The QUEST Data Management Tool is a database developed by the West Virginia Water Research Institute and the West Virginia University Office of Information Technology. The Data Management Tool serves as a platform for the collection of data and perhaps more importantly, provides a way for groups involved with the program to manage their own data.
Some of the key features of the QUEST Data Management Tool include:
FREE– The QUEST Data Management Tool is free to any citizen group or individual in the upper Ohio River Basin that would like to use the tool to help manage water quality data! Data being entered into the QUEST Data Management Tool is then placed in a secure database that only the individual user or group has access to. That data is also displayed on the 3 Rivers QUEST Data Map to help provide a better picture of overall health of the Upper Ohio River Basins.
Secure Database– A user name and password are necessary to provide access the QUEST Data Management Tool (which resides on the 3RQ Website, www.3riverquest.com). This provides individuals user with the ability to log in and enter data for their sites. Individual users can only enter data for sites in their respective group (i.e. John Doe can only enter data at sites for his watershed group).
Data Management – Individual users can enter data and watershed group administrators can export data (e.g. as an excel spreadsheet). The ability for individuals to enter data on their own can be very convenient for groups that have multiple volunteers collecting data! We realize that it can be very difficult to manage data and we hope that by using this tool, folks that normally spend their time wrangling volunteer data can free up their time to work on other watershed group issues.
Quality Assurance/Quality Control – Range values have been set for data entries (e.g. entering a pH of 27.0 will return an error message). Also, users are asked to verify their entries before submitting the form. These features are designed to reduce data entry errors and provide users with self-checking tools to ensure a high level of data integrity.
o Online data maps – Provide the ability to see the site locations and graphs of water quality data. Note: coordinates for site locations are not displayed on the QUEST Data Map to ensure confidentiality for groups who may not want their site information displayed. To further ensure site information remains confidential on the QUEST Data Map, sites will “disappear” from the map once a certain zoom-in threshold is reached.
o Reporting tools – Independent of the graphs provided by the online data map, the WVU ROIT folks are working on the development of “reporting tools” which will provide users with the ability to query data to create a variety of graphs.
Scalability – Additional parameters, data entries (data loggers), and other additions/improvements can be made to the tool as the needs, or numbers, of users change.
New to 3RQ
Data Logger Upload Goes Live!
The datalogger upload tool is up and running! Improving the process for uploading spreadsheets from continuous data loggers has been an important aspect of our goal to increase database functionality. This tool provides users with the ability to create/manage logger profiles, upload very large data-sets from continuous data loggers, and assist users with using their data.
Data Interpretation/ Reporting
WRI 3RQ staff have made significant progress in the coding/database development of data management tools within the 3RQ database to condense, simplify, and interpret the large amount of data produced by datalogger monitoring.
With the use of automatic calculations like daily averages, daily maximums, daily variations, and total averages, the database will save these calculations for fast and simplified queries of very large amounts of data. Moreover, the database will produce automatic reports for users, summarizing these results and making it easier to identify changes in water quality – both over time and sudden spikes which could indicate possible contamination events.
Recognizing that many watershed groups have extensive archives of data with many sites, 3RQ and WVU OIT have made data sharing as fast and easy as possible. One such step in this process is the multi-site uploader. This innovative feature allows volunteers to upload entire spreadsheets of field and analytical data for multiple sites at one time.
In effort to capture the Continuous Data Logger data that volunteer water quality monitoring programs are collecting, we have developed an upload feature specifically adjusted to the parameters and sampling time typical of spreadsheets containing logger data. The data dashboard allows volunteers to see their data in automatically generated graphs and figures each time they visit the 3RQ site, in addition to the existing data storage and mapping tools.