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Environmental Data

What Is Environmental Data?

Environmental data is data about the environment—local, national, and international. It measures changes in the environment itself and in the plants and animals that inhabit it (including humans).

Where Does Environmental Data Come From?

Environmental data comes from public and private institutions or from companies. Institutions measure an entire environment or aspect of it (air quality only, for example). Meanwhile, private institutions report their effects on the local environment, as required by law.

What Types of Columns/Attributes Should I Expect When Working with This Data?

Environmental data attributes depend on the local or national government and on the industry providing the data. Yet no matter the source or how specific the data set, there is always an enormous amount of data to work with. Everything from surface and groundwater quality, waste production, dust production, air particulate production, fuel use, landfill vs recycling measures, the weather (of course), and more.

What Is This Data Used For?

Naturally, conservationists, disaster response teams and planners, nonprofits, and educators use this data in the course of their regular duties. Increasingly, though, companies across various industries (like mining and metallurgy) use this data to ensure they comply with environmental regulations. Even more, by complying with or even exceeding these regulations, the companies can improve their public image.

How Should I Test the Quality of Environmental Data?

To test environmental data quality, you must first define your needs and requirements. After that, you can determine whether your data set meets these parameters.
Secondly, regular tests can be performed by sending fabricated samples to the lab to check that their results are consistent and their equipment up to par. For automated sensors collecting data, just keep watch that there are no missing details, as that may indicate a technical problem with the sensory equipment.
Additionally, good environmental data is maintained by a system that requires frequent, consistent, and full reporting of data: without this, with the large amount of data that perhaps hundreds or more individuals record, the possibility of human errors, delays, and difficulty compiling information into one data set worsen.

What Are the Most Important Factors I Should Vet when Selecting This Data?

To vet this data from a data vendor, check for a list of other companies they supply data or data services to and how often they secure and upgrade their system. Additionally, ask what the licensing arrangements may be and whether the software system is accredited.
If, instead, you are creating your own data set, make sure the data is precise, consistent, complete, and sensitive to changes. For example, make sure you set up the data feed to flag you when two successive values exceed a certain value.
There are about as many options for validating data as there are data sets catered to a specific need. Think about the attributes and vetting process from the beginning and look for examples on sampling and analyzation procedures from organizations like the ASTM.

Interesting Case Studies and Blogs to Look Into

City of Marion – Safeguarding the quality of a water aquifer with MonitorPro
White Paper: EHS Data Ltd – 2018: The Role of Good Environmental Data Management in Reducing Risk, and the Challenges Involved.

Tangible Examples of Impact

The forests Ingka Investments manages teem with life. The properties in Romania alone contain over 70 species of trees. Brown bears, wolves, and lynx cross paths on the woodland floor while black storks and golden eagles soar overhead. Rare orchids paint hidden slopes and endangered frogs dwell in the wetlands. Blagu monitors this rich biodiversity through aerial imagery and real-time mobile data uploaded to a GIS platform by field agents.

Sustainable Forestry Meets the Bottom Line at Ingka Investments

Relevant datasets

Pollen Sense Data

by Pollen Sense

Pollen Sense Data offers live pollen, mold, & dust counts and forecasts. They can even identify mold and pollen species up to a 30 kms away

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Planet OS Datahub


Planet OS Datahub offers weather, geospatial, & other earth data, both historical & forecasted. Users can even choose image resolution

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OpenAQ Dataset

by OpenAQ

OpenAQ Dataset is a crowd-sourced air quality dataset. Users can request sensors from OpenAQ in order to start recording data

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