Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date


Data Access



Historical ambient water quality and meteorologic conditions from cruises conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Chesapeake Bay and nearshore coastal shelf waters over a 40-year period through 1982.

Bulk water parameters were routinely measured during cruises conducted in Chesapeake Bay and nearshore coastal waters conducted by VIMS over a 40-year period ending in 1982. Data were punched on 80-character cards known as ‘Form 1’ format by the VIMS central Computer Center. These were later converted to digital files. For this publication the Form 1 files were unpacked into yearly flat files containing two record types:

Station records - Contain surface observations at the time a station was occupied, including secchi depth, total depth, wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, tide stage, sea state, and cloud cover.

Depth records - Contain observations at one or more depths per station and include salinity, temperature, conductivity, suspended solids, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, trace elements and current speed and direction. The full suite of parameters were not always measured, the observations made were specific to the purpose of the individual cruises.

The original files in Form 1 format are included as well. See the Associated Publications referenced below for complete description of the Form 1 format and data management plan.

Yearly Station and Depth files are provided in Text (.csv) and MS Access format.


Files | Description

  1. Readme.txt: Data dictionary
  2. Folder: Original Hydro Form1 files
    • Original Form 1 formatted file, 1942 through 1970
    • Original Form 1 formatted file, 1971 through 1982
  3. Folder: Yearly csv files:38 files
    • Station records files: 1942Station.csv - 1982Station.csv
    • Depth records files: 1942Depth.csv - 1982Depth.csv
    • See Readme.txt data dictionary for parameters.
  4. Folder: Program files for data processing
    • Extract_Hydro.c: C++ program to unpack Form 1 files
    • Extract_Hydro.exe: Compiled C++ program (Windows) to unpack Form 1 files
    • SAS script to extract yearly Form 1 data
    • SAS script to import .csv station files
  5. Folder: Yearly Access accdb files: 19 .accdb files
    • Hydro1942.accdb; Hydro1945.accdb - Hydro1982.accdb
    • MS Access database containing Station and Depth tables from imported .csv files
    • See Readme.txt data dictionary for parameters.
  6. Folder: Yearly Hydro Form 1 files: 19 files
    • Data1942.txt; Data1945.text - Data1982.txt
    • The .txt files were edited to remove coding errors such as incorrect number of depths, cardcodes and invalid number of parameters.
  7. Folder: Yearly Hydro Station Maps
    • Maps showing station locations
    • In the following yearly groupings: 1942-1947, 1948-1951, 1952-1955, 1956-1959,1960-1963, 1964-1967, 1968-1971, 1972-1975, 1976-1979, 1980-1982



Salinity, Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity, Water Quality, Chesapeake Bay, Mid-Atlantic, Monitoring, Meteorological Data, Climate Change, Long term dataset

Associated Publications

Moncure, R. W. (1972). Instructions for using Oceanography Form 1 (Virginia Institute of Marine Science Hydrographic Data Form). Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary.

Available for download on Saturday, October 30, 2021