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Comments on the Vis Tool - Access to Data - Related

Marcy Seavey, modified 10 Years ago.
Jedi Knight Posts: 69 Join Date: 3/30/12 Recent Posts
During the ReadyTalk session on the Visualization Tool I promised that I would take some time to try to use these tools in some ways that I think students will try to use them to do investigations. So here are some screen shots and comments from that process.

One thing I am noticing is that a lot of the data collected about each site doesn't appear to be available (anywhere? or maybe I can't find it)? Here is an example of one of my surface temperature sites comparing "classic" to "new":



One of the firs things I notice is neither view provides the school/organization name right with the site info. If students only had access and used data from their own sites this wouldn't be a big deal. But since students are hopefully more and more often using data from multiple sites not their own - it is important for them to always be able to identify, credit and get back to the source of the data. I would guess that students keeping notes on the sites they are using will select all of the text within the pop-up bubble and paste that into a txt doc, ppt, etc. When they come back to it later they will discover that they don't know the school that contributed this data. - It would be helpful to always attach the school, site id, and site name to all data.

Another small item - the SITE pop-up box title is "School Information". Shouldn't the site pop-up boxes be titled "Site Information" and the School Information pop-up Boxes be titled "School Information"? I think this is probably a case where the title was set for the school information pop-up and it became the title of the site information pop-up by default. ---Additional note about this -- SOMETIMES the pop-up DOES say SITE INFORMATION and other times it says SCHOOL INFORMATION...this might be a refresh/cache issue???? You can clearly see in the images that site info is displayed in a school info box...

Next - comparison of amount of details available from the original site definition sheet. There are many more fields of collected data available in the classic view. Has Obstacles, Has Buildings, Slope Angle, Up slope direction, Ht Rain Gauge, Ht Ozone Clip, Ht. Thermo, surf. cover desc do not show FOR THIS SITE in the new system.

New system does not distinguish between the THREE possible obstacle/building states: I reviewed about a dozen other ATM site pop-up boxes and it appears that the Obstacles notes field is present for every site regardless of whether any information about obstacles was provided or not. However, the buildings notes field seems to follow a different rule and is only present in the pop-up if there is text. If I were designing the pop-up I would error on the side of too much info and always include the field because students may be copying the text from several sites and by always including the same data the information they copy is standardized. They don't have to wonder if the data is missing AND presenting the same fields in the same order each time makes it easier on instructors ("Where is surface cover ms. seavey?" "It's under the buildings field....unless your site didn't have buildings and then it's under obstacles....unless your site didn't have those!") I'd add the Surface Cover description field to those that should always be visible even if there isn't any text entered.

More importantly, we actually NEED to know if "yes" or "no" was selected for the are obstacles/buildings present fields . It is important to see the NO because that reminds students that identification of no obstacles at the site IS DATA and does tell us about the site. Also, because these fields are not required, there is a THIRD state - not reported. It is impossible from the new pop-up boxes to tell if absence of obstacle and building data means there are no obstacles/buildings VS the very different state "we didn't report if there are obstacles/buildings or not". Whether or not a student can use data from another school to answer their specific investigation question may rely upon the answer to those two questions!

The same is true for the slope angle, direction. In order to determine if the data is useful we very well may need to know if these fields were not reported vs there isn't any slope on the site. I couldn't find a site with 0 slope reported...maybe those do show up and all sites without slope data are those with missing/unreported slop data?

This is a Surface Temperature Site, so I've also reported all of the supplemental ST site information...but none of that is in the pop-up either. That is important because ST sites are allowed to be smaller than 30m2... students doing a micro-climate study may find lots of very small sites very useful but I wouldn't want my students comparing urban vs rural ST sites to select a 5m square site as their urban space and a 90m site as their rural space.... The make/model of the IRT is also not reported.

Also the ST site sheet defines short grass as grass under 50cm high while the general atm site defines short grass as grass kept under 10cm high. So in the pop-up above where is says SHORT GRASS, which definition is being used (I'm pretty sure it is the atm. site data and all of the ST supplementary data is missing).

So basically I'm pleading for all of the data available about each site to be available for use - that is what makes rich investigations possible and without it students could come to conclusions based on what they assume to be true about the data (there is no slope, these two sites are the same size, all this grass was less than 10 cm...etc.)

-more later...
Marcy Seavey, modified 10 Years ago.
Jedi Knight Posts: 69 Join Date: 3/30/12 Recent Posts
As a follow up to this, I sat down yesterday with a teacher and our goal was to create a data table for all cloud data from one school that had a lot of cloud data. Finding a school wasn't hard at all but then creating the data table was tedious and confusing to her. It took us over 20 minutes to create one with all the cloud types and cloud cover and export it. We had to add every layer on it's own and we had use the plotting tool rather than the tables tool because the tables tool doesn't have "make a table of all". When we done the teacher said that it was far too much work and I have to agree. and the table that we downloaded did not have the lat, long and elevation data included. There has to be a simpler way to get all data for a site and by all I mean ALL data. If it is worth our time to enter the data in the first place, then it needs to be accessible once entered.
Jonathan Lang (inactive), modified 10 Years ago.
Jedi Knight Posts: 92 Join Date: 12/5/11 Recent Posts
Passing along to Raytheon so that they can include this in their understanding of Viz system usage.


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