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Technology Demonstration Area

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  • Please provide us your feedback by filling out the conference evaluations, if you were unable to do so on-site or after streamed sessions.
  • Where available, links to recorded streamed sessions have been provided under session abstracts.

Technology tools are rapidly evolving. As a result, the 2011 Community Involvement Conference featured a demonstration area where presenters were able to showcase new tools, technology, and software applications. The Technology Demonstration Area was open to conference participants on Wednesday, July 20 from 11:20am — 1:30pm, but formal demonstrations only occurred from 11:20am — 12:25pm.

The Technology Demonstration Area featured 17 demos divided between five categories. Detailed descriptions of each demo are provided below. These descriptions also can be downloaded, along with a map of the demonstration area.

Technology Demonstration Area: Titles and Descriptions Handout (6 pp, 191KB, About PDF)
Technology Demonstration Area Layout Handout (2 pp, 190MB, About PDF)

Decision Support

Data GIS Social Media Risk Communication/Management

Decision Support

Restore the Environment and Revitalize Your Community with SMARTe
Michele Wolf, Neptune and Company, Inc., and Nancy Porter, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

SMARTe (Sustainable Management Approaches and Revitalization Tools — electronic) is a web-based system designed to help communities overcome obstacles to revitalization of potentially contaminated sites. SMARTe contains information, links, analysis tools, checklists, and case studies and it is freely available at www.smarte.org. Exit EPA Disclaimer SMARTe also contains a My Project section that allows a group of users to evaluate and compare multiple reuse options for a site. EPA released SMARTe in 2003 and performs annual updates. Users in over 90 different countries access SMARTe on a monthly basis.

The presenter will demonstrate how to navigate SMARTe so participants can become familiar with its contents and tools. This presentation will include topics such as overcoming environmental stigma; developing a vision; developing urban gardens; involving the community; understanding all appropriate inquiry (site assessment); assessing, communicating, and managing risk; reducing liability risk; developing a market analysis; and finding funding for revitalization activities.

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i-Tree Streets: Using Technology to Renew the Health of an Urban Community
Robbyn Lewis, Johns Hopkins University

Economically challenged urban neighborhoods are disproportionately burdened with high rates of respiratory diseases such as asthma. An emerging body of epidemiological evidence suggests that planting trees in these neighborhoods can improve air quality, potentially mitigating asthma morbidity. In Baltimore city, high rates of childhood asthma are concentrated in economically challenged urban neighborhoods which have few trees. I-Tree Streets is a state of the art, peer-reviewed software program developed by the U.S. Forest Service. It is an easy to use, computer-based program that communities can use to conduct a street tree inventory and use the results to improve their environment. The Baltimore Tree Trust and its partners are collaborating with residents in the McElderry Park community to restore the environment by planting trees and increasing the tree canopy, which is expected to ultimately improve air quality and respiratory health. This project is designed to improve community health by increasing the size of the tree canopy. In this context, i-Tree Streets software is more than a technological tool for data gathering and urban forestry management; it also is a tool for community organizing. Residents have learned about the benefits of trees and are being trained to use the software for data gathering and decision making. Social bonds in the neighborhoods are strengthened by participatory processes such as conducting tree inventories, analyzing data, and engaging in urban forestry management.

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Using the Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO) Technology Tree to Learn About Cleanup Technologies
Peter Strauss, PM Strauss & Associates

Since 2001, the Center for Public Environmental Oversight's free, on-line Technology Tree has provided public stakeholders with a user-friendly, "front end" tool for learning about both innovative and conventional environmental characterization and remediation technologies. Users may access technology descriptions from a master list, or they can use the Tech Chart to determine which technologies might be suitable for selected contaminants, media, and function. For more information please visit the Technology Tree Website: www.cpeo.org/tree.html Exit EPA Disclaimer

Rather than duplicate existing information on professional databases, the Tree translates that information for lay audiences and provides links to those databases for those seeking more technical detail. The Tree does not endorse or oppose specific technologies. Rather, it relays information from government agencies, vendors, environmental organizations, and others that allows users to participate knowledgeably in the selection of cleanup remedies or other relevant technologies. Unlike other technology databases, each technology description contains a section on its limitations and concerns that a community may have about its application.

