We started outgrowing the garage in Golden! The engineering team is the first group to move to the temporary offices at Novel Coworking downtown Denver, and the others will follow later in the year.
Rest of SolSpec Team Moves Downtown
The engineering team got settled in just in time for the rest of the SolSpec team to join them at the Novel offices downtown Denver!
SolSpec Proud to Support Ropin’ Rascals
The team at SolSpec was proud to partner with the Huwa Enterprises companies and others to support the 2019 Ropin’ Rascals event! Ropin’ Rascals is an annual one-day sponsored children’s charity event that takes place at the Huwa family cattle ranch in Northeast Colorado. Special needs children get to become cowboys and cowgirls for a day and develop skills and memories to last a lifetime.
Learn more about Ropin’ Rascals, including information on how to volunteer or join the event.
Toby Kraft Speaks at Summit for Reclamation and Construction
Toby Kraft spoke about “Playing Offense and Being Industry Advocates” with Duraroot’s Aaron DeJoia at the Summit for Reclamation and Construction. The annual Summit, hosted by Huwa Enterprises in Keenesburg, Colorado, is a unique conference where professionals come together to learn, share, and network with industry experts dedicated to protecting the environment.
Bryan Crowe discussed pipeline and right-of-way integrity with EnerSys Corporation CEO Russel Treat on Pipeliners Podcast. Pipeliners Podcast invites pipeline industry leaders to share insight and expertise, and gives listeners the chance to learn about the latest information in the field and hear great conversations.
“Ground Movement and Pipeline Integrity with Bryan Crowe” was episode 81 for the podcast, and in their discussion Bryan and Russel went in-depth on soil movement, surface hydrology, and the impact of environmental hazards on safe and successful pipeline operations. Listen to the podcast episode to hear the full conversation!
West Moberly First Nations and SolSpec Canada Announce Joint Venture
Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations and Ryan Pelzel of SolSpec Canada (SOC) announced the establishment of the West Moberly SOC Joint Venture.
The West Moberly SOC Joint Venture was founded to pursue pipeline integrity business opportunities. WMFN and SOC share a fundamental dedication to respect, honesty, fairness, and integrity. Open communication is key to these values and our joint success, and just as West Moberly First Nations promotes openness and clarity in the community, SolSpec strives to increase transparency and improve the safety and efficiency of pipeline projects. Together we manifest our values and create real-world impacts for our respected clients and communities.
SolSpec Moves to Lakewood
Our time at Novel had its ups and downs. Beautiful spaces, an ideal kitchen/coffee/keg situation, and a location that couldn’t be beat for downtown. But after more than a few rounds with debris falling from the ceiling and noxious fumes, and elevators that were either non-functional or that took 10 minutes to get to the bottom floor, prompting walks up nine flights of stairs, it’s fair to say we were ready to move.
A big part of the SolSpec team made the move to Lakewood a success. We were once again in a temporary space, but just down the hall from our future home. Rachel Toupin and Youssef Benchouaf went above and beyond to make the new offices a cozy and productive space.
InterDrone: Expo Hall in Las Vegas
The team had a great presence at InterDrone! Angie Woodmansee and Robert Blank had three days of conversations with people at the SolSpec booth in the expo hall.
Also Angie was caught alone at the booth by a guy with his own media network asking for the one-minute pitch for SolSpec (Tugba was fixing some technical issues with the ipads that we were too busy to fix, she’s in the background). She’s only sharing this video in the spirit of showing everything we’ve done, and otherwise would make sure it never got more than the 43 views it’s had on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2AilTXaThA
InterDrone: Advancing Pipeline Safety
Toby Kraft and Todd Knapp from Hanging H presented as part of the Energy Inspection Enterprise track, with a talk titled “Advancing Pipeline Safety with Aerial Analytics and UAVs.” The response was extremely positive – people flooded the SolSpec booth after the talk and were motivated to learn more about what we do and what our excellent teams have produced.
