A Sea of Data

Every few weeks our field office will have a big meeting that brings together all the specialists, staff, and field managers.    Most recently our gatherings have revolved around data calls, that is, when the data collected by specialists, technicians, contractors etc. gets turned in so decisions can be made. These decisions can vary from grazing permit renewals, to redeveloping legislation at the federal level.

During a data call it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the years of unprocessed field data to wade through, particularly when given only a few days to assemble the information.  At times the sheer volume of information can feel insurmountable. This past week, the importance of these data calls were underlined at our field office meeting where we watched a congressional hearing that, among other things, highlighted data supplied by our office.

If you’ve ever held a position in which you were collecting/processing data for projects that were developed before you and will carry on after you, you know that occasional feeling of doubt where you question your place in the process.  Watching the hearing proceed, calling on our facts, it was a reminder that good data relies on good collection and management methods. It was also a reminder that while at times we can feel swept up in the transience of seasonal positions, we as the collectors and processors are integral to the system.

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