Hydrology Corner Blog: data management

Reality by the Numbers – What the Spreadsheet Has Done to Us

There is a hidden cost behind the reliance on spreadsheets that is invisible to those who are dependent on them. Most people use spreadsheets for multiple purposes, so using spreadsheets to manage water data seems “free” relative to the cost of purpose-built software for data management. A National Public Radio Podcast about spreadsheets was recommended to me by colleagues at the CWRA conference in Lethbridge last week.


A Question of Scale: Reconciling Point-Scale Observations With Watershed-Scale Outcomes

Laboratory analysis of a water quality sample links a lot of data and metadata to a singular point in time and space. However, the objectives for monitoring may span spatial and temporal scales from point sampling (e.g. at an outfall) to watershed assessment (e.g. to characterize waters; identify trends; assess threats; inform pollution control; guide environmental emergency response; and support the development, implementation, and assessment of policies and regulations). Reconciling data- and metadata-dense analytical results with watershed-scale outcomes is a work-in-progress for many monitoring agencies.

AQUARIUS WebPortal – A Flash Flooding Emergency Management Success Story

When facing imminent flood dangers, time is of the essence. However, getting the right information to the right people in real-time can be challenging. No one knows this more than the City of Brisbane. Located on the east coast of Australia, Brisbane is a world-class city, enjoyed for its subtropical climate. However, that same climate contributes to various forms of flooding, including from storm surge, large tides, creeks, and the Brisbane River.

Mitigating Risk for Risk Mitigation: What L’Aquila Means for Water Monitoring

On October 22, 2012, six Italian scientists and a government official were sentenced to 6 years in jail, given lifetime bans on holding public office, and ordered to pay compensation of €7.8m in connection with the L’Aquila earthquake. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake injured over 1,000 people and resulted in 300 deaths. The judgment was based…

hydrometric discussion

A Hydrometric Discussion Dissing Our Disregard for Disinformation

I have talked previously about information and uncertainty in hydrometric data. Information refers to how well the data represent the ‘true’ signal whereas uncertainty refers to excursions from the truth that are entrenched in the data. Measuring uncertainty using statistical methods (e.g. Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty) gives us the ability to quantify misinformation…