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Envirofacts, Enviromappers and Mobile Web: Information Access for the Public
Kim Balassiano and Samuel Bronson, U.S. EPA

The Office of Information Analysis and Access (OIAA) within EPA's Office of Environmental Information is dedicated to information access. OIAA is responsible for library services and a variety of popular web-based information portals. Many of these feature mapping capabilities and other methods of accessing environmental information. These tools include Envirofacts, the Enviromapper series, and the EPA mobile web site (m.epa.gov). The National Library Network provides a wide range of information services and assistance to Agency staff and the public. Our presenters will provide information on these important resources, demonstrate access to some of the tools, show how they are used, and discuss ways in which the audience at this conference can utilize these tools to find environmental information more efficiently.

Download Presentation (PDF) (4pp, 361KB)

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Data.Gov "Communities"
Jerry Johnston, U.S. EPA

The recently-released "Next Generation" Data.gov web site has a variety of powerful features that empower communities to collaboratively use environmental data. Data.gov now gives users extensive capabilities for online exploration of data, including searchable and sortable maps and charts. Moreover, the site features a number of social data tools that allow users to enrich data with comments, ratings and their own shared views and visualizations. These can be shared and distributed outside Data.gov on blogs and social networks such as Facebook. Data.gov also features "Data.gov Communities," a resources that brings together high value datasets, tools, and applications that are specifically intended to meet the needs of a defined group of users. Community leaders have the ability to manage discussion forums and invite colleagues to author blog posts through the site. To date, communities have been created for the following topics: Health Data, Open Data, the Semantic Web, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Over the next several months, many more communities will be coming online. This session is designed to familiarize attendees with these exciting new capabilities of Data.gov, and to explore the possibilities for leveraging these capabilities for the benefit of environmental community involvement.

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Better Public Access to Point Source Wastewater Pollutant Discharge Information
Carey A. Johnston, U.S. EPA

EPA has developed a new web tool, DMR Pollutant Loading Tool Exit EPA Disclaimer, to provide increased access to wastewater pollutant discharge data. This tool will allow for better transparency of wastewater pollutant discharges and enhanced data utility. Specifically, technical users can enhance the development of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit effluent limits, better identify and target violations of effluent discharge permit limits, improve watershed pollution budget plans (Total Maximum Daily Loads, or "TMDLs"), and refine watershed modeling activities.

The Loading Tool is a significant improvement in making more information about pollutant discharges available to the public. Through the Loading Tool interface, users can easily find who is discharging into their local watershed, and can sort the information by specific pollutants. The tool also supports advanced user queries or data downloads and links to additional information from the Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) website regarding whether permitted dischargers have had violations or recent enforcement. The Loading Tool calculates facility pollutant discharges based on reported discharge monitoring data. The tool also weighs chemicals by their relative toxicity and calculates the toxic-weighted equivalent amount of each chemical released. With this tool, users can rank facilities and pollutants by total amount of each pollutant released each year and by the total amount of toxic-weighted pounds released each year.

This presentation will provide an overview of the tool and a demonstration on how to use the tool from a variety of perspectives.

Download Presentation (PDF) (22pp, 827KB)

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Urban Water Monitoring Data Sharing — www.kcwaters.org Exit EPA Disclaimer
Roberta Vogel-Leutung, U.S. EPA

The Kansas City Urban Waters Monitoring Network (www.kcwaters.org) seeks to promote greater awareness about the quality of water in the Greater Kansas City area by providing a venue to share water quality monitoring data, connecting partners who help protect and restore water bodies, and encouraging all users to take an active role in protecting precious water resources. Organized in 2009, and hosted by the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC), network partners include federal and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations, and volunteer water monitoring groups. Shared water quality monitoring data is easily viewed and downloadable for all users through clickable maps and menus, providing simple, transparent community access to information about the condition of urban waters. The site's community networking features include an events calendar, social networking links, newsfeeds, information resources, and geocaching links; and will be expanded in collaboration with the community during 2011. Beginning in 2012, www.kcwaters.org Exit EPA Disclaimer will display real-time bacteria data from EPA's urban water telemetry network, giving community users immediate knowledge about the safety of recreational use.

