Implementation of a pilot GIS for a volunteer-based water quality monitoring program

Timothy Love, Chris Trumbauer, Charles Andrew Cole

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A pilot GIS has been implemented to provide value added analyses of geospatial water quality monitoring information at the West/Rhode Riverkeeper Organization, Inc. (WRR), an affiliate of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. This project has been developed in a manner to ensure sustainability for the organization and ease of use for non-experienced GIS users. Rather than focusing on a comprehensive implementation of spatial technologies, it is the intention that the project serves as a pilot study which must be sustainable and have its technology transferred to other Riverkeeper or similar watershed organizations in the region. Thus, the focus is directly to ensure that these GIS techniques be developed in such a manner to allow other water quality monitoring groups to seamlessly adopt them. The primary data incorporated into the project is obtained from part-time volunteers who reside in the study region and record weekly observations of water quality at discrete locations throughout the study domain. These data records are converted into spatial data format and ingested into COTS GIS software. In turn, a set of software operations has been formulated into simple automated tasks which W/R users may use to create their own analyses of water quality trends for dissemination to the public. Full documentation for all project aspects is provided and incorporated into a training program designed to ensure that all users understand and can easily use the spatial tools created within. This paper describes the planning and resultant implementation of the pilot GIS project developed for the West/Rhode Riverkeeper. This is an end-to-end development such that the system provides all aspects necessary for meeting the goals of a fully sustainable GIS given the lack of a pre-existing geospatial program. Described herein are considerations made with respect to software and hardware that will meet the long term needs of both the W/R organization and other Riverkeeper Organizations. Development of data inventories, including creation and maintenance of a geospatial database archive is described next. Creation of tools for non-technical staff to implement spatial manipulations is investigated, and a description of documentation and training activities conclude the presentation. It is the intention of this submission to provide a summary of tactics that may be used for other small, volunteer-based organizations to develop their own geospatial program without being subject to many trials and tribulations that were observed in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2009 17th International Conference on Geoinformatics, Geoinformatics 2009
StatePublished - 2009
Event2009 17th International Conference on Geoinformatics, Geoinformatics 2009 - Fairfax, VA, United States
Duration: Aug 12 2009Aug 14 2009

Publication series

Name2009 17th International Conference on Geoinformatics, Geoinformatics 2009


Other2009 17th International Conference on Geoinformatics, Geoinformatics 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityFairfax, VA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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