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DOCS II Presentations

PAVA Trials

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In September of 2011, a group of enforcement agencies requested training and testing of the DOCS II Stand Alone Kits. VT LLC had a great experience with the April 2011 certification training in SLC and thus agreed to certify interested States in the eastern US. The certification protocol had evolved since the western training to include a full 300 (6 sets of 50 images) with each set having 25 white on a specific background and 25 black on specific backgrounds like the April event. However, in April only participant’s that were expecting to acquire images actually took pictures at the smoke school. Thus the entire class of 10 was certified on just three sets of images. VT LLC thought there was value in having each student acquire a unique set of smoke school images, 25 white and 25 black, such that each could demonstrate competency in image acquisition. Further, the resent publication of EPA Alternative Method 082, drove the need for a detailed self test upon start up. Thus VT LLC decided to use the images acquired during the certification of any given user and notebook combination as the self test images for that specific notebook configuration. Each of the certified Analyst, captured 25 white and 25 black images in the field and then performed analysis on these images, and certified on the DOCS II Stand Alone Kit configuration. Much was learned relative to the impact of weather and wind on plume apparent opacity as DOCS II Stand Alone Kits where use in the field. This increased data population drove significant up dates to the DOCS II algorithm set and 6 major version releases where produced between September 2011 and February 2012. The self-learning capability, of the DOCS II application began to drive algorithm updates as patterns emerged from field data captured with common time and longitudinal locations. The DOCS II Analysis engine had now out grown the capabilities of notebook computers and thus the DOCS II architecture needed to be reworked to bring the enhanced capability to the field operator. Further, imagery obtained from this testing reviled that image capture training was a critical component of the training and certification process. The certified analyst had all certified by correctly determining the opacity of 300 plumes in sets of 25 (by color) against multiple backgrounds. However, file sizes, Image : framing, zoom, absence of back ground shadow and consistent color gradients in the background was not well conveyed as the images captured in the field trials often violated these basic principles.

VT LLC analyzed the data sets from the trails, but most importantly looked hard at the operational soundness of the Stand Alone Kit approach and determined the approach had three major flaws. 1) the distributed data sets stored on the user local computer would not allow the self learning capability of the DOCS II to mature rapidly, 2) the user emphasis seemed to be focused on the analysis capability and thus ignored the equally important task of image acquisition, 3) the distributed nature of the analysis and the relatively low volume of visible emission observations performed did not allow field Analyzers to perform enough analysis to become efficient.

DOCS II SaaS was released in February 2012, the netcentric architecture of DOCS II SaaS was built to overcome all of the pit falls experienced with the desk top, laptop, Stand Alone Kit approaches to the field use and acceptance of DOCS II. DOCS II SaaS, allowed the analysis to be performed centrally for a given group of field data collectors, thus enabling the field user to perform VEE’s faster with DOCS II than with Method 9. The embedded mobile capability running on a smart phone platform enabled fully automated field data collection, and visual cues to the operator insuring complete and accurate data.