Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
|EarthSoft, Inc. Environmental
Quality Information System - EQuIS®
This project consisted of an evaluation of the Environmental Quality Information System (EQuIS) software designed by EarthSoft, Inc. as an environmental data management and analysis platform for monitoring and remediation projects. In consultation with the EQuIS vendor, six primary modules were tested in this evaluation. These were: Chemistry, Geology, ArcView Geographic Information System (GIS) Interface, Data Verification Module (DVM), CrossTab Report Writer, and Electronic Laboratory Data Checker (ELDC). These modules were chosen for testing because they are the most commonly used. As a part of this evaluation, a demonstration of the technology was conducted by the SITE Program at Science Applications International Corporation's (SAIC) offices in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio and McLean, Virginia. The purpose of the demonstration was to determine whether the software performs the functions claimed by EarthSoft, Inc. and to assess the accuracy of the EQuIS output. In addition, demonstration results and other sources of cost information were used to develop detailed cost estimates for full-scale application of the technology.The primary objectives for the EQuIS software evaluation were to:
The secondary objective of the system evaluation was to:
Estimate the cost of implementing, using, and maintaining the system for a "typical" hazardous waste site data management program. In general, major system functions of the six modules tested performed as claimed by the vendor, with the exception of several functions of the DVM module which impacted the usefulness of this module. Other modules exhibited minor problems with system functionality, but none of these impacted the overall utility of the software. Most system functions were easy to use for anyone familiar with Microsoft Windows.
The software demonstrated the ability to adhere to data exchange standards while importing data from and exporting data to a variety of COTS software. Data exchange was not always straightforward and frequently required support from EarthSoft's help desk or an operator experienced with data exchange related to other databases.
The total cost for a large-scale, multi-user implementation of the software, based on experience at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), was estimated to be $190,500. At the time of the demonstration, NJDEP had a 40-user license and had received over 16,000 submissions from hazardous waste sites throughout the state. This estimate assumed the equivalent of two full-time staff to manage the program and operate the software. Data entry was performed by the equivalent of three full-time student co-op students. This estimate included:
Total costs for a smaller-scale, multi-user application were estimated at $45,000 based on information from the Colorado Department of Health. This estimate assumed part time operation by two permanent employees and data entry by temporary employees.
The cost to implement this technology will be highly site specific depending upon the number of modules and users required, the current availability of computer equipment, the amount of data processed, and the familiarity of personnel with basic scientific software. The cost estimates do not include operating costs for successive years.
The reader is cautioned that, due to the rapid nature of software development, the versions of EQuIS modules utilized during this demonstration have since been superceded. The developer claims that many of the minor problems noted during this demonstration have been corrected or rendered moot because of changes to the software (see the Vendor Claims in Appendix B) . In some cases, these changes were reportedly ongoing or completed by the time this evaluation was completed. Due to scheduling and budgetary constraints, the SITE Program was unable to verify these claims. However, as part of its routine sales operations, EarthSoft provides software demonstrations. Such demonstrations can be used as an opportunity for potential customers to verify that the vendor has upgraded the system as claimed.
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