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Locating Water Pollution Studies Dataset for GIS Project(s)

Posted on 2011-02-28
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I have a GIS Project I am assisting on regarding toxicity of water in various parts of the world. I'm curious to know what agencies and surveyor data are available throughout the various government agencies and municipalities around the world in the form of shapefile, points, lines, db, etc..

Ideally, we could benefit from measures of various concentractions of toxins like mercury, fluoride, etc. and other minerals like phosphorous, salt, iodine, and more.

We have just began the quest to acquire our data and we are finding it is more difficult than expected.

We are using ArcGIS 9.3, ArcGIS 10, and some Federal US data.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Question by:Justin Merrill, MBA
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LVL 37

Accepted Solution

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TommySzalapski earned 1600 total points
ID: 34999677
Did you see the stuff from the EPA?
http://www.epa.gov/waters/data/downloads.html

USGS has a lot of data sets
http://water.usgs.gov/

When you are looking for data sets searching for "data traces" not "data sets" often yields more useful links.
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Assisted Solution

by:TommySzalapski
TommySzalapski earned 1600 total points
ID: 34999730
Also, I got most of my best datasets by emailing the authors of research papers where they were used. People are usually hungry for citations, so if you promise to mention their work in your acknowledgements section or something, they'll usually give you their data. It takes a bit longer, but you get lots of good datasets.
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:Justin Merrill, MBA
ID: 35001271
The data we have so far is from USGS, I was hoping to get more specific data though. Right now our focus is in Florida. I will dig into the EPA data though. What would be great is something like a sampling for various bodies of water and shorelines with levels of minerals and contaminants.
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:TommySzalapski
TommySzalapski earned 1600 total points
ID: 35001444
I just found a ton of GIS data for just about every state
http://libweb.uoregon.edu/map/map_section/map_Statedatasets.html
It's not all water, but there's plenty of them in there.
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:dhsindy
dhsindy earned 400 total points
ID: 35002093
I would be inclined to contact civil engineering departments at universities and public health departments near the locations you are interested in collecting.

It maybe difficult because the government organizations very and some may keep their data confidential.
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:Justin Merrill, MBA
ID: 35008728
@Tommy - Thank you so much, I will give that a look. There are TONS of resources in that link!

@dhsindy - There is a dispute in West Palm Beach about the price of the data to the general public. While state laws and municipality laws may vary, the data attained by a government agency must be considered public domain, and therefor free to the public. I'm not sure what the final outcome was of the ongoing dispute, but a Florida municipality was charging hundreds and thousands of dollars for its GIS data a few years ago. Universities can, if I'm not mistaken, limit the access to the data to a privileged few, but that may be a great place to look. Thanks for the suggestion.
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:Justin Merrill, MBA
ID: 35012464
I will try to close this question and award points by Friday. I will balance the points based on the helpfulness of your posts so there is still time to get in on the points. Thanks for your help to those who have already posted and thanks in advance to anyone else who may be able to help! =o)
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LVL 5

Author Comment

by:Justin Merrill, MBA
ID: 35013780
I found some great info from the links provided, but we want to be able to compare levels of contaminants by county and state. Where could I find something THAT specific?
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:TommySzalapski
TommySzalapski earned 1600 total points
ID: 35021609
I think I found something. This is specifically for Florida.
http://storet.dep.state.fl.us/WrmSpa/default.do?page=stations
Select everything under 'Display Options' that you want. In 'Query Options' select the 'Primary Type' and leave everything else at the default (all).
It will take you to a page where you can download thousands of results into a text file. All the county info is there.

There is a federal repository of similar data. I got it while I was finding the Florida stuff. They have current and old historical data. Here's the page I found that links to it.
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/monitoring/data.htm
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LVL 5

Author Closing Comment

by:Justin Merrill, MBA
ID: 35031435
This is more of a research question that it is a technical one. I was tapping on the knowledge of others more familiar with the various data available to the general public to save time and energy researching the study question(s). Thanks to all who helped!
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