| See the World in 5 Minutes
In case you haven't already started taking advantage of the amazing tools Google Earth and Google Maps, I wanted to share some of the ways we have been using them to save our company time and improve the efficiency of our work. If you're not already using these free resources, you can download the former at http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html, where you can also take a brief 1-minute tour of a few of the features, and you can access the latter directly at http://maps.google.com/.
HOW WE'RE USING THIS TOOL
Recently a client asked us to conduct an environmental review of a small project in San Francisco on an extremely short turnaround time. In order to deliver this review on time, we had to find a way to save travel and on-site inspection time, reduce costs, and still obtain the data required for our analysis. So, we used the "street view" mode of Google Maps to virtually inspect the project site, its surroundings, and the views available from different vantage points on and near the site.
By zooming in and panning 360 degrees, we were able to conduct a virtual land use survey and evaluate viewsheds -- all from our computer. Additionally, we could zoom in so close that even the parking restriction signs were visible on the streets in the project vicinity. The coverage on these tools now includes the entire Bay Area and beyond, including other states. The coverage of the cities that fringe San Francisco Bay is very comprehensive, and there is even quite considerable coverage of rural roads in unincorporated areas. We also use Google Maps to get accurate travel time estimates to new site locations, along with mapped routes, explicit driving directions, and more.
On that San Francisco project, we used the improved 3-Dimensional Buildings feature to fly between the downtown skyscrapers and evaluate relative building heights, as well as the architectural character of all the buildings in the area.
OUR TEAM'S TOOLS ON PROJECT FOR HONDA
The Ruler tool in Google Earth really helped the DHA team of a dozen technical specialists this year as we prepared a three-volume EIR for Honda's proposed Port of Entry at the Port of Richmond. The auto maker expects to import 150,000 vehicles from Japan each year and distribute another 150,000 new vehicles manufactured in the Midwest. With the potential for neighboring residents to be adversely affected by noise and air emissions, this tool allowed us to measure exact distances between different project elements and a variety of off-site receptors and plug this data into our proprietary noise and health risk assessment models-just one of the ways Google Earth helped us serve our client on this project.
You can read more about this project or get more information on the services we provide at http://www.dha-environmental.com/casestudies.html. We have a team of specialists standing by to help you. And, truly, we look forward to connecting with you soon.
Douglas Herring & Associates
|Who Is Douglas Herring & Associates?
Douglas Herring & Associates (DHA) works with public agencies, developers, and other businesses
in California to expertly obtain the
environmental and planning approvals needed to move projects from the conceptual stage to physical, benefit-generating reality in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Since 1997, DHA has helped dozens of California cities and counties and scores of other businesses and organizations save money while obtaining high-quality planning and environmental analysis services necessary to get their projects expeditiously approved and built.