Article courtesy of Alaska Business: digital.akbizmag.com/issue/february-2021/technology-driven-environmental-consulting-engineering-and-geomatics-services/
Though Ahtna Solutions, LLC (ASL) is one of the newest subsidiaries of Ahtna Netiye’, a holding company for Ahtna, Inc. (Ahtna), it is making impressive strides in the market-place. ASL provides technology-driven engineering, environmental, and geomatics (survey and mapping) services to its clients. ASL enhances the operations of Ahtna’s other subsidiaries, allowing clients to benefit from the expertise of hundreds of engineers, scientists, and specialists.
“We have a unique blend of staff with engineering, environmental, geomatics, and data management backgrounds,” ASL President Tim Gould, PE explains. “We’re touching our core markets and linking them together using the science of geomatics to include remote sensing techniques, GIS (geographic information system), and other geospatial data management/analysis/visualization technologies.”
“ASL offers a broad range of environmental capabilities and is expanding into more engineering and special services including geomatics,” says Program Manager Jeremy Blei, PE.
ASL recently added an airborne Lidar (light detection and ranging) to its technology offerings. The Optech T-2000 Lidar is aircraft-mounted and used to conduct high-accuracy land surface elevations over large areas (thousands of square miles). ASL also utilizes unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) for smaller remote sensing projects (hundreds of acres). The acquisition of this state-of-the-art equipment demonstrates Ahtna’s strong commitment to growing their technology-based business and providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers for Ahtna shareholders and other Alaskans.
ASL is also employing remote sensing on environmental projects which allows customers an early look at remote or limited-access sites. “If you have up-front information, it makes subsequent site assessment more efficient and cost-effective,” says Program Manager Nino Muniz, MS, PG.
ASL also supports Ahtna’s Land Department in the management of 1.8 million acres of land in the Ahtna Region. ASL’s engineering and geomatics tools are being used to identify and analyze cultural resources, timber growth, land-use options, and access concerns.
ASL’s growth in geomatics is being facilitated by Merrick & Company, an architecture, engineering, geospatial, and surveying firm. Through their mentor-protégé relationship, ASL has gained valuable remote sensing training and guidance in developing its staff and technical resources.
ASL has been a pioneer in the development of near real-time GIS field data gathering; it electronically collected and managed field data from features located across 10 square miles on Atka Island. (The undertaking encompassed nearly 1,200 data points using iPads with GIS, a database and website.) Gould says: “This approach increases efficiency, reduces errors, and facilitates data usability, all at a lower cost.”
The expansion of ASL into geomatics makes perfect sense, given society’s demand for spatially referenced data. “You can’t name an industry that doesn’t use GPS or geomatic-related data in some fashion,” explains Program Manager Patrick Harris, PG. “The migration into the area of geomatics is very complementary to the core services we perform in engineering and environmental consulting.
ASL’s emphasis on technology is intrinsic to its continued growth and success. Gould explains: “It allows the company to diversify in a technology-focused marketplace and provide enhanced solutions for our customers’ most difficult problems.”