WP6 - HKH Eco-data Management Tool (ECODAT)

Workpackage-leader: MU


The objective of WP 6 is to develop an ecological data management tool (ECODAT) that is either adapted from existing software from completed RTD projects to the specific requirements of the HKH scientists, or is based on a newly generated platform. It is intended to provide HKH scientists with a tool to produce relatively simple, but science-based evaluations of the ecological status of rivers and streams for water management authorities and policy makers and the general public.

The data management tool will consist of:

  1. A catalogue of macroinvertebrate taxa of the HKH region and ecological information needed for data analysis.
  2. An analysis software and database for processing the ecological assessment data to produce status calculations and graphical representation of results for three methods described in WP 5.

Several European projects currently address the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and provide an excellent basis for the development of biocoenotic river assessment, as well as valuable expertise and tools, that will directly contribute to the ASSESS-HKH research activity. It is, however clear, that the specific needs and requirements in the target region will differ due to somewhat different climatic and ecological conditions. There are already some ecological assessment methods being implemented in the HKH region, notably in Nepal, that will also be considered in design of the HKH Eco-data Management Tool. A catalogue of macroinvertebrate taxa must be compiled from literature and expert knowledge in terms of taxonomy, ecological needs and species traits.

Detail and complexity of the software will most likely differ from that used in Europe or in the US. Either existing software will be used with minor adaptations or new software will be programmed on a scale, which is in scope with the ASSESS-HKH research work. The software will be adapted or programmed in close cooperation with the HKH partners to help reduce costs. The scale and complexity of the HKH Eco-data Management Tool will be kept within the allowed budget allocated at the beginning of ASSESS-HKH and will be carefully planned accordingly. Additional non-computer tools will be developed to enable river assessment where computers are not available (e.g. flowcharts, folders and assessment keys).

Description of work

Task 6.1 Create, fill and verify the HKH macroinvertebrate taxa catalogue: the macroinvertebrates serve as a basis for assessment of the rivers as described in WP5. Therefore, a substantial database on the taxonomical and ecological features of the taxa is necessary and will be compiled within this task, which will partly be based on the data collected in Task 4.3. The gathered information will be part of the software, will be available on the internet. Thus a continuous update could be achieved during life time of ASSESS-HKH. Hard copies will be made available on request.

Task 6.2 Create a functional specification for the HKH Eco-data Management Tool (ECODAT): The first step within in the software development is to design and describe the functions that the software perform. This is the base document necessary for further programming as described in Tasks 6.3 and 6.4. The functional specification should at least define minimum requirements for:

Task 6.3 Perform software adaptation / development: Either existing software will be adapted to the functional specification (Task 6.2) or an entirely new program will be developed for the assessment methods defined in Task 5.3 and 5.4. A second part of this task comprises assisting with development of non-computer tools to enable a rapid field river assessment where computers are not available (as defined in Task 5.2).

Task 6.4 Perform Software validation: The software will be extensively tested by the HKH partners applying field data that were not used for the software development. The results of the noncomputer assessment will be compared to the more sophisticated software results and the program will be tuned accordingly.

Task 6.5 Produce the documentation for the database and software: (User and Administration manuals) will complete the Eco-data Management Tool.

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