The EarthFX Data Centre pulls all of our software products together in an enterprise solution. In addition to remote SiteFX access, major web based modules include the Lab Integration, Sampling Program Admin, Temporal Data Graphing and Viewlog Mapping modules.
EarthFX provides several modules that can be plugged into the EarthFX Data Centre.
In the early stages of the EDC there was a focus on the need to allow collaboration and streamlining of aspects pertaining to sample collection. Details of how the EDC can be used to help manage sample collection and lab results can be found below.
Transfering of Lab Results
The current practice of emailing the results files has several problems associated with it such as:
- The email may never reach its destination (disappear ‘into the internet ether’) .
- File attachments are often accidentally omitted.
- The recipient may be away on vacation or have changed jobs.
- The recipient will change in the future sooner or later, causing a disruption in the receipt of result files.
- Emails can be missed, incidentally deleted or moved.
- Emails can arrive out of order – this is especially a problem when different file versions are emailed.
- Files in the wrong format will not be caught until the manager tries to work with the file.
- Emails may not be opened immediately due to other pressing concerns
With the EarthFX Data Centre (EDC) in place, lab results are uploaded to the website. The above problems are eliminated, and the following takes place:
- The upload log will show who uploaded the file and a timestamp when the file was uploaded.
- Files are screened at the point of upload for key features such as correct format and completeness - the lab is immediately notified if the format can not be accepted.
- The manager is auto emailed a notification that a file has been added to the site.
Manager / Processing of Results Files Streamlined
The steps required to process a results file are well known. The typical steps are:
- Receive email from lab (typically not opened immediately).
- Check file(s) for format and completeness.
- If issued, reply to lab and await revised file.
- Load file into database using SiteFX.
- Use auto-reconciliation tool to see if lab has omitted results (only available to users using the SiteFX Sampling Program Manager with electronic chain of custodies).
- Check chemistry for criteria exceedances using the Analyze Data tool.
The above steps can easily take a day or more of time, and this can typically spread over one to two weeks. This process also has the following disadvantages:
- Result files tend to accumulate before being processed – this creates a delay in catching criteria or trigger exceedances.
- The frequency of file processing is not high enough that any manager can become highly efficient at the above steps.
- The process cannot occur while the manager is away, such as on vacation.
The EDC has been developed solely to eliminate the above steps as much as possible. With the EDC in place, these steps are entirely automated and the manager can receive email status reports. Main advantages are:
- Status reports are emailed to manager immediately after lab results are uploaded.
- The manager is only required to respond if the email status reports indicates something that the manager wishes to follow up on.
- Status reports can be redirected or copied to another person when required.
Maintaining the Master Database
The EDC website is, in effect, a screening area for lab results and tasks that should happen as soon as lab results are provided all happen there (e.g., checking for exceedances).
If the EDC is hosted locally, the database will always be up to date. If hosted off site, the manager can simply pull down the lab result files off the website and add to the database using SiteFX when ready for analysis. Because the ‘immediate’ steps have been completed by the EDC, the manager can choose to pull down the files when it suits them.
By having a web-based approach, only one copy of the software needs to exiss on the webserver and all authorized users can access the features through any web browser (home, work, etc.).
A central log clearly identifies when users are working with the system, such as when a lab user uploads results. The time-stamped logs avoid problems of missing emails and file revisions.
If you have specific tasks or trigger events that need to happen, or other data sources that are required to be captured (e.g., water level data entry), EarthFX is open to customization of the web site.
Pricing information is listed alongside SiteFX pricing information as the base EDC includes remote SiteFX access.