Field Season Preparation
When it comes time to collect the data, it is important to be fully prepared for the field. This includes having all of your equipment prepared (Step 1), data collection software downloaded and tested (Step 1a and b), crews trained and a full understanding of the AIM Core Methods and indicators. The type of equipment and trainings you will need depends on whether you intend to collect aquatic data, terrestrial data or both.
- Tablets and Accessories for Electronic Data Capture: One of the most important pieces of equipment that you will use is your tablet!
- Terrestrial AIM data is collected using the Database for Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment (DIMA) of Windows-run tablets. See the Master Equipment list for more details on tablet information.
- Aquatics AIM data is collected using the Stream And River Assessment Hub (SARAH) on Mac systems.
- Database for Inventory Monitoring and Assessment (DIMA): The Database for Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment (DIMA) is a highly customizable software tool for data collection, management, and interpretation. DIMA is a free Microsoft Access database that can easily be used without extensive knowledge of Access. Data can be entered for common, nationally accepted vegetation and soil monitoring methods in either English or metric units. However, AIM data collected using the core methods should be collected using metric units – this is a requirement for data ingestion. You can download DIMA here. For additional DIMA support please visit the following links:
- Aquatic Data Collection with the Stream And River Assessment Hub (SARAH): SARAH is undergoing revisions over the winter of 2015-2016. If you are planning on collecting aquatic data in 2016, please contact the National Aquatic Monitoring Center to be notified of the latest SARAH release.
- Field Equipment: To begin collecting terrestrial data you will need to obtain all of the necessary monitoring equipment found in the Master Equipment List. It can be helpful to have more than one of each item in the event that something is lost or broken in the field. The equipment found on the Master Equipment List is necessary to collect data for all of the core terrestrial methods. If you are planning on collecting data from supplemental indicators, you will likely need additional equipment.