Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Data report (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) ; no. 39.


Over the past two years we have been developing computer programs to investigate various scientific visualization techniques as applied to estuarine data. The original impetus was to be able to visualize the results of the three-dimensional hydrodynamic model under development at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary (VIMS). We quickly recognized the superior ability of certain graphic approaches, especially pseudocolor animation, to efficiently transmit a tremendous amount of information to the viewer, allowing the scientist to gain an insight into the dynamics of the data not otherwise available. We decided to apply this technique to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Bay Monitoring data set, a field collection effort so large that it sometimes overwhelms our traditional information presentations. What we present here is an alternative way of presenting and archiving large amounts of field measurements. The Chesapeake Bay Program began its water quality monitoring in the summer of 1984. Data collection in the mainstem of the Bay was done by University of Maryland (UMD), VIMS, and Old Dominion University (ODU), supported by EPA, while state regulatory agencies have been responsible for water quality data from the Maryland and Virginia tributaries. More than 130 stations ( 49 in the Bay proper) were occupied over 120 times each during the water years 1985 through 1990 (Figure 1). This information has been brought together to create color contoured images of the 10 different physical and water quality parameters that were measured. Each parameter for each month is summarized in a color image that shows the map-view surface and bottom distributions plus a vertical North-South section running down the natural channel from the Susquehanna to the mouth of the Bay, Each pixel in the map-view represents a lkm X lkm area. Although a certain amount of data manipulation must occur between the original logged measurements and these images, the distributions shown should best be understood as raw "snapshots" of what was present in the Chesapeake during that month. No data analysis or interpretation is attempted in this report.



Water Quality, Chesapeake Bay, VA

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.