This is the kind of resource planning tool that we’ve been waiting to see for many years. Moving the operation of the analytical and display issues directly to the resource policy managers.
From Forbes <https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkart/2019/12/17/ecobot-app-raises-1m-to-save-wetlands-and-time/#64d011b74ad2 > (See the website for graphics)
Dec 17, 2019, 06:14pm
Ecobot App Raises $1M To Save Wetlands And Time
Wetlands need protecting, for everything from filtering runoff to helping prevent flooding. But the job of environmental consultants, who examine properties to determine if they contain wetlands, consumes time. An app called Ecobot streamlines the process and has raised more than $1 million in venture funding. That means additional people who protect wetlands will be able to spend more of their time being scientists, says Lee Lance, cofounder and CEO.
The app from Ecobot, headquartered in Ashville, North Carolina, was in private beta release for a year before being released this month on the Apple App Store.
The recent influx of funding, via Cofounders Capital, will be used to bring on additional programmers and other staff, Lance says. Ecobot announced a partnership with mapping company Esri earlier this year, and also will be showing off its technology at upcoming conferences in 2020.
What does it mean for wetland protection?
Ecobot allows environmental consultants to work offline to identify Waters of the United States, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act.
“Waterway impacts must be assessed before any commercial construction companies can move dirt, before oil and gas companies can lay down pipelines, or before (Department of Transportation) or rail can do work on highways and railroads,” Lance explains.
Ecobot is used to generate U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetland delineation reports. These are what a consultant is hired to prepare for a site that’s pending development.
The app provides lookup tools and automatic calculations that would otherwise have to be done by hand. The app even generates regulatory PDFs. One user has reported saving 2.5 hours per person, per day in the field.
“Wetlands don’t necessarily look like swamps,” Lance says. “Through the scientific observation, analysis and calculations of three key metrics, hydrology, vegetation and soil, a wetland scientist is able to make a recommendation on whether or not a property contains wetlands that would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Ecobot equips private industry to get this done faster, cheaper and more accurately.’’
The app is available under two subscription models, one with unlimited usage and another with unlimited team access, says Jeremy Schewe, Ecobot’s cofounder and chief scientific officer.
To date, more than 200 field scientists at more than 50 companies have access to Ecobot and have submitted more than 2,500 wetland delineations to the Corps, Schewe says.
Lance adds: “This app enables people that are protecting wetlands, and we help those scientists spend a greater percentage of their time being scientists. By reducing regulatory costs, facilitating greater accuracy and speeding decisions on land use, Ecobot helps us protect our wetlands.”
The company plans to move into mitigation banking monitoring, state wetland and stream forms next.
Jeff Kart: Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.
I focus on interesting, innovative and revolutionary U.S. stories about green startups and nongovernmental organizations as a Forbes contributor.