Application of GIS for retrieval and display of hydrodynamic and water quality data for the pearl river estuary

S. M.Y. Ng, Wing Hong Onyx Wai, Z. H. Xu, Yok Sheung Li, Y. W. Jiang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


In the recent decades, the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) has been experiencing severe water quality deterioration due the massive economic and industrial developments in the nearby regions. To prevent exacerbation of this situation, it is essential to gain a good quantitative understanding of the existing hydraulic and environmental characteristics of the estuary system. This will require a huge quantity of geographicallyreferenced hydrodynamic and water quality data gathered from various sources. However, the difficulty in handling huge amount of hydrodynamic and water quality data, especially field acquired data, is that the data are usually non-uniformly distributed temporally and spatially. GIS, with its capability to store, organize, manipulate, analyze, retrieve, display, and output geographically-referenced information, can unify different kinds of data into one manageable system. In this study hydrodynamic and water quality data of the PRE have been acquired from a number of public domains and compiled into a database system using the MS Access software. The collected data encompasses various physical, chemical, and biological parameters, including temperature, current velocity, pH, salinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus compounds), metals, organics, and coliform bacteria. The developed database system is further linked with a GIS using the ArcView software for efficient retrieval and display of information. The customized ArcView interface will allow users with minimal backgrounds in the use of GIS software to access the hydrodynamic and water quality information. For visual representation of the collected data, there are three basic approaches. These include display of a spatial snapshot at a specified time, display of a vertical profile at a specified time, and graphical plot of temporal variation at a specified location. Examining the information using different graphical formats will enhance users in unveiling patterns and relationships previously not recognized. To account for the fact that measurement data are collected at only several discrete sample locations within the study area, data interpolation tools have also been incorporated. In order to derive values at unsampled points in both space and time, this study has not only exploited the spatial interpolation features of GIS, but also developed additional modules for temporal and vertical profile interpolation using fundamental one-dimensional interpolation techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication4th International Conference on Environmental Informatics, ISEIS 2005
PublisherInternational Society for Environmental Information Sciences
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Event4th International Conference on Environmental Informatics, ISEIS 2005 - Xiamen, China
Duration: 26 Jul 200528 Jul 2005


Conference4th International Conference on Environmental Informatics, ISEIS 2005


  • Geographic information system
  • Hydrodynamic
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Engineering


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