Ecological Planning & Research

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February 2015 - What's new at EPR?

EPR has recently made investments in improving the technology and software that we use to collect and analyse data for our projects. We rely heavily on the use of mapping software to enable us to use and present data effectively in support of our projects, and present a convincing case.  Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is the computer software used to capture, store, manage, retrieve, analyse, and display spatial information.

 

All stages of our work benefit from the use of GIS:

  • identifying site locations
  • planning surveys using aerial or topographical basemaps
  • creating survey maps for use in the field
  • searching through records of habitats and species
  • interrogating information held about designated sites such as Special Protection Areas
  • capturing/digitising survey findings such as habitats or species distributions
  • analysing our results with "heat maps" (see the map, to the left) or using "conflict mapping"
  • exporting our data into a CAD format to make it easier for our clients to design proposals that respond well to constraints
  • creating final maps for use in reports and consultations

 

We are innovative in the way we use technology, streamlining our work making us efficient at what we do.  Last year, we started using electronic survey forms to reduce the time taken typing up field notes, improving the efficiency of our data collection, saving paper and most importantly getting great results for our clients and reducing costs.  We use apps on our smart phones and tablets with features such as GPS, geotagged photos and electronic data recording to help us on the ground with our surveys. This technology means that data we collect in the field is already uploaded and waiting for our staff when they get back to the office, ready for incorporation into reports or assessments.

 

Cloud computing has revolutionised the way EPR works.  Our staff now have secure but uninterrupted access to all of our data anywhere in the world, allowing access to important information whilst on a survey or in a hotel room.  It allows us to share files easily, securely and productively with our clients; including via the use of our very own client portal.  Our switch to cloud computing also gives us and our clients peace of mind that all our data is backed up, and in the event of a catastrophe at our offices, we can work seamlessly at any location with an internet connection, ensuring our clients are never let down.

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