Bryan Crowe’s interview with Our Great Minds was published under the Business/Industry Disrupters section. Here’s a snippet from the introduction: “Bryan is a great example of a young leader from the oil and gas industry that saw the advantages of digital transformation and IT modernization early on. He embraced it head on, and is now helping others like him embrace change, upskill teams and break down barriers to adopting technologies like UAVs, big data and AI to automate workflows for safer and much more efficient pipeline operations. Bryan is of the firm belief that digital transformation and modern technologies such as aerial analytics are enabling oil and gas companies to fully capitalize on the resources we have, be better stewards, and provide clean and dependable energy for the foreseeable future.”
Bryan Crowe spoke at the Technology Showcase at Shale Insights, held in Pittsburgh. With only 5 minutes to cover the material, Bryan presented a detailed but succinct overview of SolSpec’s Right-of-Way Integrity Management (RIM) program.
Kat Kraft and Angie Woodmansee had great conversations with people at the SolSpec booth over the course of two days, and made valuable connections with both attendees and other exhibitors. The event was a great success – both the presentation and the booth presence resulted in new business for SolSpec!
Random thoughts about Pittsburgh: A much lovelier city than anticipated, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. One odd thing: while shopping for a few items for the booth (Halloween candy draws people in), Kat and Angie had a first encounter with a shopping cart escalator:
UAV Expo: SolSpec Booth in the Expo Hall
Angie Woodmansee, Katrina Engelsted, Robert Blank, and Youssef Benchouaf had great conversations at the booth from the opening happy hour, which was supposed to be low-key (and we ended up with a very packed booth area and lots of interactions), through the end of the event!
UAV Expo: Energy Vertical Presentation
Toby Kraft and Todd Knapp from Hanging H spoke on the Energy Vertical session at Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas.
Robert Blank presented for SolSpec at the Commercial UAV Expo’s Pitch the Press. SolSpec’s team applied to participate, and we were selected as one of 15 out of over 40 applicants to make it to the final session. The 15 participants had the opportunity to give a 2-minute presentation, and based on Robert’s presentation we were selected as one of the top three winners that stood out from the crowd!
Here are some highlights from the Commercial UAV Expo Press Release: “Three companies were selected today as the winners of Pitch the Press at Commercial UAV Americas 2019: A2Z, Agrowing, and SolSpec. Their latest products, which were pitched to a panel of high-profile press representatives at the show, were deemed the most innovative and promising technology amongst a competitive group of 15 presenters…The panel selected [SolSpec] for its ability to take data and generate a useable, actionable report. Many solutions out there are gathering the data but provide little to no support with analyzing that data to provide actionable solutions. This solution was unique in that it packages that data into actionable items so that users can focus on what needs to get done. By not simply giving users a “data dump” they’ll be able to take a proactive approach that enables stakeholders to address issues before they become problems.”
SolSpec Awarded OGRC Grant to Develop Remote Reclamation Assessment Tool
Thanks to Kat Kraft, John Norman, and Nathan Casler’s hard work, SolSpec has been awarded an OGRC Grant from North Dakota Industrial Commission. The proposed project, titled Development of Operational Aerial Analytics for Remotely Measuring Reclamation Success in North Dakota, will be carried out over a period of 16 months in collaboration with Whiting Petroleum Corporation. The primary goal of this project is to develop and validate a suite of automated analytics that bring remote reclamation assessment technology to operational capacity for industry, agencies, and the interested public of North Dakota. Along with Whiting, we will also collaborate on this project with our sister company Duraroot.
Toby Kraft spoke about risk management at the Pipeline Insurers Managers Conference (PLIMC). The goal of the talk was to educate representatives of insurance companies that are providers for oil and gas companies about the impact of aerial analytics on risk management.
John Norman Presents at North Dakota Energy Conference
John Norman presented “Redefining Pipeline Safety with UAS-Based Inspection Programs” at the North Dakota Energy Conference and Expo.
We wrapped up 2019 with a big step forward – we now have a formal Sales Team! We welcomed Seth Tribbey and Sam Acheson, who bring invaluable sales, industry, and software product experience to our team.
