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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: We38 Land Use Database Research Asset Development

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This project will unify existing, historical data on the land use and management of USDA-ARS’s WE-38 experimental watershed into a database that can be better utilized as a research asset.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The Penn State Center for Environmental Informatics (CEI) CEI will conduct (a) data modeling, (b) database design and implementation, (c) legacy data keying, translation and loading, (d) development of data entry and management tools and/or procedures, (e) development of example queries.

Data modeling will focus on generating an accurate data model that best fits the needs of future USDA-ARS research. CEI would focus on analyzing the existing data and working with USDA-ARS researchers to develop a data model that fits historical data and that could allow the incorporation of future data.

Database design and implementation will involve creating schema, tables, and relationships as well as choosing the appropriate software for database implementation. The key deliverable will be an empty and ready-to-use database.

Legacy data keying, translation, and loading will entail normalizing and cleaning the data in preparation for loading into a single database. The key deliverable for this activity will be a legacy database containing a pre-determined amount of existing data that has been normalized, keyed, and translated.

In order to make future data entry easier and less prone to error, CEI will develop tools and/or procedures that will assist USDA-ARS staff to enter, update, and manage data.


3.Progress Report:

The research contributes to subobjective 3.1, “Employ long-term watershed data to evaluate hydrologic and water quality impacts of climate variability and land use change”. Research under this agreement supports the creation of a long-term database of historical land-use and land management for the WE-38 watershed. We have held regular meetings (2-3 times per month) with the university cooperators to guide the development of the database. Meetings have focused on creating a database that not only captures all of the historical land-use data, which will be critical for conducting retrospective analyses that are outlined in the CRIS plan, but also accommodates new data that could support future research initiatives such as the ARS Long-Term Agroecosystem Research network. Database development is on track for completion by the fall of 2012.


Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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