is re-established.
As an alternative to using PLog on site, field data can also be entered directly into LSPECS on-line. Anticipated ranges of parameter measurements can be pre-set in LSPECS to trigger instantaneous review of potentially erroneous data.
Figure 4: PLog sampling plan dashboard snapshot
Ad-Hoc Sampling Events
Not all environmental sampling events are forward planned, such as when responding to an emergency or some other irregular trigger.
LSPECS has been designed to accommodate the need for a quick creation of sampling plans, either from the office or while in the field.
Ad-hoc sampling events can be created targeting existing locations at a site, such as groundwater wells or established surface water sampling locations. Alternatively, new locations can be created in the field as sampling takes place.
Details of pending analysis requests can be forwarded to the lab ahead of the samples to allow labs to respond to fast requests turnaround if required.
Post Field – Laboratory Submissions
Once sampling is complete, laboratory analysis is selected though LSPECS and an electronic chain of custody generated, referencing any required project specific laboratory quote.
Primary and secondary laboratories can be nominated, sample receipt contact details defined and project specific instructions forwarded with the COCs. Quality assurance samples are nominated for analysis and duplicate samples can reconciled with parent samples within LSPECS (this information is withheld from the laboratory).
Post Field – Reviewing Laboratory Results
Laboratory results (reports) upload automatically to LSPECS and reconcile with field details. Multiple laboratory report results can be viewed in a single chemistry exceedence table within LSPECS allowing rapid identification results of specific interest.
Exceedences of criteria are easily highlighted (by colour or font) and comments inserted within the table. Tables can be exported to Excel for printing (or to generate pdf files).
This data tabulation functionality is the on-line equivalent of that already available in ESdat.
Quality control and assurance results can be reviewed and direct, traceable feedback can be sent to the field team or analytical laboratory within minutes of receiving results.
Figure 5: Example of Chemistry Table view from within LSPECS
For further information regarding any of the EScIS suite of environmental data management software, including software demonstrations, please contact:
EScIS Senior Implementation Manager