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Databases

A Cuencas database.

A Cuencas database.

A Cuencas database is essentially a well-organized hierarchy of folders on the computer. This was done to reduce the complexity of accessing and interacting with data from different sources.

A folder is considered to be a Cuencas database if it contains six sub-directories labeled: Documentation, Lines, Polygons, Rasters, Sites, and Vectors, and two files: logo.jpg and name.txt.

The first file is a standard JPG image with dimensions of 500×50 pixels, with the desired logo for the database, and the second file is a plain text document with the name you want for the database.

Each directory is meant to hold a different class of information with specific file formats, which will be detailed later. It is expected that all information in a given database has a common integrating idea, which can be a basin location, a region, or a country.
The download section offers four databases that can serve as examples of coherent data structures:

  • Ashley_NZ_database
  • Goodwin_Creek_MS_database
  • FractalTrees_database
  • Walnut_Gulch_AZ_database
  • Whitewater_database

The unifying theme for these databases is either a basin or a region.

Note: The folder’s structure can be automatically created by Cuencas by selecting the menu “File -> Create a Data Base” and then selecting an empty folder.

Now it is time to give some more details about the contents of each of the above mentioned folders:

  1. Rasters
    This is perhaps the most important folder. It contains all the spatially distributed fields. Data in this folder has been classified in two groups (additional subfolders): Topography and Hydrology.

    • The Topography subfolder stores all the information about DEMs and is looked at in a special manner by Cuencas. Usually there will only be one DEM per database, but it can also be the case that the user may have additional DEMs of subregions, with different spatial resolution or coverage, or simply from different sources.
    • The Hydrology folder is meant to contain every other spatial field, including precipitation, evaporation, land use, vegetation, and temperature fields.
    • The user can create as many subfolders inside these two folders as needed to classify its own specific information.The data format is very specific and documentation for it has been created. Data formats are provide for DEMs in the Topography folder, and for all the other hydrological or climatic variables, as well as some scripts to interact with the data. This folder can be populated by means of importing DEMs from other formats into the Cuencas format using the tools in the menu: “File -> Import -> Import DEM” or “File -> Import -> Import Hydroclimatic Raster”
  2. Sites
    This folder is designed to contain information about locations and gauges. It is key to those interested in time series analysis, and it is very useful to create reference points that can be later on displayed on top of maps. Pictures can be associated with the locations created. The data format for sites can be found here.
  3. Vectors
    This folder holds vector information, such as roads, blue lines, etc. The folder accepts two kinds of formats: Shapefiles and DLGs. More inforamtion about these two data formats is provided here.
  4. Lines
    Similar to vectors, but in this case, additional properties can be assigned to the lines, for added functionality (not implemented yet).
  5. Polygons
    Similar to vectors, but in this case lines are expected to form a closed polygon. Polygons are used by Cuencas to integrate a spatially distributed variable over the enclosed region the polygon defines. The obvious application is water balances, where the basin divide defines the polygon and long-term mean precipitation and evaporation fields are integrated to get an estimated mean discharge.The specifics about the polygons file format can be found here.
  6. Documentation
    This is the most flexible directory in terms of data format requirements. Any file that can be handled by the system (PDF, JPGs, TXT, DOC) can be thrown in here. The idea is to create a depository for all the documentation in the form of papers, reports, and images related to the region being treated, but that cannot be direclty linked in an spatial context to the rest of the information in the database .
Last modified on January 18th, 2013
Posted on January 18th, 2013