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GEMS Geospatial Environmental Mapping System — Introduction and Live Demonstration
Elaine Pilz and Keith Miller, S.M. Stoller Corporation, and Steven Schiesswohl, U.S. Department of Energy

The Geospatial Environmental Mapping System (GEMS) was designed to provide dynamic mapping and environmental monitoring data display for sites managed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management. This tool, created in 2002 has since evolved and has been enhanced. Some of the objectives of GEMS are to:

  • Communicate our monitoring information to our stakeholders and the public
  • Make data readily accessible about each site using the Internet at http://gems.LM.doe.gov Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Implement a design that helps users easily visualize the relationships between data and geography
  • Allow users to map validated geochemical and hydrologic data from the LM Environmental Database

Come and learn what GEMS is all about!

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MarineMap — An Innovative Collaborative Support Technology Improving Community Engagement
Will McClintock, MarineMap Consortium, and Eric Poncelet, Kearns & West, Inc.

Planners, resource managers, and community outreach professionals often struggle to find simple yet effective ways to engage the public in large-scale, scientifically complex planning efforts. MarineMap, a web-based decision support tool originally developed for use by non-technical stakeholders in marine protected area planning, has broad application to processes such as watershed planning and management, urban growth management, open space protection, and climate change adaptation. MarineMap can be used when there is a need for: visualizing and analyzing spatial data; siting prospective use areas; increasing collaboration and communication among stakeholders; and providing process transparency. Although MarineMap includes sophisticated GIS-based analytical components, the power of MarineMap lies in its ability to deliver these tools to average citizens so that they may collaborate and communicate with each other about place-based problems.

MarineMap was developed after California planners convened a diverse array of fishermen, recreational ocean users, environmentalists, residents, and others to participate in marine spatial planning and needed to enable effective collaboration on a scientifically complex subject. Using MarineMap, stakeholders were able to explore, develop, and submit a variety of alternative spatial proposals with real-time feedback on whether or not those proposals met the science guidelines established for the process. Due to its success in this process, MarineMap was awarded the 2010 U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution Innovation in Technology Award.

MarineMap has been continuously used and developed since the first version was launched in 2008. We will demonstrate MarineMap version 3.0, currently in use for marine spatial planning in California, Oregon and Washington.

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New GIS Web Technologies for Sharing, Collaborating, and Communicating
Monty Kickert and Bonnie Stayer, ESRI

ArcGIS Online allows EPA users to communicate information in a geographic context both internal and external to their organization, as well as to the general public by leveraging web-based services and applications. Regional and program offices of the EPA are already participating in the ArcGIS Online community by creating public and private groups.

Through ArcGIS.com Exit EPA Disclaimer, you can access maps, apps, and tools published by ESRI and other GIS users, and share your own content with a broad community of users. With ArcGIS Explorer Online, you can further embellish your Web map and create presentations that tell a geographic story or highlight specific issues.

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AIRNow: Air Quality Information Where You Live
Terry Keating, U.S. EPA

AIRNow Exit EPA Disclaimer provides real-time air quality data, forecasts, and health information to the public using EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI). Starting in 1998, the AIRNow website began offering AQI maps to the public. Forecasts soon followed and the system slowly expanded nationwide. Today, users across the nation consult AIRNow to plan their outdoor activities and learn about air quality and health. The demonstration will show the many products available on the AIRNow website and focus on the extensive local resources available.

Download Presentation (PDF) (32pp, 3.59MB)

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The Cleanup Deck — Taming 400,000 Cleanup Sites and Institutional Controls
Bob Wenzlau, Terradex

Do you know if there are contaminated sites near your home or backyard? Working with states and employing mash-up mapping, EPA and states have assembled information on almost half a million cleanup sites that include EPA Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action, Department of Defense Formerly Used Defense (FUD) sites, and state cleanup sites (including leaking underground storage tank sites). The Cleanup Deck provides the most comprehensive public compilation of cleanup sites available that allows users to look at an area and see the types of sites. In many cases, the Cleanup Deck allows users to access much more information on the sites through links to more detailed information, and even query on your mobile phone based on your current location. Please come try the Cleanup Deck out on your phone or laptop.

