Demographic data nerds

Kristen's Nightmare NEPA project

The project was to connect the red road to the blue road without using the yellow road. The project engineer alternatives on a map. Kristen's job was to complete a quantitative impact analysis of the alternatives.

Kristen's Nightmare Project

Kristen was working on an alternative analysis for a roadway project. The project was to connect the red road to the blue road without using the yellow road. The project engineer drew 3 alternatives on a map. Kristen's job was to complete a quantitative impact analysis of the 3 alternatives.

Analyzing the Alternatives

So, Kristen

  • went to multiple websites and
  • downloaded environmental data,
  • imported the data into Excel where she
  • formatted the data,
  • and calculated large negative impact numbers. (Large negative numbers mean large negative impacts on the environment and weren't ok for this project.)

Well, those 3 alternatives weren't going to work. So the engineer drew 3 more alternatives on a map, and Kristen

  • went to multiple websites and
  • downloaded environmental data,
  • imported the data into Excel where she
  • formatted the data,
  • and calculated large negative impact numbers. AGAIN.

And guess what? The new 3 alternatives weren't going to work either. So the engineer drew 3 more alternatives on a map, and Kristen

  • went to multiple websites and
  • downloaded environmental data,
  • imported the data into Excel where she
  • formatted the data,
  • and calculated large negative impact numbers. AGAIN AGAIN.

And so it went until she spent many late nights, 100+ hours and 1,000s of dollars analyzing 27 different alternatives.

Everyone was FRUSTRATED!

Kristen was FRUSTRATED

She needed to spend time doing field surveys and visiting with residents. She needed additional time for higher level analyses, like Indirect and Cumulative Impacts, and to figure out new regulations, like climate change. Instead, Kristen was pulling and formatting data.

Kristen's GIS Guru was FRUSTRATED

With each new alternative, Kristen's in-house GIS Guru had to load the alternative, download spatial data from multiple websites, re-project the data, and build a map. Kristen kept bugging him to get her maps finished. But he was juggling 3 other projects, and her maps weren't his top priority.

Kristen's manager was FRUSTRATED

Her manager didn't budget for 27 alternatives when he bid the project, so the project was over budget.

The engineer was FRUSTRATED

Because it took Kristen a few days to analyze the alternatives, the engineer had already moved on to other projects. He had to stop working on those projects to come up with yet more alternatives for the nightmare project.

The client was FRUSTRATED

The project was late and over budget. Higher level analyses weren't being completed up to par. The technical reviewers had a lot of unanswered questions.

"There's got to be a better way"

When working on her nightmare project, Kristen wanted to draw a line on a map for each alternative, and automatically get cut-and-paste ready data for her analysis based on her line. She didn't have time to attend technical GIS training or install software systems on her computer. She needed a simple tool to get her data faster so that she could focus on higher level analyses, not bug her GIS Guru, help her manager get the project under budget, quickly communicate with her engineer, and focus on making the client happy by addressing the tough questions.

Kristen teamed up with Anthony Morales, an experienced programmer and designer, and asked him to help her build this technology for planners. So far, planners have used Cubit technology to pull more than 2000 reports, saving 100s of hours, 1000s of dollars and untold headaches, frustrations and working relationships.