Team Climb at Earth Treks in Golden
We have a few climbers in our midst, and the number may be increasing! Thanks to the efforts of Katrina Engelsted and Jacob Spurgin we had our first evening group climb with some of the SolSpec team. The brave people that joined them: Andrew Keohane and Angie Woodmansee. Hope to see more people the next time we go, it was a great experience and fun to do something together that’s so different from work!
Also, in case you’re wondering if your read on Katrina being a badass is correct:
SolSpec Settled in Lakewood Offices
After a lot of effort and hard work on the part of our contractors, the SolSpec team got to settle at last into our new home in the Lakewood offices!
After only a monthin the space, we couldn’t be more pleased. The area gets much more sunlight, and windows throughout the offices mean it’s usually bright. Our view overlooks downtown Denver, and while the smog cloud can sometimes be unsettling, it is stunning. The biggest improvement? We now have several conference rooms, so no one will catch us on the phone or holding meetings in the hallways or building break room anymore!
SolSpec Joins Huwa Holiday Party
Angie Woodmansee and Adam Dutko represented the SolSpec team at the annual Huwa holiday party! We deeply appreciate what the Huwas and everyone in Keenesburg have made possible for us, and we’re grateful for partnership, for the industry experience these partnerships bring, and to have a chance to come together and celebrate the holidays. An unexpected perk – gift bags of delicious steak from Huwa Ranch! Anyone who missed out can always head to their website and place an order!
SolSpec Featured in a Variety of Publications
Thanks to the hard work and efforts of Heather Racicot, we’ve been featured in the following publications:
Commercial Drone Professional
Commercial UAV News
Comercial UAV News
Oil & Gas 360
Earth Imaging Journal
Sensors & Systems
First Analysis Complete with West Moberly Joint Venture
Ryan Pelzel of SolSpec Canada reports that the first imagery analysis was completed under the West Moberly Joint Venture for TC Energy! The first stage of this project covered 181 km for the North Montney Mainline Project.
Bryan Crowe Keynote Speaker at INGAA Annual Meeting
SolSpec COO Bryan Crowe was invited as the keynote speaker to the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America’s (INGAA) Steep Slope Construction Workshop. Bryan spoke on Right-of-Way Integrity Management, pipeline construction, and the impact of employing aerial analytics to identify safer routes, improve the efficacy of implemented best practices, and enhance monitoring success.
The invitation to speak came as a direct result of Bryan’s June 2019 discussion with Russel Treat on the Pipeliner’s podcast. Listen to their conversation on Ground Movement and Pipeline Integrity to learn more! Read more about Steep Slope Construction best practices, detailed in a report created in a collaboration of eight energy companies led by The Nature Conservancy.
New cloud-based solution improves geohazard risk-assessment and erosion control monitoring with fast, accurate, predictive risk analysis
LAS VEGAS – Oct. 29, 2019 – Today at the Commercial UAV Expo, SolSpec, Inc. announced early access to its flagship aerial analytics and data management platform, a cloud-based geoprocessing solution that transforms aerial data into actionable risk analysis and predictive modeling to empower civil and energy infrastructure owners and operators to identify and mitigate problems at every stage of the asset lifecycle. With industry-leading processing speeds, integrated artificial intelligence, and an intuitive web-based interface for creating, organizing and sharing 2D and 3D maps and models and reports, the SolSpec platform enables fast, accurate geohazard risk monitoring and mitigation.
SolSpec will showcase its software at Commercial UAV Expo Booth 601 and will deliver a Product Preview Presentations at the Exhibit Hall Theater, Wed. Oct. 30 at 1:45 pm.
“We built the SolSpec platform to unlock the unprecedented value that can be created by combining aerial data with ground-based project data,” said Tobias Kraft, founder and CEO of SolSpec. “We’re working with some of the nation’s largest energy infrastructure operators, environmental consulting firms and policymakers to advance our our risk prediction models and analyses to deliver fast, reliable solutions that help solve complex problems involving energy, civil infrastructure, environment and natural resources management. We’re excited to announce a new wave of customer onboarding to the SolSpec platform for accurate geohazard risk monitoring and mitigation.”
