The sheer volume of 3PPI’s work load and the continuous demands of our growing client base have facilitated a number of innovations that help separate us from our competition and allow us to attract and keep the best wetland, wildlife, soil, and aquatic scientists available in the private sector. In order to hire the skilled specialists needed to support our large Alaska mapping projects, 3PPI allows key staff members a liberal flex schedule policy and the ability to live in Lower 48 locations, given that they fulfill the requirement to travel to Alaska for extended periods for summer field work. To stay connected, keep the flow of information moving as efficiently as it would if we all worked in the same building, and remain leaders in environmental consulting, we use the best technological tools available.
Servers & Secure FTP Site: 3PPI has four secure servers at Resource Data Inc. (RDI), our partner in custom database, Web, and GIS programming services, which host several applications, including our Smart Client Application (SCA), SharePoint®, and Intranet, our web-based time tracking and client invoicing system. RDI also hosts a secure FTP site which allows employees to move large files back and forth between 3PPI and subcontractor staff, and share them with designated QC reviewers, etc. Clients can post or download large files using guest access.
Intranet Timekeeping, Expense Tracking, & Invoicing System: While we are a small business by U.S. standards, our timekeeping, expense tracking, and invoicing system rival those of larger companies in our field. 3PPI uses an integrated web-hosted intranet system that allows employees to track their work hours by client, project, phase, and task. The same system allows the web entry of expenses and mileage, and the uploading of receipts needed for invoice backup. These data are integrated with project budget tracking and invoicing tools, which greatly reduce our administrative overhead and allow all staff and corporate officers to spend more time on technical work than administrative matters. The result benefits both our company and our clients by producing very detailed invoices with fully supported expense backup.
Cruncher, Esri®, & ERDAS IMAGINE: In 2009, 3PPI invested in a custom computing platform specifically designed for remote sensing and large image processing, as well as the remote sensing software package, ERDAS IMAGINE. Named "Cruncher," this custom processing platform is available to all our remote sensing and GIS specialists via a VPN connection. The system hosts Esri® ArcGIS Desktop Basic & Standard 10 (previously ArcView and ArcEditor), and ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension licensed software, as well as remote storage devices for housing large images and datasets. (http://www.esri.com) (http://geospatial.intergraph.com/)
SharePoint® Software: One of 3PPI's fleet of servers hosts our SharePoint® collaboration platform, where staff can work on documents collectively along with clients and subcontractors. Specific projects can have their own security settings, document access rules, etc. Currently in development with RDI is a Spatial File Tracking program for use in large mapping projects. (http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/)
GoToMeeting® Software: This software enables group conference calls where participants can sit at their computer workstations across the country, and view the presenters’ desktop or presentation. Staff and/or clients can actively participate by taking control of the mouse and keyboard, using highlighter pens to circle areas of concern or draw attention to specific topics. Meeting notes made on the screen, in chat logs, or via the phone recording can capture shared information for future reference. Participants can also email questions back and forth via a chat window in order to avoid interrupting the presentation where appropriate. (http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/)