Core Project Demonstrations
A core body of work has been advanced under RésEau to demonstrate effective environmental information sharing approaches and improve scientific data comparability. This work has been supported by user needs research, capacity building, outreach and communications.
- Increasing the comparability of water quality data in Canada
- Access to Water Quality Data
- Analytical Methods for Water Quality
- Pockwock-Bowater Watershed Study
- Biological measurement of water quality (BugML)
- Canada and Newfoundland/Labrador Aqua Link (CANAL)
- Enhancing Real-Time Mapping Using the OGC Web Map Context Documents Specification
- Exploring the Use of SensorML to Deliver Station-Level Water Information
- Using GeoRSS to Provide Dynamic On-Line News
Canada is a challenging location for an aquatic biomonitoring program. Its combination of large land area and low population density requires new thinking to achieve the quantities and scales of data coverage for national reporting of status and trends within the nation's inland aquatic ecosystems.
The Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) has initiated the development of a new XML standard aimed at supporting the integration of biomonitoring data from distributed data sources.
As a first step towards the development of BugML, a workshop was held on March 13 th and 14 th 2006 in Mississauga , Ontario . The aim of the workshop was to introduce a draft BugML schema to small group of people, in order to facilitate discussion and identify key requirements.
A summary report from this workshop, including an initial draft BugML schema, summary information from discussion groups, and a roadmap for future work is currently being completed.
Organization: Environment Canada
The Canada and Newfoundland/Labrador Aqua Link (CANAL) is a web site that has been built in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation and Environment Canada over the past three years.
The site is focused on delivering ambient water quality information to the public and provides dynamic access to station descriptions, data and metadata for over 100 shared water quality stations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador .
Each year, new tasks and deliverables are identified at yearly water agreement meetings and subsequently appended to the existing Federal-Provincial Water Agreement. Much of the CANAL work has been supported through the Canadian Information System for the Environment (CISE) and GeoConnections initiatives.
Recent work on the delivery of interoperable web services and real time data was funded within RésEau. Other RésEau deliverables include station descriptions pages, the development of an automated water quality index calculator, provision of bacteriological information, dynamic charting, and the ability to download data directly from Environment Canada's water quality database.
Organization: Environment Canada , Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation
Water quality is monitored by a variety of different organizations for a number of different purposes in Canada . As a result, similar water quality contaminants are analyzed by many different laboratories and instruments across the country. Data from one organization can not always be directly compared with another in a scientifically credible manner.
A key RésEau demonstration effort is a detailed comparability assessment of a large of amount of national-scale water quality data. These data are collected by either Environment Canada or jointly with its provincial partners. The comparability assessment is based on comparisons of thousands of parameters and their associated laboratory analytical methods. (It does not include sampling techniques, statistical validation or other factors.)
One of RésEau's key objectives is to improve access to national water data and information. Therefore, an important and unprecedented demonstration has involved facilitating access to a vast amount of Environment Canada's water quality information - including direct access to sets of national-scale water quality data.
The data comparability efforts described above have been a necessary foundation for this work to ensure that the data provided could reliably compare to one another in a national context. Data accessible through the RésEau search tools has first undergone a data comparability assessment.
In support of scientific data comparability efforts, a comprehensive manual of analytical methods for water quality has been compiled. As an initial focus the manual documents physical, nutrient and metal parameters. The laboratory analytical methods for key parameters are detailed along with the associated VMV codes.
The Pockwock-Bowater Watershed Study is an on-the-ground, forestry-based, ecosystem research project. The primary focus is to measure the response of stream water (quality and quantity) when forest harvesting occurs and special management zones (SMZ) are maintained. The study also examines the compounding effect of acid precipitation on nutrient cycling in the system.
The Project concept was developed through collaboration between Environment Canada, Ecosystem Science, and Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR), Forestry Division. NSDNR was developing regulations to require special management zones along watercourses and Environment Canada had been conducting a research project in association with the Fundy Model Forest on the effectiveness of riparian zones at Hayward Brook, Southern New Brunswick . The intent was to transfer what was learned at Hayward Brook, as well as the research design, to a site in Nova Scotia . The goal was to gain a broader understanding of SMZ function.
