Precision of Data

Hydrometric Grammar – Is Data Singular? Are Datum Plural?

Good stream hydrography requires careful attention to technical detail. We care deeply about the precision of our data. So why would we be tolerant in the precision with which we define data? At issue is matching a verb with the noun. According to Wikipedia, “the word data is the traditional plural form of the now-archaic datum”. From Latin roots, data means “something given,” which implies a fundamental unit granularity. In modern use the word ‘data’ is used as a mass noun, like water, using the singular tense. I am definitely not modern. I don’t have tattoos, body piercings or dependency … Read More

Duke Energy Convention Center

2014 NWQMC Takeaway – The Industry is Moving to Continuous Monitoring

Day 2 of the National Water Quality Monitoring Conference in Cincinnati, OH was an interesting day of presentations. The rest of the week appears to be just as fascinating. It has been great reconnecting with old peers, making new connections, and listening to the presentations on some very thought-provoking projects. The passion for water resources expressed by this year’s attendees inspires me, and I think in some way recharges my own passion for water resources. This year’s NWQMC conference has given me a perspective of the continuous data industry that I never really considered, and wanted to share. In an … Read More


Quality Shared is Trust Earned – Communicating Water Data Quality

The OGC WaterML 2.0 standard is an industry game-changer. Now it is easier for hydrometric data producers to make their data accessible for timely decision making and it is easier for data consumers to find relevant data to drive evidence-based decision making. Almost as important as the sharing of data is the sharing of data quality. Let me explain. There are a great many, perfectly valid, ways of measuring almost anything. However, the quality of the different measurements of the same thing will vary as a result of a wide variety of factors. As a thought experiment, imagine you are … Read More

Congo River Segment

Three Great Reasons to Update Your Subscription to Hydrology Corner

Dear Readers, Over the past three years Hydrology Corner has grown from a ground breaking blog on hydrology topics, to a multi-author source for cutting edge news, information, and opinions about hydrological best practices. Today, we are announcing an upgrade to our email subscription services to better serve a growing readership. This new system will offer: Better access to manage your subscription A redesigned look and feel to bring images to your inbox Easier ways to share Hydrology Corner content with people you know. If you haven’t subscribed already now is your chance to sign-up. If you are already subscribed, … Read More

Todd River near Alice Springs - Frank weber

The Other Extreme – Part 2: ‘Nothing’ Matters

In ‘The Other Extreme – Part 1: the Measurement of Absolutely Nothing’ I presented an argument that the difference between ‘exactly zero flow’, and ‘nowhere near enough water to generate flow’ can be important from a water resource management perspective. We rely on discharge data to inform us about water availability. This reliance is based on an assumption that discharge data represents information both about the hydrology upstream of the gauge as well as hydraulic conditions downstream of the gauge. Zero flow marks the point of departure between this assumption and the truth. Now I would like to further expand … Read More

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