Environmental Database Support Services

Exa has a long-term relationship with NOAA ARD managing large volumes of contaminant and toxicity data in support of on-going efforts such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), CERCLA sites and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) process in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The data provide content for multiple data analysis and visualization applications including DIVER (Data Integration Visualization Exploration and Reporting) Explorer, a web-based query and mapping interface that makes data available to the general public, and a map-based query desktop application called Query Manager. In support of NOAA ARD's mission we have incorporated datasets from a wide variety of sources and data types into a standard database structure; developed database code to improve data management; developed data templates and data processing applications in MS Excel and MS Access for use by external data providers to ensure data completeness and quality; provided extensive documentation of database applications; provided training for scientific staff to use data templates and database applications; developed extensive programming routines for quality assurance; and migrated the entire set of NOAA ARD's historical databases from MS Visual Foxpro to open source MySQL format.



DMMO Data-Driven Website and Data Template Import Tools 

The Dredged Material Management Office (DMMO) is a multi-agency organization responsible for making suitability determinations for dredged material proposed for disposal in San Francisco Bay. Exa has led several phases of a long-term project to develop a website that is used by multiple agencies to make regulatory decisions. The first phase was to conduct a Mission Needs Statement. From this needs assessment, Exa was part of a team that designed and developed the website, database, and supporting tools. The site was designed for several levels of access including contractors who submit data in standardized templates; DMMO project managers who have access to data and reports from contractors prior for approval; and the general public who can query the approved data through both standard and user-defined queries. 

The site is used by the DMMO to manage data submittals for DMMO meetings in the site's Meeting Area.  Data and documents are submitted for review by the DMMO and can be approved or rejected from the meeting room documents list. Exa was tasked with developing an organizational scheme for project, survey, and test data; populating a database with existing sediment quality, disposal volumes, and permit data; designing and developing web-based queries for the website for user groups of different skills and website access.  In addition, Exa developed a template for submittal of sediment chemistry and bioassay data to the DMMO with embedded routines to flag sediment chemistry and bioassay data of unacceptable quality, creating a QA/QC report for review by the DMMO. 



Database Management Strategy

The International Seabed Authority (Authority) is an intergovernmental organization established under the Law of the Sea Convention to administer the resources of the seabed outside the boundaries of national jurisdictions. Central to the Authority’s mission is the management of information.  Exa is developing a Data Management Strategy to support the Authority’s mission, by designing a data workflow for both confidential and public information, designing a geo-referenced spatial database, and conducting training for Authority staff. Our goal is to create a system which enables key users to easily generate summary content for data collected by the Authority and incorporate this information and other analyses into the database, while also providing the public access to the valuable and interesting information relating to the deep seabed environment.



DAMOS Program Database Design, Template Development and User Interface Design 

Exa has an extensive history with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, New England District to manage dredged material through the Disposal Area Monitoring System (DAMOS) Program.  The most recent project is the development of a database and user interface for sediment testing data.  Exa developed the Regulatory and Environmental Effects Database Application (REEDA) including a module to import electronic data deliverables (EDDs); a Data Selection Tool for selecting and exporting user-defined data; and the Compare to Reference Tool, used to compare testing data against reference values in support of dredged material disposal regulatory decisions.  Exa also updated the EDD with internal checking code and to be compatible with the REEDA program.




Exa conducted a User Needs Assessment by surveying people interested in scientific monitoring information collected at California’s marine protected areas. The project was conducted for the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Monitoring Enterprise, under the auspices of the California Ocean Science Trust. Using a user-centered design approach, the focus of the ultimate system design was drawn from the needs of the user, thereby improving the usability of the data and the utility of the applications.  Exa solicited the views of 519 potential users reflecting the diverse and geographically dispersed potential user population through an internet survey and telephone interviews. A final report was delivered analyzing the results of the user interviews and providing recommendations for the next steps.  The information collected in the project was used by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise for a subsequent system requirements analysis.