8 Takeaways from Moore presenters at the MN GIS/LIS Conference

Did you learn a lot at the 2014 Minnesota GIS/LIS Conference? We always do.

We also had an opportunity to present two sessions: one on converting West Fargo’s mapping from CAD to GIS, and another on using ESRI’s ARCPy to replace an archaic file structure. Both illustrated how Moore Engineering uses GIS to help decision-makers more easily see, analyze and use data.

Here are some takeaways, if you missed us, or want a brief recap.

Gretchen’s tips on CAD to GIS conversion:

  1. Be passionate and persistent in educating peers, clients and others about the benefits of conversion – it will pay off in the end.
  2. Communicate the rewards: efficiency, utility, and usability.
  3. Maintaining data integrity during the conversion can be difficult when programs don’t recognize certain file formats. We found using other programs helps keep the files more intact and makes the data structure more stable for future analysis.
  4. Map design is important and there’s a lot of psychology involved. Keep your audiences in mind when making maps. Choose shapes, color associations and size of your text to suit them.

The best result: The snowball effect. Conversion opens the door to all kinds of exciting possibilities as people interact with their maps and imagine what else they might do.

Tom’s tips on using Python to quickly bring non-GIS users on board:

  1. We used the Python language to help non-GIS people (mostly engineers) get into GIS and perform complicated repetitive analysis through custom scripts.
  2. Starting with file migration, we worked with engineers to create a much more organized system where project files could be found quickly and easily.
  3. In phase two, we generated custom tools for Moore engineers to use in working with clients, and are creating a custom intranet interactive web map. These tools not only improve efficiency, they help empower non-GIS users.
  4. Because Python works on many different platforms, we’ll be able to do a lot more with it in the future – on mobile, the Internet, servers and more.

The best result: Looking at a map that provides a visual representation of information in a couple of seconds, as opposed to searching for and reading though mountains of text documents.

Get more details from Gretchen’s presentation and Tom’s presentation.

Interested in knowing more about these projects or how Moore Engineering uses GIS to help our clients? Let’s talk.

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Come See Us at the ND Water & Pollution Control Conference

shutterstock_214772677Next week marks the beginning of the ND Water & Pollution Control Conference – an event my team at Moore Engineering and I look forward to all year.

ND Water & Pollution Control Conference
Wed. Oct. 14 – Fri. Oct. 16
Holiday Inn | Fargo, ND (map it)

This year’s event is especially significant to Moore Engineering, because Dean Sletten, one of our senior project engineers in our environmental group, is the president for the conference.

Visit us at booths 63 and 64.

Whether you’re a current client or just an attendee browsing the exhibit hall, we hope you’ll stop by our booths (63 and 64) to say hi. We’ll have company information and projects on display, and of course, some pretty amazing tchotchkes (giveaways). This is also a great chance to meet some of our staff.

Come to our presentations.

Two of our water and wastewater specialists – Steve Ahlschlager and Brock Storrusten – are giving presentations during the technical sessions. The presentations below are great opportunities to hear from our experts in person:

Uncovering the Myths, Mayhem, and Magic of Storm Water Retention Ponds
Tues, Oct. 14, 4pm
Directors and Conference Rooms of Harvest Hall (Session C)

Brock, branch manager of Moore Engineering’s Minot location, will give a colorful and informative presentation on the design, operation and maintenance of storm water retention ponds. Attendees will learn the differences between wet (retention) and dry (detention) ponds along with the importance of ownership, defining of expectations for all parties, and dispelling myths associated with the perceptions and locations of ponds.

A 25-year industry veteran, Brock is viewed as a trusted advisor to city councils, water resource boards, developers and executives. He served as assistant city engineer for West Fargo during the city’s growth and expansion and also been a member of planning and zoning boards and committees. Brock earned his master’s degree in civil engineering from North Dakota State University. 

Water Treatment Operation Challenges Overcome
Thurs, Oct. 16, 11am
Dakota Hall (Session A)

Steve, a senior project engineer at Moore Engineering, will speak with a panel of others about the day-to-day need for membrane system performance evaluation.

Steven has nearly 40 years of experience in academic and corporate research, process development/design, project engineering, process plant operations/training as well as data acquisition system design and management of regulatory reporting. His process exposure has been in the metallurgical, chemical, water treatment and pollution control industries. Steve graduated with his master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Download the full conference program.

Join us for drinks, food and conversation.

We’re also hosting a Moore Engineering reception at Fargo Billiards and Gastropub on Tuesday night from 5 to 9pm. This gathering is open to everyone. If you plan on coming, please RSVP: gkizima@mooreengineeringinc.com or 701.551.1054

We hope to see you in Fargo!

