Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New BioBase Merge and Buffer Features

Are you making a list of things to be thankful for?  What about adding NEW FEATURES IN BIOBASE just in time for Thanksgiving?!?  We're releasing new features today that include the ability to delete outdated merges from your account and the ability to change the buffer on single and merged trips!

(1) New "DELETE MERGE" Controls


After some testing and use case analysis we've just launched a new feature that will allow you to keep your merge list nice and clean or redo a merge.  This is great in scenarios where users would like to continuously add new data to a merge or would like to reprocess a merge without adding to the list of available merges in their account. 

New Delete Function for ciBioBase Merges
A merge is created based on the combined data sets of individual trips and if the data sets change, a new merge has to be deleted then reprocessed.   At times, our QC team helps make adjustments to your output for the best map or to shapefiles boundaries for the best interpolation and then communicates these changes to you.  They also show up in your reports for individual trips.  Now, an old merge can be deleted and you can kick off a new merge with the updates.  We think this will be a useful tool for better account management!

(2) New Interpolation Buffer Controls from 5-300 Meters


Many of you request different buffers for your trips to fill in gaps when our standard 25m buffer isn't enough.  We're happy to oblige but we wanted to help you do it faster!   Now you can change buffers in your account without us.

New User Controls to Change the Buffer Size of Your Maps
We still always use a 1/5 rule meaning that the grid cell size will be adjusted to 1/5 of the buffer size (ex1: 100m buffer, 20m grids; ex2 50m buffer, 10m grid cell size).  If you need a different combination than the 1/5 rule (like a 1m grid and 10m buffer) let us know and we can do it for you and let you know the ramifications.   In the reprocessing tab you can send individual trips back for reprocessing with an increased buffer of up to 300 meters.  In the merge tab you can kick off a new merge with a pre-set buffer as part of this new merge feature (see the image above).  If you need to change the buffer in the merge you can make changes in the trip reprocessing tab when it's complete.   It's sounds complicated in writing but we're confident that you'll see the changes as soon as you play around with it!  Once you've uploaded and paid for processing on a per lake or unlimited subscription model, all edits and reprocesses are free!  As always, contact us with questions.

*Please keep in mind that an error coefficient of the interpolation is positively correlated with the increase in a buffer and you'll want to communicate this with a customer or constituent.  As you increase your buffer, you'll be estimating more between transects which could be affected by highly variable point data or aquatic systems.  Also, the buffer is always on both sides of the transect meaning that if you have 50 meters between your transects you only need a 25 meter buffer because 25 meters on both sides of the transect will complete the map.

New Pricing for 2014


We're not ready to fully announce our new pricing for 2014 but we wanted to let you know that we've made some big changes and the results will be much cleaner.   The new subscription model will help smaller municipalities get started with BioBase.  We'll also be announcing new stormwater monitoring options and pricing packages for municipalities that need to start keep an inventory of these assets or would like a more efficient way of process and warehousing the data.   Just a little teaser . . .but let us know if you have specific questions.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Platypus Offers New Opportunites in Pond Mapping

Researchers Paul and John Scerri and their team at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an autonomous vehicle called Platypus that can be used for a wide variety of aquatic applications.  One application we see customers struggle with is mapping small ponds.

Platypus getting fitted with a Lowrance HDS and transducer
Recently, the Platypus development group teamed up with Tim Wood at Aquatic Edge Consulting and Contour Innovations to test the use of a Platypus for sonar data collection and bathymetric and vegetation mapping of a pond.  They rigged up the autonomous vehicle with a small Lowrance HDS 5 and sent it into the waterbody.

Getting the data collection process going and testing while on the water

A close-up view of Platypus
They quickly acquired the data set recorded to their SD card, uploaded the .SL2 files to their account at and within minutes all of their files were done processing and could be merged into a full map.  The pond map output looks great!

You can check out a video of the operation here: Platypus in action

Platypus gathering sonar data for BioBase
Customers were happy, no one got wet, and the results speak for themselves.  Great job guys!

If you have an innovative way of collecting data for processing with ciBioBase, let us know and we'd  be happy to help!