This package supports data management activities associated with environmental time series collected at fixed locations in space. The motivating fields include both air and water quality monitoring where fixed sensors report at regular time intervals.
The most compact format for time series data collected at fixed locations is a list including two tables. MazamaTimeSeries stores time series measurements in a
data table where each row is a synoptic record containing all measurements associated with a particular UTC time stamp and each column contains data measured by a single sensor (aka “device”). Any time invariant metadata associated with a sensor at a known location (aka a “device-deployment”) is stored in a separate
meta table. A unique
deviceDeploymentID connects the two tables. In the language of relational databases, this “normalizes” the database and can greatly reduce the disk space and memory needed to store and work with the data.
Time series data from a single environmental sensor typically consists of multiple parameters measured at successive times. This data is stored in an R list containing two dataframes. The package refers to this structure as an
sts object for SingleTimeSeries:
sts$meta – 1 row = unique device-deployment; cols = device/location metadata
sts$data – rows = UTC times; cols = measured parameters (plus an additional
sts objects can support the following types of time series data:
Raw, “engineering data” containing uncalibrated measurements, instrument voltages and QC flags may be stored in this format. This format is also appropriate for processed and QC’ed data whenever multiple parameters are measured by a single device.
sts object time axis specified in
data$datetime reflects device measurement times and is not required to have uniform spacing. (It may be regular but it need not be.)
Working with timeseries data from multiple sensors at once is often challenging because of the amount of memory required to store all the data from each sensor. However, a common situation is to have time series that share a common time axis – e.g. hourly measurements. In this case, it is possible to create single-parameter
data dataframes that contain all data for all sensors for a single parameter of interest. In air quality applications, common parameters of interest include PM2.5 and Ozone.
Multi-sensor, single-parameter time series data is stored in an R list with two dataframes. The package refers to this structure as an
mts object for MultipleTimeSeries:
mts$meta – N rows = unique device-deployments; cols = device/location metadata
mts$data – rows = UTC times; N cols = device-deployments (plus an additional
A key feature of
mts objects is the use of the
deviceDeploymentID as a “foreign key” that allows sensor
data columns to be mapped onto the associated spatial and sensor metadata in a
meta row. The following will always be true:
identical(names(mts$data), c('datetime', mts$meta$deviceDeploymentID))
mts objects can support the following types of time series data:
Each column of
mts$data represents a timeseries associated with a particular device-deployment while each row represents a synoptic snap shot of all measurements made at a particular time.
In this manner, software can create both timeseries plots and maps from a single
mts object in memory.
mts object time axis specified in
data$datetime is guaranteed to be a regular hourly axis with no gaps.
See usage examples in the function documentation.
Best wishes for efficient and productive analysis of time series data!
This R package was created with funding from the USFS AirFire Research Team.