Data from field instruments are increasingly being incorporated into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This adds a geospatial component to time series data and permits analysis and display with other geospatial data. From the perspective of GIS analysis, two issues are of importance. The first is the identification and description of the instrument location. The second is the description of the data stream from the sensor package and the access to that data for analysis and display. They are the basis for effective and proper use of the data from the instrumented site.
The spatial location of the sensor or sensor array in latitude and longitude or in a map projection system is a critical parameter for the use of the data in GIS. The accuracy of the spatial locations of sensors is important in identifying the spatial analysis that is appropriate for the data. Besides geographic coordinate information, local coordinate information available for the site is valuable information for locating the sites and instruments. Local coordinate information often is more accurately known than the geographic position. Local coordinate information can be used in computer modeling of the sensor data independently and can be used to refine the initial values of geographic coordinates.
To effectively use data captured from the instruments, information on the structure and contents of the data base is required. Sensor data may then be carried into the GIS data base management system (DBMS) or accessed from the DBMS set up for the time series data. For effective use and application of the data, all require information on the parameters being captured. For GIS data, this information is described as elements in ASTM D 5714-95 Content Specifications for Geospatial Metadata.