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CYBERCULTURE | HEARD ON THE BEAT

Software to Help Clean Up Our Act

March 02, 1998|P.J. HUFFSTUTTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The staff at Environmental Software insist they are very PC--in both senses of the word.

After all, the tiny firm in Huntington Beach is one of the few software makers to specialize in building computer tools for environmental professionals. The goal, said founder Susan Perrell, is to give ecologists, scientists and wildlife workers the ability to compile research data and find new ways to clean up the landscape.

"I had been working on environmental management projects for Arco and realized that there were no tools on the market that addressed my needs," Perrell said.

Specifically, Perrell said she was looking for a computer program that would allow her to track the relationship between contaminants and the soil. For example, if there had been an oil spill on a patch of sand, which direction would it move? How would different types of soil react? If a river is nearby, how would that affect a cleanup effort?

Three years ago, Perrell joined her brother and a software developer friend to launch Environmental Software. Their key product, SitePro, is a Windows-based software package that lets users manage their scientific data, create three-dimensional maps of an area and graph out trouble spots, among other things.

Though a young company, Environmental Software has already landed contracts with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Recently, the federal wildlife agency chose the firm to help with its cleanup efforts in the Bolsa Chica wetlands.

"They came highly recommended. But more importantly, they're local," said Mickey Rivera, an environmental contaminants specialist with the federal agency. "They have something at stake with this cleanup effort too."

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P.J. Huffstutter covers high technology for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7830 and at p.j.huffstutter@latimes.com

Diego. "She didn't even know she was listed," Jenkins said.

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