Environmental Data Systems At The CDI

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Environmental Data Systems At The CDI

The advent of automated data collection technologies in the business world gave birth to the practice of

business intelligence, allowing managers to use databases and knowledge discovery tools to create automated decision support systems within their companies. This same explosion of available data is now being experienced in the field of environmental science as technologies for remote sensing and automated data capture are becoming cheaper and easier to use. Monitoring activities by environmental scientists and others have produced an explosion of data. Until now much of this data has been stored in the computers of individual researchers and agencies.  This data can be organized in databases and made available to the research community and the public through web technology. 

The Center for Data Insight has established itself as a leader in this area of environmental and scientific database design and implementation.  The CDI has undertaken numerous projects from a variety of

clients many of which involve complete system design including database design, data input mechanisms, and data reporting mechanisms.

One recent project that was undertaken by the CDI was to build a database system to store environmental data for the USGS group Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. This system included an Oracle database backbone, a stand-alone data input automation program relying on Oracle's SQL*Loader interface,

and a website providing advanced reporting and query capability. This system provided a web of information allowing users to gain a comprehensive picture of the state of the Grand Canyon at any point in time (within the limitations of the data collected). .

Another project the CDI has completed was a weather database designed for NAU's Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research.  This database included automatically collected weather data from several weather stations around Northern Arizona.  The CDI built a website that allowed public access to the live database housing this data.  The CDI also built a software application that automatically downloaded updated weather data from the web and input it to the database on a regular schedule.  Part of this project included identifying new sources of data for this database, acquiring that data, and uploading it into the database.

The final project cited here is project currently in process at the CDI.  The CDI is developing a document archival system for NAU's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment organization.  This system incorporates GIS technology with relational database technology to provide users with the ability to survey the entire spectrum of data about a specific area or time.  This system uses a stand-alone data-input/file-uploader program to enter new data into the system.  This system also uses an Oracle database backbone and reports to users via the Internet.

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