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Implementing an Information Infrastructure to Support Biological Assessments in the Chicago Area Waterways System

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The Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Section (AEWQS) of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC)'s Monitoring and Research Department conducts environmental monitoring and assesses the ecological health of the receiving waters for MWRDGC's water reclamation plants. The collection of new data and the consolidation of existing data for biological assessment is taking place at the same time that MWRDGC is implementing an enterprise-wide GIS (geographic information system) to provide consistent and pervasive access to maintenance, operational, and analytical data in a spatial context. This provided an excellent opportunity to integrate data, geography and technology to improve analytical access and understanding of biological characteristics of the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). The objective of this task was to make the extensive data store readily available at analysts' desktops in a GIS context. The paper discusses the steps taken by MWRDGC's Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Section and its consultants to develop and implement the necessary infrastructure.

The MWRDGC-wide implementation of Enterprise GIS allows AEWQS to more quickly get better insights from its data collection efforts, but required careful planning and adaptive management on all sides to make it work. Other utilities may benefit from review of MWRDGC's experience to plan their own implementations of new spatial and data management technologies and thereby leverage their existing data resources.
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Keywords: ArcGIS Server; Enterprise GIS; biological data

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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