The SolSpec platform has been in closed beta for three months, used in conjunction with SolSpec’s recently-released ROW Integrity Management product, a programmatic approach with a suite of tools, analytics and reports currently used by dozens of contractors, surveyors, engineers and pipeline operators in the oil and gas and energy industries. To date, the platform has processed and analyzed over 130 TB of aerial data, collected from over 3 million acres, with millions more planned for the first half of next year. SolSpec is now welcoming a limited number of qualified companies to join the early access program. Interested energy, civil and surveying professionals can apply here.
Geohazards and land disturbances such as landslides, erosion and subsidence, and other mass soil movement pose a threat to critical infrastructure such as pipelines. Through a combination of SolSpec’s drone flight plans and manned-aircraft operations, data collection and advanced analytics powered by SolSpec’s massively-scalable processing engines, operators can detect and predict hazards and gather actionable insights to strategically prioritize mitigation efforts. This proactive approach enables stakeholders to address issues before they become problems, reduce or eliminate the severity of impact, reduce time to respond or repair, and reduce costs, while protecting the environment and public safety.
Key features and capabilities:
Supports imagery from airborne sensors including drones, manned aircraft and satellites, and processes multiple data types including photogrammetry, GIS Data and survey data.
The company routinely incorporates project-specific data collected by environmental consulting firms to strengthen models.
Using high performance cloud computing and spatial clustering the platform is massively scalable, able to process large datasets simultaneously with unprecedented speed and geodetic accuracy — processing imagery in minutes or hours, not days or weeks.
Intuitive, easy-to-use web interface allows users to easily create and share interactive maps, models, and reports. The ability to process multiple flights from numerous pilots on shared projects simultaneously allows for efficient, rapid workflows.
Secure, redundant and unlimited storage prevents loss and unauthorized access of data.
A full suite of industry-specific analysis tools and workflows tailored to the oil and gas industry and civil engineering industries.
Streamlined compliance reporting with at-a-glance summaries and regulator-approved reporting documentation, covering projects ranging from a few acres to thousands.
“With SolSpec, we eliminate much of the guesswork from identifying issues that pose the greatest risk to our projects,” said Todd Knapp, Vice President at Hanging H Companies, a pipeline construction company. “Using SolSpec, we can now confidently and accurately predict where and how geohazards, stormwater and erosion could impact assets before they occur, and assess why they occurred after the fact. This means better construction planning, safer operations, fewer incidents and shut-ins, reduced costs and greater confidence for pipeline integrity and safe operations.”
The broad commercial release of the platform is expected in the first quarter of 2020.
SolSpec, Inc. is a leading provider of data analytics to the energy and civil engineering markets. SolSpec’s solution utilizes high-throughput data processing and artificial intelligence algorithms to identify and predict project-based risk for pipeline right of ways (ROW), infrastructure construction and large land development projects. Founded in 2017, SolSpec today works with some of the largest companies in the midstream oil and gas industry. Visit us online at solspec.io.
SolSpec’s ROW Integrity Management solution helps detect, predict, and prevent geohazard and environmental risks that affect pipelines.
DENVER, Colorado – Oct. 21, 2019 – SolSpec, Inc., a leading provider of aerial analytics and data management software for energy and civil engineering, will present its aerial pipeline inspection and monitoring solution during the Technology Showcase at SHALE INSIGHT™ 2019, the nation’s leading conference on American shale energy, industries and jobs, Oct. 23-24 at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburg, PA.
SolSpec is among only seven companies selected to present at the Technology Showcase taking place Oct. 24th from 9:00 am to 10:45 am. SolSpec Chief Operating Officer Bryan Crowe will discuss SolSpec ROW Integrity Management, an aerial mapping, modeling and inspection solution for proactively addressing landslides, stormwater runoff, vegetation encroachment, and other geohazards and environmental risks that affect pipeline right-of-ways.
