Australian Vegetation Attribute Manual

National Vegetation Information System, Version 6.0
Executive Steering Committee for Australian Vegetation Information (ESCAVI)
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISBN 0 642 54953 2

Section Four: Rules for Checking Data

Introduction

At a national workshop in November 2002, the NVIS collaborators agreed to the implementation of proposed rules to address the structural and content issues impacting on the quality and consistency of the NVIS dataset. There are three general types of rules (i.e. automated procedures):

  1. Those used to check the validity of data within a field;
  2. Those used to check the consistency of data in related fields and tables; and
  3. Those used to generate the simpler levels i.e. levels I to IV, in the NVIS Information Hierarchy (Table 1).

The first category of rules operate instead of, or as well as, database triggers within one field. These are being implemented in XML. The second category use remaining overlaps and redundancies within the database to maintain the integrity and consistency of the database content, especially the vegetation descriptions and supporting tables. These rules are being implemented in PL/SQL in an Oracle environment. The third set of rules is also being developed in PL/SQL, since these require the collation and concatenation of multiple fields. The NVIS collaborators have agreed that conversion from Level VI to V is best undertaken through an expert decision process, as it is too complex to automate the process considering the large variety of methods and data collected.

The following rules have been agreed, but their implementation is still under development. Additional rules will be developed as necessary.

Data Checking Rules

Preliminary Checks

  1. The number_of_strata field must equal the number of Stratum records actually provided.
  2. Stratum counts of 0 are allowed to cater for non-vegetation descriptions. If there is a 'no stratum record' then all the following rules are skipped and the parser jumps to the "Various actions on the veg description records".
  3. All the Taxon records in a Level 6 (or 5) record must use either the species_code or the species field. (i.e. it is not assumed yet that Taxon lists will not be maintained in NVIS although that will be proposed. It will not be permitted to mix the supply of taxon descriptions from both available sources i.e. the taxon_description field in the Stratum table and Taxon records stored as codes in the Taxon table. The source must be specified.)

Type of Update

  1. When the Level 6 (or 5) record's attribute is "NEW" then the source_code for the State cannot already exist in NVIS.
  2. When the Level 6 (or 5) record's attribute is "UPDATE" but the source_code for the State does not exist in NVIS, then convert the Level 6 (or 5) record's attribute to 'NEW' and provide an "ACTION WARNING" message to alert the users.
  3. When the Level 6 (or 5) record's attribute is "UPDATE" then an update_reason must be provided. If the update_reason is present for records of other status i.e. "NEW", "SPELLING" or "TEST" then it is ignored.
  4. To correct the spelling of a Level 6 (or 5) record, its attribute must be set to "SPELLING" and only full taxon_descriptions species can be used. This will replace the previously entered record that was inserted via the "NEW" XML method and has the xml_status flag of 'S' for spelling issues. Messages are provided to indicate if it is successfully deleted and then re-inserted with the correct spelling. Old records in NVIS cannot be updated via this method. (To update Level 6 (or 5) records that used the species_code, correct them using the "SPELLING" mode of the Taxon List XML load. If maintenance of Taxon lists in NVIS is discontinued this will not be relevant.)

Across Stratum Checks

  1. There must be only one Stratum record that has an attribute of Dominant.
  2. There may be only one (or none) of each of the attribute Stratum Codes U1, U2, U3, M1, M2, M3, G1, G2.
  3. The number_of_growth_forms field must equal the number of Growth_Form records actually provided.
  4. The number_of_taxa field must equal the number of Taxa records actually provided.
  5. One and only one of the Upper strata - U1, U2 or U3 must be the "dominant sub-stratum" and have a summary_flag against one of the Taxa and one of the Growth Form records. If the overall Dominant stratum of the Veg Description record is in the Upper strata, then it must be the same stratum as the dominant sub-stratum.
  6. One and only one of the Mid strata - M1, M2 or M3 must be the "dominant sub- stratum" and have a summary_flag against one of the Taxa and one of the Growth Form records. If the overall Dominant stratum of the Veg Description record is in the Mid strata, then it must be the same stratum as the dominant sub- stratum.
  7. One and only one of the Ground strata - G1 or G2 must be the "dominant sub- stratum" and have a summary_flag against one of the Taxa and one of the Growth Form records. If the overall Dominant stratum of the Veg Description record is in the Ground strata, then it must be the same stratum as the dominant sub- stratum.
  8. The Upper sub-strata must appear sequentially. The Upper strata must have a valid U1 sub-stratum before a U2 sub-stratum can exist. The Upper strata must have valid U1 and U2 sub-strata before a U3 can exist.
  9. The Mid sub-strata must appear sequentially. The Mid strata must have a valid M1 sub-stratum before an M2 sub-stratum can exist. The Mid strata must have valid M1 and M2 sub-strata before an M3 can exist.
  10. The Ground sub-strata must appear sequentially. The Ground strata must have a valid G1 sub-stratum before a G2 sub-stratum can exist.