Download Handout (PDF) (1 pp, 707KB)

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Social Media

Using Social Media to Engage Youth and Racial Minorities
Thomas Sanchez and Beth Offenbacker, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This presentation focuses on the role of technology in engaging youth and racial minorities in civic capacity building and environmental awareness by focusing on examples of interactive games and mobile applications ("apps") that seek to broaden the public engagement process. Emerging technologies for communications, computing, and visualization can be effectively used during the planning process for public involvement, data collection, spatial analysis, and visioning. At the same time, we should critically assess the impacts of technology on planning processes such as outreach. Civil liberties and the digital divide are two such concerns. These two emerging technologies present opportunities for future civic engagement, public involvement and even future employment, including for traditionally underserved groups, and particularly to reach youth who may be highly conversant with the technologies or who may be interested in becoming more active in their communities. Public involvement efforts can and should focus on opportunities to cultivate a culture of participation with youth and racial minorities. Three games/apps will be highlighted in this session: Walking History, an interactive, mobile game; Community PlanIt, an immersive 3D game; and Participatory Chinatown, a game designed for the master planning process in Boston's Chinatown.

Download Presentation (PDF) (22 pp, 383KB)

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Using Technology to Measure Message Tones and Social Media
Leticia Solaun, CH2M HILL, and Dr. Lauri Baker, Kansas State University

Do you wonder if a fact sheet is sending the message you intended? Can you measure the impact a newspaper article has on your project or the perceptions of the community about a site? This demo session will show attendees how to apply easy to use, free or low-cost technology tools to measure the tone of outreach materials that we develop and information that stakeholders write or broadcast about sites or projects. This demo will include traditional news coverage, blogs, printed outreach material, and other communication media.

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Public Participation through Regulations.gov Exchange
Eric Schultz, U.S. EPA

This demonstration will help attendees understand, and take full advantage of, the services offered through the E-Rulemaking Initiative's Regualtions.gov Exchange. The Exchange is a section of the Regualtions.gov website that allows agency users to draw special attention to, and solicit public input about, aspects of their regulatory endeavors. This tool, when combined with the comprehensive docket management features found elsewhere on the Regulations.gov site, provides rulewriters throughout the Federal government a one-stop-shop where they perform public communications at all stages of the regulatory process.

In order to accomplish its mission, the Exchange utilizes a full, and ever growing, arsenal of web technologies. Videos are used to convey important information about agency notices, rules, and proposed rules in a format that is relatable and easily absorbed. Two-way communication is fostered as users create personalized profiles to share their views in threaded discussions and rate various proposals. In the Exchange, they can search for information about regulations, as well as share their discoveries using their favorite social networking and bookmarking sites. People can also sign up for RSS feeds that will keep them constantly informed of new developments in topics of interest.

With the Regulations.gov Exchange, Federal agencies and programs foster transparency with open dialogue between all users including: citizens, industry, public interest groups, trade associations, special interest groups and state and local governmental entities. As such, it is an important and useful option when considering community involvement.

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Exploring New Media Technology for Stormwater Education
Aileen Winquist, Arlington County Department of Environmental Services

Are you looking for some new outreach tools to get your message out and influence behavior? Learn how a partnership of local governments has taken their successful radio social marketing campaign online by expanding their campaign web site, creating a blog, and driving traffic to the sites using Facebook, Google, banner ads, contests, and promotions. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of these social media and online tools, and the best way to apply them to your program! See a demonstration of some of the tools to learn and discuss how these tools could work for you, and try your hand at creating a Facebook and Google ad of your own!

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Risk Communication/Management

The EPA Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST)
Timothy Barzyk, U.S. EPA

This demonstration will focus on features of the Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST) and present examples of its development from collaborative case studies with the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. C-FERST is a web-based tool designed to facilitate population-based (i.e. location-based) cumulative exposure assessments, including identification and prioritization of environmental issues relevant to communities. C-FERST displays information and maps on pollutant sources, concentrations and exposures, as well as demographics and socio-economics within a geographic information system (GIS) platform. It hosts a number of other features that continue to be developed, including fact sheets, a location-specific report of environmental issue profiles, a table of local values compared to those for reference areas and national averages, links to other tools, best practice examples implemented by other communities, and walk-throughs for community-based guidance documents. It especially addresses EPA Administrator priorities of Cleaning up our Communities, and Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice, and is part of the Office of Research and Development's Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program.

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