“The use of aerial analytics for pipeline inspection and monitoring creates extraordinary efficiency and accuracy for Pipeline Integrity Management programs, delivering data and actionable insights that support safer and much more efficient pipeline operations,” said Bryan Crowe, COO of SolSpec. “We’re honored to be selected as one of the presenting companies in the Technology Showcase at SHALE INSIGHT and look forward to demonstrating how SolSpec is being used to prioritize how crews monitor pipeline assets to lower risk and prioritize resources while reducing operating cost and increasing safety.”
The Appalachian region remains the largest natural gas-producing region in the United States. Appalachian natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica/Point Pleasant shales of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania continued to grow, with gross withdrawals increasing from 24.2 Bcf/d in 2017 to 28.5 Bcf/d in 2018. As demand rises, ensuring efficient, safe and environmentally sound transport of natural gas through interstate pipelines and other critical infrastructure are paramount to the future of the shale industry. Identifying environmental conditions on and off the ROW that may threaten the integrity of pipeline infrastructure is crucial for expediting incident response and providing ongoing proactive issue mitigation.
SolSpec ROW Integrity Management is a data-driven environmental and geohazard risk analysis and modeling solution for analyzing known and potential threats to right-of-ways. A full-service offering, SolSpec’s team of data scientists and FAA-licensed pilots start by first collecting photogrammetry and LiDAR data within the right-of-way via manned or unmanned aircraft and create a baseline risk assessment with plug-and-play flight plans for ongoing monitoring of high-risk areas. Data is then processed via SolSpec’s secure cloud-based geoprocessing platform and proprietary analytical models based on analysis of over 1.7 million acres of landslides and ROW projects to create high-resolution maps and 3D models for comprehensively visualizing and quantifying risk to pipeline safety by measuring slip conditions, hydrology, erosion control, and slip potential. Models and analysis consider factors as specific regional population density, product type, class location, potential impact radius, and environmentally sensitive areas and produce simple, actionable easy to use reports. With this information, operators can allocate resources to the areas that may have the largest impact, mitigating risk, accelerating incident response and time to repair, reducing costs and improving public safety and environmental responsibility.
In addition to the Technology Showcase presentation, SolSpec will demonstrate its solutions at SHALE INSIGHT, exhibitor booth 334.
About SHALE INSIGHT:
Hosted jointly by the Marcellus Shale Coalition™ (MSC), the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, SHALE INSIGHT™ is a leading and widely-attended policy, innovation and energy outlook-focused forum. As part of the conference, the MSC Research Collaborative will host the annual Technology Showcase on October 24, 2019 from 9:00 am – 10:45 am in which suppliers of emerging technologies introduce their innovations to the natural gas producer, midstream/pipeline, downstream and service communities. More information shaleinsight.com.
SolSpec was founded in 2017 with the goal to improve environmental and public safety and to increase efficiencies for the energy industry. SolSpec’s aerial analytics and data management platform represents best-in-class data processing for all aerial imagery. Leading companies in the energy, oil and gas industries rely on SolSpec to transform aerial data into actionable insights that inform decisions to create a safer and more sustainable planet. Visit us online at solspec.io.
In this post, we will take a look at how proposed regulations for gas gathering lines are marching toward the rulemaking finish line, signaling a moment to consider aerial technology to support compliance initiatives.
Risks associated with gas gathering lines have increased in recent years.
PHMSA proposed gas gathering line rulemaking and recently sought input from the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) for the development of the final rule.
GPAC recommended a set of minimum safety standards for gas gathering lines greater than 8.625 inches; detailed annual and incident-based reporting; and application of the potential impact radius (PIR) methodology for larger-diameter gas gathering lines.
Planting vegetation is one of the many ways to mitigate the movement of earth on pipelines.
Gas Gathering Line Rulemaking
Gathering lines are pipelines used to transport oil or natural gas from the original site of production to another facility for further refinement or to transmission pipelines. Gathering operations have historically been low pressure, small-diameter systems that posed little risk to public safety and thus drew little regulatory oversight. In recent years, however, shale gas development has greatly increased the use of higher pressure, larger diameter gathering lines, and to date there are an estimated 91,000 miles of gathering pipelines that are unregulated in the U.S. These conditions combine to heighten the risks associated with gas gathering lines.
