As data flow, scientists advocate for quality control

Aug 06, 2013
As data flow, scientists advocate for quality control
Nicholas Grant, a hydrologist with the US Forest Service, is pictured programming a NOAH IV Total Precipitation Gauge to collect and store total precipitation data every 15 minutes. Credit: Ian Halm, U.S. Forest Service

As sensor networks revolutionize ecological data collection by making it possible to collect high frequency information from remote areas in real time, scientists with the U.S. Forest Service are advocating for automated quality control and quality assurance standards that will make that data reliable.

In an article published recently in the journal Bioscience, research ecologists John Campbell and Lindsey Rustad of the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station and colleagues make a case for incorporating automated quality control and quality assurance procedures in . The article, "Quantity is Nothing without Quality: Automated QA/QC for Streaming Environmental Sensor Data," is available at: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/43678

"In the not distant future, sensor networks will be the standard technique used to collect data on all kinds of ecosystems," said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station and Acting Director of the Forest Products Lab. "Science is the backbone of land management planning and decision-making, and standard quality procedures are essential to assure that data is not just available, but reliable."

In "Quantity is Nothing Without Quality," Campbell and colleagues discuss reasons why sensors fail and how failures can be minimized or circumvented. They also describe methods for detecting and flagging suspect data and procedures for incorporating corrective measures into . The article suggests best practices and approaches for implementing automated quality assurance/quality control procedures.

As scientists with the Forest Services' Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains, Campbell and Rustad know the promise and pitfalls of sensor networks.

"Extreme events are typically the most interesting and useful to evaluate, and those are the times when sensors often fail," said Campbell. "Raw data can be misleading if it does not properly characterize an event."

Explore further: Damaging non-native forest pests at home in northeastern US

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peer review option proposed for biodiversity data

Oct 25, 2012

Data publishers should have the option of submitting their biodiversity datasets for peer review, according to a discussion paper commissioned by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

New video streaming technology for mobile phones

Jul 10, 2013

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a new architecture for better-quality video streaming on mobile phones and across wireless networks. The new architecture is based on utilising information gathered and ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.