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Salton Sea Database Program (SSDP)

Client: University of Redlands
Location: Redlands, California, USA
Starting Year: 1999

Mark Sorensen of GPC has served as the Project Coordinator for the Salton Sea Database Program (SSDP) at the University of Redlands.  The SSDP is a four year, four million dollar binational, bioregional decision support system funded by the USEPA that has been developed in support of a major environmental restoration program at the Salton Sea, California.  Mark directed the development of a strategic plan for the program that defined several "mission critical" activities needed to develop and operate an effective area information steward role.  Nearly all of the original planned activities has been completed or is nearing completion in 2001:

Digital Multiple Media Library.  A comprehensive database of information about the Salton Sea has been collected, organized and cataloged in both digital and hardcopy form.  This includes over 5000 bibliographic citations, several hundred online documents, over 400 layers of geospatial information, historical and current photographs, multi-media presentations, websites, stakeholders, events, and other information.

Cross-Media Database (XMDB).  A Cross Media Database (XMDB) management system has been developed by the SSDP to describe and provide access to the SSDP data holdings.  This system combines ideas gleaned from digital library initiative around the world, and an integration of metadata (data about data) standards being developed by the geospatial community (Federal Geographic Data Committee, the Open GIS Consortium, the International Standards Organisation), the library science community (MARC), and the international multimedia community (Dublin Core).  

Request for Information Management System.  An online Reguest for Information (RFI) system was developed to accept and manage stakeholder requests for data, products and technical support in accessing and using the SSDP data holdings.  Nearly 500 requests have been handled through the system in the past year and a half.  Most requests are accommodated with standard products, such as the CD Atlas.  Other more specialized or time consuming requests become "sub-projects" that are handled by small teams, and entered to the master project management system.

Project Planning and Resource Tracking System.  An online project management Critical Path Method (CPM) system has been implemented to manage the human and financial resources of the SSDP.  The Scitor project management suite has been implemented, along with its web-based Project Communicator system that allows staff to enter their timecard information over the Internet.

CD Salton Sea Data Atlas.  A CD-Atlas of the Salton Sea contains over 140 data themes covering the Sea, the watershed, and the region.  The 1.5GB of data has been packaged with ESRI's ArcView Data Publisher, thus providing the user with a limited functionality version of the ArcView software for data viewing and exploration.  As of summer 2001, nearly 300 copies of the 3-CD Atlas set have been distributed to Salton Sea stakeholders

Salton Sea Hardcopy Environmental Atlas.  The SSDP is in the process of creating a 200 page illustrative environmental atlas for the Salton Sea.  The Atlas describes all the historical, natural and cultural issues surrounding the Sea and the proposed environmental restoration program.

Special GIS Projects.  A wide variety of special GIS projects have been supported by the SSDP over the past 3 years.  Some of these have included:

  • Lake Cahuilla Reconstruction.  Estimation of the shoreline of historic Lake Cahuilla based on geomorphological and cultural evidence.
  • Bird Banding Analysis.  SSDP staff and students worked with the Salton Sea Science Office to map and analyze over 20,000 bird banding records from the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory.  This effort has revealed new insights regarding the ecological footprint of the Salton Sea, and its important relationship to the Pacific Flyway, the Texas Gulf Coast, and the South-Central Canada Pothole regions.
  • Water Quality Technical Committee.  SSDP staff have supported the Salton Sea Science Office, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and over 17 other local, state, regional, federal and tribal government organizations and research institutions involved in water quality monitoring in the Salton basin.  The SSDP took leadership in conducting an inventory and characterization of historic, ongoing, and planned water quality monitorin programs in the basin as the basis for exploring potential for more intergovernmental coordination and collaboration.
  • Wildlife Health Surveillance System.  SSDP staff and students assisted the Salton Sea Science Office and the Salton Sea Authority in conducting a needs analysis and field data collection technology design for a wildlife health surveillance system for the Salton Sea.