Data Science is Finally Coming to Water Research and Management

Data Science is a vital and emerging field. Defined broadly as the discipline of data collection, maintenance, processing, analyzing, and communicating, Data Science attempts to draw value from numbers and information that would otherwise go unrealized due its volume, its accessibility, or its complexity. The computing tools and techniques required to do this work are often open source, but a scarcity of Data Science talent has led to an increasing number of degree programs offered at major universities and a highly competitive market for positions at top corporations and within government. Data Science and data scientists are rapidly proving to be key to smart business as the world of Big Data quickly encompasses most industries. 

For scientists and environmental resource managers, Data Science can seem like a buzzword. It is often tossed around at conferences, in meetings or papers, drawing attention and fanfare because of its big tech allure. However, specific applications and the utility of Data Science in science, research and management are less clear. This is especially true in water science and management where Data Science is drawing increasing attention as new sensor technology and inexpensive telemetry systems enable real-time, Cloud-based, data collection with never before seen granularity and density.

At issue:

  • Can water scientists and managers, even those working in the private sector, effectively keep up with the volume of data flowing into their spreadsheets and databases as resource monitoring networks grow and new data types are measured?
  • Are the data management systems in place capable of scaling with the volume of data?
  • Are the correct access and exchange tools in place to efficiently incorporate these data into the scientific method and required management workflows?
  • Can scientists and managers harness the power of the data and effectively turn it into the insight needed to make more informed water management decisions?

At Wellntel we partner with water resource scientists, managers, and stakeholders to support their water information needs. We are a company built on novel groundwater monitoring technology that utilizes local internet connections to enable real-time access to resource information hosted in the Cloud, and that provides value to decision makers through online dashboards and analysis tools.

Our work not only supports data collection on the ground, but also automates and streamlines data management, exchange, and analysis, so that water scientists and managers are able to effectively scale their important operations without massively growing their budgets and staff. The Wellntel System has grown to represent a Data Science platform that easily integrates into, and dramatically extends, water research and management. 

Through a series of blogs on Data Science, we will explore different areas of Data Science within the water science and resource management field. We will explore the role of Data Science in water science and management, and we will provide examples of how Wellntel is working with scientists, managers, and stakeholders around the U.S. who are asking similar questions and are grappling with how to better operate within this new world of Big Data. 

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