Focussing on leading-edge mapping capabilities, RésEau used the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Context (WMC) Documents Specification to allow a user to search, visualize, and access live web services. Users are able to search and discover services stored in the RésEau geospatial web services catalogue, and subsequently map them.
Development of a Web Services Catalogue model and service using the OGC Web Feature Service (WFS) standard were used in the creation of a RésEau catalogue that contains all of the services generated for RésEau projects.
This catalogue stores station level metadata for all of RésEau's contributing partners and enables the discovery of sampling sites (stations) which meet search criteria such as keyword and topic. This approach allows the user to discover which stations measure a particular parameter and then plot this information on a map. Data download and display is also enabled at this level for some of the stations.
The growing adoption of OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards and technologies to deliver station level metadata has been explored as a key RésEau demonstration to provide monitoring information in an internationally-recognized format.
Previous efforts in facilitating access to information have focussed on providing users with descriptive information about monitoring programs, their stations, and which parameters are measured at a particular station. New efforts under RésEau respond to users' desire to progress further to access raw or interpreted data at a station once introductory information has been provided.
A Sensor Observation Service (SOS) standard was used given its potential contribution to the future delivery of Canadian monitoring data. The SOS standard is easily transferable beyond water monitoring activities to any environmental variable, both sample-based, and in-situ. The use of the SOS has also been explored by Natural Resources Canada.
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are on-line news feeds which are used to deliver web-based news following a set of standards . RSS feeds are a growing, technologically advanced means of delivering news-related information.
RSS feeds were explored with the RésEau newsletter - RésEau News . The GeoRSS standard was also used to geocode and provide dynamic maps to accompany each newsletter article .
Over the course of the RésEau initiative, three workshops brought together the diverse range RésEau partners from federal, provincial and community organizations across Canada .
The workshops ensured that each stakeholder in the RésEau initiative had a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities thereby paving the way for the effective integration of partner projects into the RésEau portal.
At these workshops, participants showcased their projects and received feedback and technical assistance from the RésEau team. Additionally, the workshops were a venue for partners to network and explore opportunities to collaborate on future initiatives.
As a result of these dynamic and consultative workshops, RésEau contributes to a more complete picture of water information for Canadians.
The workshops were held the following dates and locations:
March 22-23, 2005 - Ottawa (Ontario)
October 18-19, 2005 - Biosphere, Montreal (Quebec)
February 13-15, 2006 - Gatineau (Quebec)
Communications activities were a key component of RésEau achievements and successes. A suite of communications tools was developed to promote the initiative, including brochures, display systems, posters, one-pagers, and electronic newsletters.
The RésEau team has also conducted an ongoing outreach campaign that includes presentations at environmental policy workshops, geospatial data conferences and water related events - both nationally and internationally.
This interactive Web portal forms the dynamic focal point of RésEau - the portal comprises the Freshwater Data and Information corner of the Sustaining the Environment and Resources for Canadians (SERC) Web site. This portal includes data, interpreted information, tools, and services to facilitate the interconnection of water information.
User needs assessments have been conducted throughout RésEau's development, both formally and informally. A research-based user needs assessment was conducted with a small sample of regionally selected water resource managers to enhance the value of various RésEau tools and capabilities. User needs information was also collected through secondary analysis of related research and in an informal fashion through various workshops and networking opportunities with water stakeholders.
To validate the approach taken for a youth target audience, a consultation session was held with the Youth Round Table on the Environment (YRTE). The YRTE is comprised of 18 youth, aged 14-26, from across Canada who sit in a voluntary capacity to provide input on Environment Canada's programs. The RésEau team sought out an opportunity to meet with this group to gain feedback on RésEau outcomes and activities. As youth are identified as a key audience for RésEau, this feedback was significant in identifying how RésEau could effectively meet the needs of a youth audience.
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