By Luke Carothers

As the AEC industry plans for the future, there is a question that still needs to be answered: how can we plan our infrastructure growth to protect our natural resources from climate change?  One sector working on this issue is environmental regulation.  However, as experts work to solve climate change-related issues, environmental regulation and the larger industry have been slow to adapt new technologies that would aid them in the process.

In addition to issues adapting technologies, government environmental regulations in the United States have changed in recent years to favor quicker, cheaper projects rather than taking significant environmental concerns into account.  

According to Jeremy Schewe and Lee Lance of Ecobot, there is a need for better technology that gives more access to information,  allowing professionals in the industry to make better decisions in regards to mitigating climate change.  Jeremy Schewe, PWS,  is the Chief Scientific Officer of Ecobot and Lee Lance is Ecobot’s CEO.  The two believe that the environmental regulatory industry is largely stuck in the same methods it used in the 1970s.  These methods, such as taking paper notes in the field and transcribing them later in the office, need to be replaced by more digitized solutions.  To compound this issue,  the firms who are using digitized software are using a “mish-mash of technology solutions.”  These technology solutions are not necessarily compatible with one another, leading to inefficiencies and errors that should not be present in the digital age.

Both Schewe and Lance agree that their company can be at the forefront of this movement.  Ecobot is a Wetland Delineation App.  According to their website, they are the only natural resources consulting platform or software to bring true efficiency and accuracy to wetland scientists at AEC firms and a number of other agencies. Ecobot is also an Esri Startup Partner.

“Both Esri and Ecobot technologies are allowing the AEC industry to plan more effectively in respect to known natural resources and features, as well as the human-shaped landscape. Esri’s tools allow for a broad sweep of smart resilience planning with geospatial awareness,” said Jeremy Schewe, PWS, Chief Scientific Officer of Ecobot, “and Ecobot turns boots on the ground into normalized, quality-assured digital information that massively speeds the regulatory process.”

“Not only do we need to accurately and swiftly gather regulatory-driven natural resources data, but this data gathered for regulatory purposes is vital to the work that planners and civil engineers do as part of this infrastructure boom,” said Lee Lance, CEO of Ecobot. “Ecobot digitizes field information and makes it more readily available to the rest of the construction workflow.”

As the conversation around climate change continues to move towards the center of conversation within the AEC industry, the need for further digitalization and technological enhancement is a necessity.  Working with georeferenced tools, such as Ecobot, will allow firms to refine their understanding of what exists in the natural environment to responsibly mitigate and plan for the environmental impact of the coming surge in infrastructure development.


Luke Carothers is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at lcarothers@zweiggroup.com.

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