In response to statutory obligations and growing concerns regarding gathering lines, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed extensive rulemaking in 2016 titled Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines, also known as the “gas mega rule.” Since then, the sweeping proposal has been split into three separate rulemakings, one of which is dedicated to gas gathering lines.
The proposed gas gathering rule is now in the process of clearing its final rulemaking hurdles before taking effect. Among the milestones passed in this process was a recent review with recommendations by the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee.
Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Recommendations
The Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) is a statutorily-mandated committee that advises PHMSA on proposed gas pipeline safety standards and their associated feasibility and impacts. GPAC met in late June 2019 to discuss and provide PHMSA with feedback on its proposed gas gathering line rule. If PHMSA incorporates GPAC’s recommendations into the final rule, operators will be required to:
Follow a minimum set of requirements for gathering lines 8.625 inches in diameter and greater, including standards for design, construction, inspection, and damage prevention;
Submit specific location and causal information in incident report forms; and
Apply the potential impact radius (PIR) methodology to provide safety and environmental protections for larger-diameter gathering lines (i.e., greater than 12.75 inches).
GPAC also recommended a 24-month adjustment period for compliance with proposed annual reporting requirements.
With consideration given to GPAC’s recommendations, PHMSA is currently developing a draft of the final gas gathering line rule for internal review by the agency and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Next, the draft final rule will be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget before being approved and published. The DOT anticipates the final rule to take effect in mid-2020.
As the new gas gathering line rule works its way toward the finish line, currently unregulated gathering line operators should proceed with a thorough review of forthcoming regulatory obligations and develop a sound strategy for ensuring compliance. Adopting an aerial imagery program with analytics built for midstream oil and gas will be a boon for compliance and working forward with regulatory agencies.
DENVER, Colorado – Sept. 26, 2019 – SolSpec, a provider of aerial analytics for integrity management of large scale land use projects, is pleased to announce an upcoming presentation at the 2019 Pipeline Technology Forum, to be held October 2-3 in Houston, TX.
SolSpec Chief Operating Officer, Bryan Crowe, will be presenting on Redefining Pipeline Safety with UAS-based Inspection Programs, 2:00 pm on Wednesday, Oct 2. (Conference Track Two: Remote Sensing and Emerging Technologies). Bryan will cover how the use of drones and advanced data analytics are helping midstream pipeline construction companies and operators monitor and identify possible vulnerabilities before they become safety hazards.
The Rising Need
Between 1999 to 2018, PHMSA reported a total of 11,991 incidents of compromised pipeline integrity, resulting in 318 deaths and 1,304 injuries, with over $8 billion USD in total cost (source) Most traditional Integrity Management programs look only at pipeline itself, leading to the development of technologies such as In-Line Inspection (ILI) tools to examine pipeline structure, strain, and stability. Yet a pipeline’s stability is also largely dependent on the stability of its environmental surroundings, as a pipeline can be perfectly built, but buried within a hillslope prone to mass soil movement resulting in an increased risk of a failure. Further, with record rain and extreme weather events resulting in widespread flooding, landslides, major soil changes, scouring, and erosion across the U.S., the risk is rising. PHMSA recently released an advisory bulletin about the potential for damage to pipeline facilities caused by earth movement and other geological hazards (see link).
Learn more through two case studies:
Operators need a more comprehensive, data-driven method to evaluate risk that goes beyond the physical pipe and includes its environmental context. Identifying environmental conditions on and off the ROW that may threaten the integrity of pipeline infrastructure is crucial for timely mitigation and adequate preparation for future challenges.
“Just as ILI technology is changing the way operators conduct internal pipe inspections, aerial analytics will transform external pipeline risk assessments and environmental inspections as part of comprehensive Right of Way Integrity Management,” said Bryan Crowe, COO of SolSpec.
Join SolSpec’s Bryan Crowe at the 2019 Pipeline Technology Forum for an informative talk on how aerial analytics are bringing greater value to pipeline integrity management programs. To view the full agenda and updated times for this event, please visit the event website.
