The use of aerial surveys and GIS mapping in environmental engineering has multiple applications in a range of industries, from engineering to surveying to environmental assessment. Large corporatism, small businesses, individual landowners and government agencies all use environmental consulting services for many different kinds of projects. These can include ground water modeling, water quality monitoring and clean up of Superfund sites.
Aerial surveys for environmental engineering
Aerial surveying and GIS mapping are important tools for a variety of environmental and engineering projects. These can include water quality monitoring, groundwater modeling and geotechnical surveys. Aerial surveys and GIS mapping data reveal relationships, patterns and trends that are useful in a number of different fields.
Aerial surveying produces high-resolution 39 megapixel digital color photographs that provide information about the state and quality of water bodies. These provide information for better decision making by individuals, corporations and government agencies for essential projects like ground water modeling and water quality monitoring.
Monitoring surface water quality
Water pollution is a serious concern and affects all water bodies, including streams, rivers, lakes and the oceans. Fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals and trash are all major pollutants, and it is estimated that around two thirds of all bays and estuaries in the U.S. are degraded through nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.
Studies have shown that as much as 45% of all streams, 47% of all lakes, and 32% of bays in the U.S. are polluted. This has substantial negative consequences for a number of industries, such as fishing, tourism and recreation. Environmental engineering projects can help to assess the water quality, extent of pollution and propose and implement strategies for clean up.
Cleaning up superfund sites
Environmental engineering services are central to the complex and multiple phases of cleaning up Superfund sites. The different phases include detailed site investigation and characterization, remedial design, construction management, and monitoring services on sites. Contaminants can include heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and other hazardous materials originating from abandoned mines lands, industrial sites, and chemical or agricultural facilities.
These contaminants can affect soil, stream sediments, ground water, surface water, and air. Remedial programs are directed towards enabling the reuse of contaminated sites without risks to human health. Institutional controls and community protective measures must be implemented for the management and maintenance of reclaimed areas.
Tools like GIS mapping and aerial surveys are essential for environmental engineering projects in a range of industries. Large corporations, small businesses, government agencies and local bodies can all use these services to better manage the balance between humans and the environment.