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Information Strategies Work Group Meeting Minutes

San Jose, California -- December 9, 2004

Attendance:
Jerod Bales, Herb Brass, Jane Caffrey, Valerie Connor, Paul Currier, Don Dycus, Revital Katznelson, Al Korndoerfer, Peter Tennant (Chair). Larry Keith joined via conference call.

Expert Systems Development and Plans:
Larry Keith provided a demonstration of EMMA and asked a number of questions regarding future development of an ‘expert system’ as applied to water quality monitoring. The EMMA system currently covers portions of the Objectives, Design, and Data Collection cogs of the Council’s Monitoring Framework. EMMA provides advice (based on the interactive answers from a user) for developing monitoring objectives but doesn't transfer them to the part that of the expert system that involves developing a monitoring program. EMMA also provides advice (based on the interactive answers from a user) for developing a monitoring program but doesn't transfer them to the part of the expert system that involves collecting field and lab data (for example, by selecting the best methods for the user's requirements from NEMI). Should an expert system provide advice and documents to fill out to prepare (for example, a QAPP for a monitoring project) or should it actually fill out those forms (a more complex and expensive option). Should an expert system provide information that will facilitate the user preparing a report documenting what was done during a project (i.e., a part of #7 in the Monitoring Framework - Convey Results and Findings)? Should an expert system consider a user's desires (from his monitoring objectives and resulting monitoring program plan) with his resources (budget and time) and, if (as is often the case) they don't match suggest ways in which changes can be made to make the monitoring program meet resource limitations? For example, by considering reduced confidence levels though reduced numbers of samples and/or selecting a different method with lower detection levels and/or less cost, or combinations of these and/or other options? To Larry this would seem to be one of the greatest benefits of an expert system since this is often where people get in trouble - they design a project, carry it out, and then at the end they find out that it doesn't meet all of their requirements or that parts of it need to be repeated. Furthermore, what, if anything, should a monitoring expert system do  with respect to 4) Compile and Manage Data, 5) Assess and Interpret Data, 6) and 7) Convey Results and Findings?

Revital Katznelson shared her experience in implementation of the NWQMC Framework at the Monitoring Project Level and provided information about the Project Planning and Communication tools that she has been developing for a number of years. She prepared a Scheme that shows a breakdown of tasks indicated in the Framework cogs, and described the Project roles that are responsible for these tasks. This was followed by a selection of slides she has been using in workshops to teach the technical leaders of local monitoring groups about the things they need to consider when formulating study questions, deciding what to test for, devising the spatial and temporal sampling design, assuring statistical power of the dataset, and balancing the budget. She also distributed handouts that show examples of how the intent, the design, and the statistical power of each study question can be communicated to others, and discussed the potential of these tools for use in Expert Systems.

Discussion:
The intent is to place an expert system on the NWQMC web site.

Information Infrastructure in Water Quality Monitoring
It was agreed that the IT Vision Paper should be placed on the NWQMC web site as a draft document.

Monitoring Guidance Inventory
It was agreed that the Inventory should be placed on the NWQMC web site with a provision for users to add new entries.

Planning for 5th National Water Quality Monitoring Conference
Recommendations developed at the July work group meeting will be passed on to the Conference Planning Committee. Concern was raised at the lack of abstracts received for the 4th conference that dealt with monitoring objectives; the work group will review the proposed call for abstracts to assure that such abstracts are solicited.

Development of National Water Quality Monitoring Network
It was agreed that the WIS work group should provide core members to the Design work group that will be part of the Council’s development effort.


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