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Southern California Bight 2008 Regional Monitoring Survey

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a. Overview

All monitoring data will be submitted to the Bight’08 Information Management Officer. The preferred method of submission is via SCCWRP’s online data system (; however, other methods may be used if the data submitter clears it through the Information Management Officer. The guidelines for each data table are included in this document. Please refer to the appropriate table for the correct structure and information. All data submissions are preferred to be complete and partial data submissions are discouraged.

Data may be submitted in almost any format, although the online web submission system requires files be in Microsoft Excel format. Some examples of different formats include Microsoft Access, Dbase IV, Lotus, or comma delimited ASCII files, although additional file types may be equally appropriate.

b. How To Use This Document

The tabular descriptions of each data type give useful information to the person(s) responsible for submitting tables in the appropriate format. The first column contains the exact name for the field or the column name, as it should be used for data submissions. Do not add spaces or other characters to the field names. Field names that are bolded are intended to indicate a combination of fields that provide a unique record within the table.

The second column describes the type of variable to be used for the data in the field. The variable types are:

  • Text any alphanumeric character

  • Number numbers are divided into two numeric types

    • Integer Whole numbers (no decimal places)

    • Decimal Decimal numbers (Floating Point in SQL Server)

  • Date/Time allows for formatted date or time data

  • Yes/No Boolean indicating Yes or No

The third column indicates whether the field is mandatory or not.

  • Y indicates that the field is mandatory,

  • N indicates the field is not mandatory,

  • * indicates that the field is conditionally mandatory

The fourth column indicates the size of the text fields. Only text fields have sizes. Comment fields are typically limited to 100 characters and it is highly recommended that only comments necessary and relevant to that record be recorded.

The fifth column gives a short description of the field and may contain a reference to a relevant look up list containing a constrained list of values that are allowable. In addition, any default values may be listed here.

Submission Documentation

The preferred method of data submission is through SCCWRP’s online data submission page. This page can be found at: Additional information and instructions can be found on this web site. Our system requires that files be submitted as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with specific tab names and field names (see table structures below). Data will be checked for consistency and quality. Our system provides instant feedback on any data problems and allows the user to refine their data and submit again. Once the data are accepted by the data checker the data submitter will receive a receipt indicating successful submission and any other relevant information. This receipt can be printed for proof of data submission. The data is then transferred into a centralized Bight’08 database. Once all data for a given portion of the survey is complete it will be given to the appropriate Technical Committee Chair for scientific review.

Common Errors

Certain errors commonly occur that prevent the data from loading to the database. These include spelling the field names incorrectly or typing additional characters such as spaces or underscores. Other errors include using values in fields that are not appropriate for the specific field, such as inputting character data to numerical fields or inputting values into fields that are limited by constrained lists. Additional errors can result from simply omitting fields. Each file should be scrutinized for these common errors prior to submission.


Data submissions typically will be rejected if they are incomplete. Partial data sets are discouraged; however, special circumstances may make it necessary to accept partial data sets. Please contact the Information Management Officer if there are questions about the submission of partial data sets.

Geographic Conventions:

All latitude and longitude positions are based on the NAD83 datum and are expressed in decimal degrees (to five decimal places) to facilitate easy interfacing with GIS systems. All longitudes will be expressed as negative numbers.

c. Data Submission Protocols

The first row in the file will be the entire list of Field Names. These Field Names must be spelled exactly as they are in the description for each data table in the Information Management Plan. The subsequent rows will contain the actual data.

This Information Management Plan is only as current as the date it was published. In the event that additional modifications need to be made to data structures or lookup lists, these changes will be reflected on the web data submission page. For the most current information on a given data table or lookup list please refer to this web site (

Example of a submitted file:

d. Data Entry Templates

To assist organizations in meeting the SDTP and improve the efficiency of data input, the IMO has created a series of computerized data entry templates. Requests for this data input templates can be made to the IMO. An example of a data input template is the Bight’08 Field Data System. The data entry templates available for the field sampling effort link to a shipboard global positioning system to automatically download date, time, location and trawl direction/speed. These templates provide drop-down lists for station designation, sea surface, weather, sediment quality observations, and most other data types. They reduce errors through the elimination of hand-made entries. The templates also eliminate spelling errors, ensure that the data entered is appropriate for that field, and that the data is complete. Development of laboratory data entry templates can also be created at the request of data users.

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