The Pipeline Technology Forum is the major event of the year for geospatial professionals working in the oil and gas infrastructure sector. Produced in conjunction with Pipeline & Gas Journal, a Gulf Energy Information publication and the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA), the two-day forum features general sessions, technical presentations on the use of geospatial technologies, pipeline software and other applied technologies for the industry, panel discussions and exhibits.
SolSpec was founded in 2016 to improve environmental and public safety and to increase efficiencies for the energy industry using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology. SolSpec’s Aerial Analytics platform represents best-in-class data processing and data management for all UAV and aerial imagery. Our analytics were born from 120 cumulative years in Natural Resource Sciences and are formulated to specifically predict and prevent unexpected occurrences in large scale land use projects. With SolSpec, you can make decisions from your desk instead of the field and ultimately reduce risk, time and expenditure. Visit us online at solspec.io.
Toby Kraft, Founder and CEO of SolSpec, spoke about “Playing Offense and Being Industry Advocates” at the May 19, 2019 Summit for Reclamation and Construction. The annual Summit, hosted by Huwa Enterprises in Keenesburg, Colorado, is a unique conference where professionals come together to learn, share, and network with industry experts dedicated to protecting the environment.
“So as all good millennials do, I wake up every single day and spend every waking hour engaging with some social media platform,” Kraft opened, introducing the value of big data by drawing a common big data comparison with the advertising world. Social media platforms store extensive information related to their users’ interests, and the massive amount of data generated by millions of users drives much of the backbone of modern marketing.
Why let retail be the main industry that capitalizes on big data? Why aren’t the construction and reclamation and energy industries taking advantage of big data for their projects? These are the questions at the core of Toby’s presentation. Collecting data and providing information from past and current projects can build benefits for all – we can learn from the mistakes others have made and drive future success. “A lot of you are probably thinking ‘Yeah, okay, that sounds utopian,” quipped Kraft.
Big data can empower decision makers in the construction, energy, and reclamation industries and result in safer, more successful projects. But success can only come from working together to improve our industries’ practices. Kraft called on his colleagues at the Summit to remember that “our neighbor’s failure or our competitor’s failure is our failure.” Collaborating and building databases of geographic information doesn’t weaken your company or strengthen the opposition. Uniting our data and sharing information is the approach that will keep our industries strong, because without it our future work is threatened.
Kraft’s vision with SolSpec is not just to identify hazards that already exist. Combining data gathered regarding surface hydrology, soil information, geologic details, and the massive stores of siloed data that runs across the industry and third parties makes it possible to predict future hazards. A prioritized list of current and potential hazards empowers decision makers to prioritize mitigation efforts and resources, and do better work for long-term success and improved community relations.
Diving into real-life scenarios, Kraft highlighted for the audience the value and impact of data-driven solutions in land reclamation and construction. One example was Appalachia, one of the richest areas in natural gas in North America. Recent construction of infrastructure, more in the last five years than in the previous fifty, has resulted in loss of vegetation in deciduous forests. These forests and unconsolidated soils cover the characteristic steep slopes of the region. Big rainstorms in this context can cause mass soil movement and landslides, which compromise local pipelines and assets. Compromised pipeline and right-of-way integrity cause undue risk, environmental damage, and financial loss.
Another example Kraft discussed was California, which is dealing with increased threats from fires. Last year’s Camp Fire burned 150,000 acres, destroyed the city of Paradise, and killed 46 people. The likely cause of the fire was a spark from a utility asset that caught the vegetation near the asset. Data gathered from flyovers and processed with analytics can reveal vegetation encroachment. That information can help direct fire prevention efforts around existing utilities and stop a destructive disaster.
“What could the headlines look like a year from now if we all come together around these issues and we get ahead of it and we play offense? What could the future look like?” asked Kraft. Fewer disasters, increased efficiency, prioritized use of resources, and improved reputations for our industries. To learn more about how Kraft and the team at SolSpec are taking our industries to the cutting edge, go to https://solspec.io.
If you’re interested in attending, sponsoring, or exhibiting at the 2020 Summit, go to www.usareclamation.com for more information.