Supporting Large-scale Biological Monitoring and Modeling through Data Management and Visualization: Coastal Information Management System (CIMS)

Science Center Objects

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and USGS have partnered to utilize the data management and visualization capacities of the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center’s Advanced Application Team to manage, deliver, and visualize the largest biological dataset maintained in coastal Louisiana.

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

The Science Issue and Relevance: With approximately forty percent of all the U.S. wetlands located in the lower 48 states, the Louisiana coastal zone is of biologic importance not only to Louisiana but to the nation. This coastal region possesses critical habitat for many threatened and endangered species and provides key breeding grounds for many commercially important aquatics organisms upon which a large portion of the coastal economy and culture are based. Without the annual river floods providing nourishment and sediment to the wetlands as in the past, the Louisiana coastal zone continues to lose approximately 16.57 square miles per year.

Resource managers, project planners, landscape modelers, and the general public need data to make informed decisions regarding conservation of natural resources. As such, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and USGS have partnered to utilize the data management and visualization capacities of the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center’s Advanced Application Team to manage, deliver, and visualize the largest biological dataset maintained in coastal Louisiana. The result of this partnership is the Coastal Information Management System (CIMS).

Coastal Information Management System (CIMS) Spatial Viewer

Coastal Information Management System (CIMS) Spatial Viewer

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: The CPRA-funded data management and visualization effort supports hundreds of monitoring stations across coastal Louisiana. This system not only supports current data, but contains all historic CPRA stations, some of which date back approximately 20 years. As the data management lead for CIMS, the USGS WARC Advanced Applications Team uses enterprise relational databases and web-based user forms to enable data collectors and quality assurance staff easy access to large amounts of data. The CIMS application stack consists of three major components: biological tabular data management, GIS management and mapping, and document management.

  • Biological Tabular Data Management: CIMS currently supports seven data types: Accretion, Continuous Hydrographic, Discrete Hydrographic, Forest Vegetation, Marsh Vegetation, Soil Properties, and Surface Elevation. Data collection staff uploads collected data through a web-based form. A series of validations is performed at that stage and data files not meeting the criteria are rejected with immediate feedback to the user informing them of the nature of the errors. Once accepted, incoming data are placed into a holding area and are subject to a rigorous Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) process before being accepted into the system and made publically available. CIMS also supports real-time data stations. Data from these stations are entered into the database using an automated process, usually within 30 minutes of collection. All approved data can be downloaded in tabular form. Small data sets are available immediately, while larger data requests are queued for offline processing and emailed.
     
  • GIS Management and Mapping: The CIMS Main Viewer application allows the user to see the tabular data for different layers, like “CPRA Projects,” spatially. The user is able to pan, zoom, view the Metadata, filter, and view attributes for the layers selected. The user can also print their current map or create a map link to share the map they created with others.
     
  • Document Management: Document management leverages the Advanced Application Team experience in previous document library projects to develop a robust document storage and retrieval web application. Using the web application librarians are allowed to upload documents and metadata associated with these documents. Individual documents can be retrieved and downloaded or reports listing all documents matching specific search criteria can be viewed and exported. Again, leveraging on this experience, a photo library enhances the user’s ability to store and retrieve photo documentation of project work in coastal restoration. A future enhancement will expand this leverage to the Flood Protection documentation with both digital reports and photographs of Louisiana levee work.
CIMS Document Library Search

CIMS Document Library Search

Future Steps: The USGS WARC Advanced Applications Team will continue to support the CPRA by enhancing CIMS capabilities and functionality as appropriate to meet partner and user needs

 

CPRA Bulk Upload QA/QC

CPRA Bulk Upload QA/QC