It’s all about the data. . . “Data is the foundation on which sound analysis is built”. With the technologies available today, the capture and acquisition of data has never been easier. Laptop computers today can store as much information as the mainframes of 20 years ago. Just because you have collected or acquired data that suits your objectives, doesn’t make it right. Different resolutions are required for different types of analyses. Using data at the wrong resolution, no matter how accurate, can produce disastrous results.
If you torture data sufficiently, it will confess to almost anything.
-- Fred Menger
Whether your data is suspect, incomplete or is in desperate need of updating, FORSight can get you back on track and give you confidence that your data is capable of supporting the critical decisions you need to make. This process involves the following steps:
Before jumping headlong into data issues, an understanding of what the data will be used for is of prime importance. A property level cruise for total volume may be adequate for some clients but inadequate for others. Detailed information on species and product classes, various merchandizing specifications and the like will determine what data needs to be collected and to what accuracy and precision standards.
Once the client’s needs have been determined, an audit of the data is conducted. This comprehensive assessment identifies gaps in critical data, identifies suspect data and determines the level of accuracy and precision the data represents.
Data Corrections & Extensions
Nobody’s data is perfect. We have yet to see a data set that was capable of supporting a harvest scheduling exercise without first going through a rigorous screening and subsequent extension and/or correction process. Examples of issues we have come across include:
Young stands showing merchantable volume
- Irregular relationships between diameter (QMD), basal area and trees per acre
- Spatial vs. tabular acreage discrepancies
- Stands exhibiting characteristics beyond the known biological norms for a specific region
- Fields with missing or null values
FORSight has developed extensive error checking procedures that illuminate issues which could render a data set unusable. Once the issues and their impact have been uncovered, our knowledge of forest dynamics throughout North America gives us the ability to correct or extend the data. In some cases however, there are exceptions that can only be remedied by collecting additional data. Our forest biometrics experts can design a cost effective inventory to address these shortcomings.
Data acts much like a gas. . .it will expand to fill its container. It is so easily acquired these days that much of the effort is in managing and maintaining critical data and discarding data that is of marginal value. Careful database management ensures that once data has been assessed, corrected and/or extended, it will not revert back to its original, error-filled state. While the value of a company’s data may not show up on the balance sheet, it is a significant source of value that must be maintained and managed as such.
FORSight can provide assistance to companies desiring to manage their own data through development of comprehensive database designs. FORSight can also take the hassle our of managing your data by taking over that responsibility ensuring that your data is always at a state of readiness for the analyses that will undoubtedly come.
Other data services FORSight provides include:
- Conversion & Migration
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