Dispersion Modeling Audits: Using NK Tools

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing and walking on the moon was quite an achievement. Though the ultimate goal was to put humans on the moon, the steps to get to that end point didn’t exactly resemble the final product. The beginning stages of the preparation for the moonshot were very crude, clumsy, and addressed only the most basic requirements for going into flight let alone going into space. Over time, specific tests were performed, such as orbiting the earth, space walking by the astronauts, and docking one spacecraft with another, because no one knew what problems would arise since no one had done this before. These tests provided proof of what would work and what would not.

At NaviKnow, though we are aiming for the moon and the stars, we are starting out near the ground (for now), to convince you there is a better way to perform and review dispersion modeling. We have been preaching about a whole new approach for some time. Now, we have a few tools to help you with your work. Putting our words into action. The tools are a bit clumsy at this point, but, as we get feedback from users, they will get better.

What Is Our Goal?

The problem NaviKnow is trying to solve is to make the whole process of dispersion modeling faster. The one piece of the problem statement that all others seem to miss is the phrase “whole process”. By the whole process, we mean from the time it is realized modeling has to be performed up to when the modeling has been approved by a regulatory agency and an air quality permit issued. Making the computer code run faster and the data entry easier have helped, but those improvements are a lot like putting fresh paint on rotten wood. They really do not address the fundamental problem.

The current process of conducting a dispersion modeling analysis, preparing it for submission to a regulatory agency for review, and having the agency review and approve all the materials, takes a minimum of several weeks and can go on for several months or longer. We are working on a solution to shorten the process time to just days. Yes, I said days! Sounds nuts? It would have been just as crazy to tell someone in 1960 that humans will be walking on the moon before the decade is out. Look how that turned out.

Taking a Test Flight

To provide a proof of concept, NaviKnow has developed three simple tools to shorted the dispersion modeling process time. These tools achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce the number of files to review or QA/QC from potentially hundreds to just three; and
  • Standardizes the data format making it easier to search and query

Accompanying these tools are an Access database (to QA/QC the inputs), a spreadsheet template (to summarize input and output), and Word document template (for your report).

If you have been tasked to QA/QC a dispersion modeling analysis before it gets submitted to an agency for review or if you review dispersion modeling for a regulatory agency, we invite you to use these tools. They are FREE for the asking by sending an email to [email protected].

Though these tools do not solve the whole problem, they weren’t meant to, they will shave a few hours, maybe a day or two, off the whole process for a single project. Give them a try and let us know how things turn out.


We do firmly believe the whole modeling process can be just a few days long. The tools we have developed and supporting files move us all in that direction. To continue to make progress, we do need your assistance. For us to help you, we need you to try these tools out. They are FREE for the asking, and please do ask. Send a request via email to [email protected] and you will receive all three tools and supporting files, which include an Access database, an Excel workbook template, and Word document template. We will work with you to get everything set up and integrated so you can start performing a more thorough review in less time.

If you found this article informative, there is more helpful and actionable information for you.  Go to http://learn.naviknow.com to see a list of past webinar mini-courses. Every Wednesday (Webinar Wednesday), NaviKnow is offering FREE webinar mini-courses on topics related to air quality dispersion modeling and air quality permitting. We also have articles air quality issues at http://naviknow.com/news. If you want to be on our email list, drop me a line at [email protected].

One of the goals of NaviKnow is to create an air quality professional community to share ideas and helpful hints like those covered in this article. So if you found this article helpful, please share with a colleague.


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