Kent Ritterman is Moore Engineering’s environmental engineering manager, based out of the West Fargo office.

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Are you making the most of GIS in your community?

Geographic information systems (GIS) technology offers communities substantial benefits.

Much more than a map, GIS is a highly effective, interactive tool that provides layers of up-to-date information quickly and efficiently so city planners and leaders can better manage their infrastructure projects and make more informed decisions.

At Moore Engineering, we help our clients leverage the power of GIS in a variety of ways – from improving maintenance schedules to choosing sites, to keeping records and more.

Hear from our experts in person

I invite you to get more in-depth insight into just how we use GIS to help clients, by attending presentations by two Moore Engineering GIS specialists – Gretchen Gottsacker and Tom Sayward – at the Minnesota GIS Annual Conference and Workshops in Rochester, Oct. 1-3.

Here’s a little bit about them and what you’ll learn in each session:

  • “West Fargo, North Dakota, CAD to GIS Conversion”

Gretchen will walk you through the conversion of West Fargo’s mapping from CAD to GIS, which included replacing utilities, parcels and subdivisions with updated GIS information. You’ll see how the conversion increased efficiency and future potential, and created functionality and legibility of the city’s special information. The project, says Gretchen, was a true cartographer’s dream that incorporated both the art and science of the geography around the city.

Utility_Database

Gretchen has a degree in GIS, cartography and human geography, with a minor emphasis in GIS and spatial analysis from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. She covers a range of analyses and data management at Moore Engineering, focusing on municipal, environmental and water resources mapping.

  • “Using Python to help non-GIS users rapidly gain familiarity with ArcGIS”

Tom will outline how, through a rapid increase in GIS utilization, an archaic file structure was replaced with an organized, more user-friendly and efficient design. A three-phase, multi-tier plan, the first phase focused on file migration. Phase two generated custom applications or tools for Moore engineers to use in working with clients (a custom stand-alone program outside of ArcMap), with plans for an interactive custom web map on the internet to improve efficiency and educate others on how to leverage the power of GIS.

Tom earned degrees in geography and forestry and completed the GIS certificate program from the University of Idaho. He has five years of programming experience. At Moore Engineering, he’s used Python to integrate raw HECRAS data with ARC-GIS to determine storage area floodwater flow direction, as well as calculation of how long a flooded area will be inundated.

We hope to see you in Rochester!

To learn more how about how Moore helps cities leverage the power of GIS, stop by and see me and our other GIS specialists at booth #16 at the Minnesota GIS Annual Conference and Workshops in Rochester Oct. 1-3. Questions?

 

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Moore again selected for PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence

For the second consecutive year, Moore Engineering was selected by PSMJ Resources, Inc., for its Circle of Excellence. Nationwide, only 63 firms made the exclusive list in 2014.

PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence highlights firms that are well-managed, based on key performance metrics that demonstrate outstanding achievements, including cash flow, productivity, business development, overhead management and staff retention. The Circle of Excellence represents the top 20 percent of participants in PSMJ’s annual Architecture and Engineering Performance Benchmark Survey.

“We are honored that PSMJ selected our company for the second year in a row,” said Jeffry Volk, Moore Engineering president and CEO. “It is a tribute to our employees, and affirms they are among the best in the nation.”

“As an employee-owned company, we are committed to sustainable business practices that create value for our company and our clients. We take great pride in doing things right and doing the right things,” added Volk. “In the end, it’s all about building great communities.”

About PSMJ

For 40 years, PSMJ Resources, Inc., has been recognized as the world’s leading authority, publisher and consultant on the effective management of architecture, engineering and construction firms. With offices in the United States as well as the United Kingdom and Australia, PSMJ offers over 150 titles in book, audio and video format. To learn more about PSMJ, visit www.psmj.com.

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Moore ALS donation tops $3,800

Ice Bucket.inddWhen Moore Engineering accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from the West Fargo Park District, the company pledged to match all employee donations to the ALS Association, with a $1,000 minimum company donation.

As usual, Moore Engineering employees answered the call and, together with the company match, $3,820 was donated to the ALS Association to help fund research and offer support to those with ALS and their families.

Amazing what some ice-cold water will inspire!

Join us in donating to help fight ALS at www.alsa.org.

Watch the videos from all three Moore Engineering ALS Ice Bucket Challenge events:

VIDEO: West Fargo ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

VIDEO: Minot ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

VIDEO: Fergus Falls and Wadena ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Fergus Falls and Wadena offices complete Ice Bucket Challenge

Moore Engineering’s Fergus Falls and Wadena offices were challenged by the West Fargo office to complete the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. They did a great job, including a surprise plot twist. These offices, in turn, challenged All Building Corporation and the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce’s office staff.

