Managing the Data Explosion

by Richard P. Hooper, (A.M.ASCE), Hydrologist; U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Atlanta, GA,
Brent T. Aulenbach, Hydrologist; U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Atlanta, GA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 5, Pg. 74-76

Document Type: Feature article


Sound data management practices have always been central to a successful project. However, the data explosion brought on by high-tech electronic sensors and automatic samplers can exceed the capabilities of existing water-quality data-management systems just when they're needed most to process the information. The U.S. Geological Survey has responded to the problem by setting up an innovative system that allows for rapid data analysis. Using custom programs within a database-management package, USGS was able to process irregularly spaced data, handle high-frequency data and combine point and continuous data to draw conclusions about water quality. USGS developed this data-management system for the Panola Mountain Project in Stockbridge, Ga., a small watershed study exploring the effects of acid deposition and climate on surface water-quality. The integrated data management systems permits more timely editing, reduces sensor downtime and speeds data analysis.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Information management | Explosions | Probe instruments | Federal government | Project management | Automation | Geological surveys

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