Height by Stratum

  1. The height classes must be sequential, for example the U2 sub-stratum height must not be greater than the U1 sub-stratum height.
  2. The Upper strata (U1, U2, U3) height class can only be between 5 and 8. If an Upper stratum is the dominant stratum, then the height class cannot be entered as 'Unknown'. (If the Upper stratum is not the Dominant stratum, then the height class can be entered as 'Unknown' for a single Upper stratum. If multiple Upper sub-strata exist, then they must all have valid height classes - commented out in XML_XSD 25/10/2002.)
  3. The Mid strata (M1, M2, M3) height class can only be between 3 and 6. If a Mid stratum is the dominant stratum, then the height class cannot be entered as 'Unknown'. (If the Mid stratum is not the dominant stratum, then the height class can be entered as 'Unknown' for a single Mid stratum. If multiple Mid sub-strata exist, then they must all have valid height classes - commented out in XML_XSD 25/10/2002.)
  4. The Ground strata (G1, G2) height class can only be between 1 and 4. If a Ground stratum is the dominant stratum, then the height class cannot be entered as 'Unknown'. (If the Ground stratum is not the dominant stratum, then the height class can be entered as 'Unknown' for a single Ground stratum. If multiple Ground sub-strata exist, then they must all have valid height classes - commented out in XML_XSD 25/10/2002.)

Cover Class by Stratum

  1. If an Upper stratum is the dominant stratum, then the cover class cannot be entered as 'Unknown'. (If the Upper stratum is not the dominant stratum, then the cover class can be entered as 'Unknown' for a single Upper stratum. If multiple Upper sub-strata exist, then they must all have valid cover classes - commented out in XML_XSD 25/10/2002.)
  2. If a Mid stratum is the dominant stratum, then the cover class cannot be entered as 'Unknown'. (If the Mid stratum is not the dominant stratum, then the cover class can be entered as 'Unknown' for a single Mid stratum. If multiple Mid sub-strata exist, then they must all have valid cover classes - commented out in XML_XSD 25/10/2002.)
  3. If a Ground stratum is the dominant stratum, then the cover class cannot be entered as 'Unknown'. (If the Ground stratum is not the dominant stratum, then the cover class can be entered as 'Unknown' for a single Ground stratum. If multiple Ground sub-strata exist, then they must all have valid cover classes - commented out in XML_XSD 25/10/2002.)

Growth Form by Stratum

  1. The Upper strata - U1, U2 or U3 can only be tree, tree mallee, shrub, mallee shrub, palm, vine.
  2. The Mid strata - M1, M2, M3 can only be shrub, mallee shrub, heath shrub, chenopod shrub, palm, xanthorrhoea, vine, tree, sedge, cycad, fern.
  3. The Ground strata - G1 or G2 can only be chenopod shrub, samphire shrub, hummock grass, tussock grass, sedge, rush, forb, fern, moss, lichen, liverwort, vine, cycad, seagrass, shrub, heath shrub, xanthorrhoea.

Taxa - Growth Form Checks

  1. For each Taxon record entered with a taxon_list_id and source_code make sure the taxon_list_id exists and that the source_code is unique.
  2. For each Taxon record check that one of the growth forms listed matches the growth forms shown for that genus in the Genus/Growth Form table.
  3. For each stratum (U, M, G) check that the taxon and growth form identified with the summary_flag '^' are consistent with the Genus/Growth Form table.

Spelling Checks - Taxa

  1. For each Taxon record check the spelling of the genus and species against the C/W (SPRAT) taxon table (current_flag can be Y/N). If it doesn't match at all provide a Warning message to the user but still load it.
  2. If the genus and species (without any infraspecies) is in the Taxon Revision table of the C/W (SPRAT) taxon database as an old Taxon name (and matches exactly) then create a system administrator warning message to alert the C/W system administrator only.
  3. If the genus and species followed by a space ' ' (to indicate there is additional infraspecies info), matches in the Taxon Revision table of SPRAT to an old Taxon name of genus and species with extra infraspecies info. then create a system administrator warning message to alert the C/W system administrator only.

Check: Generated Description = Intended Description

  1. The sub_association field that contains the Level 5/6 veg description data must be identical to the description generated from the mandatory fields in the Stratum table and other lower tables.