Water Quality Metadata Guideline

The Water Information Standards Business Forum (the Forum) is seeking review and comment on a draft National Industry Guideline for water quality metadata.

The development of this guideline has been led by the QLD Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) with the support of the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) and is based upon work undertaken as part of a Modernisation and Extension fund project in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Consultation now open

Download the draft guideline here ...

The closing date for submissions is 19 September 2014.

You can submit a marked up version of the draft document or provide a separate written response. Please, submit your review comments directly to WIS_Forum@bom.gov.au.

In your review you could consider the following questions:

  • Is the guideline relevant for your organisation? If not how can it be made more relevant?
  • Do your current practices conform (or can they be modified to conform) with the guideline?
  • Would changes be required to the guideline before your organisation could adopt it and, if so, what is the detail of the changes?
  • Do you consider that any sections within the guideline are too prescriptive and should be more flexible?
  • Do you consider that any sections within the guideline are too subjective or broad, and need to be tighter?

Refer to the context document for more information on the scope and purpose of the guideline. Some comments have already been received from members of the Forum and the Technical Reference Group. A number of these initial comments relate to the classification of metadata elements as either mandatory or optional, and a concern that there are a large number of mandatory elements. Please note that a key aim of the guideline is to present industry recommended practice and provide high level guidance and targets which will be promoted for national adoption. Adherence to the guideline will be on a voluntary basis. Datasets which do not meet all the metadata elements identified as mandatory are still valid, but the data quality and usefulness may be relatively less than if full compliance with the guideline is achieved.

What does the guideline cover?

The draft guideline applies to water quality data collected and being supplied to the Bureau under the Water Regulations 2008 by organisations named in the regulations. It provides guidance about metadata elements that are meaningful and pragmatic for hydographical, laboratory and hydrologic practitioners. The guideline is applicable to both automated continuous water quality monitoring (e.g. using in-situ sensors or probes), tests performed in the field and grab samples sent for laboratory testing. It presents metadata requirements from a water quality domain perspective, and does not include detail about how required metadata should be encoded. It is anticipated that coding details will be subsequently developed within data transfer format standards (such as the Water Data Transfer Format).

Modernisation and Extension Project on water quality metadata

The initial Water Quality Metadata Project was undertaken by the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and Arts with funding from the Australian Government Modernisation and Extension of Hydrological Monitoring Systems Program administered by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Following a series of consultations (surveys, face to face meetings and workshop) with representation from many water data collectors, managers and users across Australia, the project produced three reports. These reports propose a catalogue of protocols for water quality data including proposed water quality metadata:

Report A – Water Quality Metadata Guidelines (1.2MB)

Report B – Implementation Strategies (532KB)

Report C – Project Activity Report (1.3MB)

The Water Information Standards Business Forum (the Forum) extends its thanks to the project team and all concerned and particularly Rob De Hayr and Gabrielle Van Willigen who led the original project with such gusto.