Environmental Information Systems

Example Project: Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program Environmental Data Management System

Project Overview

The Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) collects environmental data each year from the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta. This program monitors an area of over 68,000 km2, focusing on six key components of the aquatic environment: climate and hydrology, water quality, sediment quality, lake acidity, fish populations and benthic invertebrate communities.

To help manage the vast amount of data gathered for each of these monitoring components, Hatfield has created a web-based environmental data management system. This system validates, stores, analyzes, and provides public access to component datasets collected from hundreds of stations since 1997.

System Features and Benefits

  • Query Hydrology, water quality, sediment quality, lake acidity, fish population, and benthic invertebrate community records through the RAMP website (www.ramp-alberta.org);
  • An integrated publically available web-mapping system provides geographic context to monitoring locations, and provides access to related spatial datasets such as land change (annually from 2005), lease boundaries, study areas, and watershed boundaries;
  • All raw, un-processed data pass through an automated data validation system. Raw data provided in Excel files are validated such that comments are added to the precise cells of the Excel file, providing direct visual feedback on data issues. This validation system uses custom-built logic for each program to ensure long-term data consistency and quality;
  • Climate and hydrology data management systems are powered by Aquatic Informatic’s Aquarius analysis and server storage systems – the same systems used by both the Water Survey of Canada and the US Geological Survey. Alerts for problematicdata or station telemetry outages are handled through Aquarius, resulting in timely station and data management;
  • Password protected members-area website provides access to meeting minutes, finance documents, reference documents, a searchable contact list, a calendar of events, and health and safety documents; and
  • Provides web-based climate and hydrology querying, visualization, and downloading tools for provisional 15-minute climate and hydrology datasets gathered through telemetry or manual means.

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