VIDEO: Fergus Falls and Wadena ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Moore Engineering matched all employee donations to the ALS cause. Together, Moore employees and the company donated $3,820 to help the ALS Association fund research and offer support to those with ALS and their families. Super effort, everyone!

Join us in donating to help fight ALS at www.alsa.org.

 

 

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Minot office accepts Ice Bucket Challenge

Moore Engineering’s Minot office was challenged by the West Fargo office to complete the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. They did a great job, employing heavy equipment to get thoroughly soaked. The Minot office, in turn, challenged their building mates, Quality Concrete, who participated with them, and the City of Minot’s Engineering Department.

VIDEO: Minot ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Moore Engineering is matching all employee donations to the ALS cause, with a $1,000 minimum company pledge. Join us in fighting ALS by donating online at www.alsa.org, and take the Ice Bucket Challenge yourself. We recommend waiting for a hot summer day.

Great job, Minot!

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge accepted

Moore Engineering was challenged by the West Fargo Parks District to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We accepted, of course, and on a chilly, breezy August day, drenched ourselves and employees from the City of West Fargo in cold water. In turn, we challenged Ohnstad Twichell Law Firm and the other Moore Engineering offices.

VIDEO: West Fargo ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

To support the battle against ALS, Moore Engineering will match all employee donations to the ALS cause, with a $1,000 minimum company pledge.

Thank you to everyone who has participated so far.  Who will join us in pouring cold water over your head?

 

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Community Service at its finest: Moore Engineering donates more than a gallon of blood

We recently held our semi-annual blood drive at the Moore Engineering West Fargo office. As the blood drive coordinator, I organized and planned the event through United Blood Services, a nonprofit community blood center that serves local hospitals nationwide.

The bloodmobile parked outside of the Moore Engineering office.

The bloodmobile parked outside of the Moore Engineering office.

We had 10 people participate in the drive, each donating about 1 pint of blood. This means altogether we donated more than a gallon of blood!

Making a real difference

At Moore Engineering, we understand the importance of donating blood. Quite simply, it saves lives!

Our team views the blood drive as another way to give back to the community. We donate for a variety of reasons.

One of my co-workers told me she donates because she had a family member that needed routine transfusions. Another explained that he donates whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact, donating blood has become routine for him.

I’ve donated blood about seven times, and each time I get a greater sense of satisfaction knowing I’ve have made a real difference in the life of someone in need.

Working with people who are so committed to helping others makes me a proud Moore Engineering employee.

Kara is a human resources assistant at Moore Engineering’s West Fargo office. The most rewarding part of her job is building relationships with other employees through different projects.

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League of Cities

Looking for ways to fund infrastructure?

Underwood Water Tower Replacement

Talk to us at the League of Minnesota Cities Conference

Meeting infrastructure needs – now and in the future – is a big concern for most small communities and their leaders.

How do you maintain and modernize roads, bridges, water lines, sewers and water or wastewater treatment plants? What can you do to make sure the infrastructure your residents depend on every day to safely go about their daily lives is sound, efficient and cost effective?

Do you have a strategic plan for growth and development? What are your priorities? How will you build consensus, and last, but far from least, where will you find the money to pay for your municipal projects?

Getting from pipedreams to new pipes

Over the last 50+ years, Moore Engineering has helped dozens of Minnesota and North Dakota cities and small towns answer these and other questions – and built thousands of municipal projects. We understand the challenges, from funding to permitting to implementation to maintenance.

We also have a thorough understanding of the complexities and specifics of government funding programs, because we’ve been working with them for so many years. In fact, I’ve been introduced at meetings in Minnesota as “the person who finds ways to finance projects.”

Bottom line is this: we know funding resources inside and out, how to get the most out of them, and where to look for every available dollar. And we know how to combine your vision with our expertise to get results for your community.

Moore bang for your buck

At Moore Engineering, we take a holistic approach to engineering. That means we do more than simply consider the project on the table, particularly when it comes to funding. Our process involves looking beyond the immediate project to consider other present and future needs with additional funding opportunities.

It’s an approach that has saved our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s one example: a city had a plan for updating a wastewater treatment plant. We looked at the city’s additional needs – an aged, deteriorating sanitary sewer – and proposed a more comprehensive project that significantly increased the value to the community without a significant rise in projected monthly cost for users.

To learn more about how even small cities with limited budgets can make big things happen, stop by and see me at the Moore Engineering Booth 511 at the LMC annual conference in St. Cloud on Thursday, June 19. I look forward to chatting with you.

Hugh Veit is professional engineer and Moore Engineering’s Minnesota branch manager. He’s been helping Minnesota and North Dakota communities find ways to finance their infrastructure projects for 34 years. Moore has offices in Fergus Falls and Wadena, Minn.

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