Water Quality Data
Water Quality data is collected as grab samples to yield a set of measurements. The measurements are numerical values but are often accompanied by text information that describes the measurement process or gives extra detail about conditions at the time of the sample. DataTamer stores the text data alongside the measurements and refers this extra data as Water Quality Parameters.
A parameter can be associated with the sample, or with a particular measurement. For example the name of the person who went out and got the data would be stored as a parameter associated with the sample. The same would apply to the Sample ID assigned by your office, and the Lab Sample ID assigned by the laboratory that analysed the sample. Measurement parameters belong to the particular measurement such as conductivity, pH, etc, and these can be used for things like the analysis method the lab used.
Water Quality data is often stored in relational databases, and the database designers will create fields in a table for each of the parameters they expect people will use. DataTamer does not do this, and instead lets you create and use parameters at will. A sample only contains parameters that you have assigned a value to, and the system does not worry about parameters that are not referenced in a sample. This flexibility means you design a storage system with a minimum set of parameters and add new ones without waiting for a database administrator to add new fields into a table.
Manager reports Water Quality data in plain table form, or via web pages. The web page layout lets you control the parameters in the table and the way the table is displayed. The Data List command in Manager takes data from the samples and writes it to an XML file. It runs this through an XSLT stylesheet of your design and then displays the result in the graph pane. This process is very fast and very versatile.
The screen shot shows the parameters associated with a Total Nitrogen measurement. You can see the results by getting Manager to draw a graph of the data and then clicking on a data point of interest. A right mouse menu lets you choose from seeing the single point, all the measurements and parameters associated with the sample, or all the measurements and parameters over a time range.