Friday, July 6, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Viz

I am not a scientist nor do I have a background in the "hard sciences" (my degree is in Political Science).  However, I am a strong advocate for the Chesapeake Bay and have been actively involved in a variety of activities and organizations that are trying to clean up, preserve, and protect the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America.  At one time it was teeming with fish, crabs, and oysters.  However, after centuries of water pollution, air pollution, over-development along its shores, over-fishing, and agricultural runoff, it is currently in a very distressed condition.

I am currently conversing with a local watershed group about using Tableau as a tool to visualize the data that this specific local group collects about their waterway.  People are always wanting to know the condition of the waterway either out of general concern, or because they want to know if it is okay to swim or fish in the water.  During our initial conversation they recommended that I take a look at the data that the Chesapeake Bay Program makes available to the public.  So I downloaded a set of data focusing on three primary metrics:  dissolved oxygen, secchi disk depth, and water temperature.