Ecoinformatics Conference Service, Environmental Information Management 2008

A Framework for Defining and Enforcing Multiple Validation Environments (i.e. Protocols) within Aquatic Ecology

Steve Rentmeester

Last modified: 2008-08-21


The listing of Pacific salmon under the Endangered Species Act led to an evaluation of how natural resource agencies in the Pacific Northwest collect, valid, analysis, report and share aquatic resources data. In May 2000, the Independent Science Review Panel (ISRP) released a report documenting the inadequacies of the data management system in the Columbia River Basin and noted significant inconsistencies in how aquatic resources data were reported. In 2007, Environmental Data Services developed the Aquatic Resource Framework (ARF) to support agencies enter, valid, document, and analyze aquatic resources data. The framework assumes there is a finite list of real world objects and attributes that are relevant to decision making about aquatic resources and assumes an infinite number of protocols that describe how these real world objects and attributes are observed or measured by data collectors. Each protocol is stored as unique data dictionary within the framework. These data dictionaries are then called by the front-end application to define the validation environment for a given protocol. Data entry sessions are associated with a single protocol and protocol-specific validation is enforced during data entry. Use of a finite ontology of real world objects supports documentation, integration, discovery, analysis, and sharing of data across multiple survey types (e.g. smolt trapping survey, water quality survey, stream habitat survey, snorkel survey, electro-fishing survey, etc.) Examples of real world objects include Fish, Stream, Large Woody Debris, Habitat Unit, Transect, Station, and Channel Segment.