Data Source Type

The following steps are most easy to follow if you have selected continuous sampling. 

Once you have selected your data source type, you can (option 1) bootstrap a data import or (option 2) click save and then step through the data creation process step by step. 

Use our sample data!

Take a look at the provided sample data set to understand how to construct your template or use it to walk through this tutorial.



Demonstration Data

Data Set Setup Option 1: Bootstrap your data source

On your Create Data Source Page you can upload a .csv file that includes your stations, parameters, and readings and the system will create – or bootstrap – the key building blocks of your data source structure. Bootstrapping works for continuous and annual scorecard data sources. 

Bootstrapping will save you a lot of time and it’s one of my favorite features, but definitely proceed with a few words of advice:

  • Label your columns with the exact column names described on the screen and you must include all required columns.
  • Latitude and longitude must be expressed in decimal degrees.
  • Parameters should each be added as a separate column. Use a csv friendly column header, you can enter a Visual-Friendly name within the data source. 
  • In order for parameters to have ranges or scores associated with them, the data point must be a numerical value. The system cannot interpret cells like <1 or 8+.
  • The system will take a few minutes to bin and populate all of the information. I recommend using a subset of your data to bootstrap and then upload additional data through the importer tool. Just make sure that the file that you use includes all of the parameters and stations that you intend to include in the data set.

Once you have set up and scrubbed your file, upload it as a .csv. Go grab a cup of coffee or do a few jumping jacks after you click "Upload file". As the system populates the stations, parameters, and sample reading, you’ll be returned to the main Data Sources page. To enter into your newly created data source, click the edit button. The summary page displays all of the readings, stations, and parameter. 

You're going to want to review and finalize all of the information that you uploaded. Read the Parameters article and Stations to fully build out your data source as both machine readable and fancify it for all audiences that review the data.


If for whatever reason you don’t want to create your data source via the bootstrap option (option 1), you can build your data source in multiple steps. From the main “Create a Data Source Page” just scroll down and click the green check button. You are now inside your Data Source. As you can see, it’s empty.

The key information that you’ll need to package are the fixed stations (sites) and the parameters that you collect at those stations. 

Feel free to using the following files to walk through the steps:

Demonstration Stations


Demonstration Data

Step 1: Upload or add Stations

Stations can be imported as a .csv file or added one by one. If you’re creating a new data source, click the green button that says “Import Stations”. 

Or, click on the Stations tab. 

Here are the list of “musts” to meet before you can import your stations:

  • Your file must be in the .csv format. 
  • Your file must have contain the following column headers with no capitalization: station_id, station_name, latitude, and longitude (in decimal degrees)
  • station_id must be a unique identifier and cannot be changed after it’s assigned to a station
  • station_name should be reader friendly and can be edited after it’s uploaded.

Additional fields that you can include in your spreadsheet:

  • station_description

Once you have your file fitting the above requirements, click “Choose File” and select the correct .csv file from your computer. Then click “upload file”. All of your stations are now in your data source. Go read the article on Stations to learn more about how you can add additional details to each station site.  

Step 2: Create Parameters

Each parameter must be added individually to your Data Source. Every parameter that you add will “appear” as a column in your importer template and as a field in your Form. Data will be able to be added to each parameter via three channels: importer, form, and manually through a station.

To get started, click the green plus sign. These are the fields you’ll have available to you:

Column name (required): this is the un-modified column name that will be found in all source spreadsheets/upload templates. The name must match the templates exactly.

Display name (required): This is your human-friendly parameter name that will appear on forms and any other public displays, such as maps.

Citation (optional): Enter a link where people can learn about this parameter. The link will appear within the parameter details on station cards.

Description: Define the parameter so that your audiences understand why you collect this information or why it’s important to understanding. Maximum of 500 characters.

Unit (Optional): If your parameter has a unit, type it in or select it from existing units here.

Click the green check mark to create and save your new parameter. 

Repeat these steps for all of the parameters in your portfolio. 

Refer to the Parameters article to review these steps and learn how to add ranges as a light-weight analysis and other details.


And with that, you’ve reached the end of the set up process for a continuing monitoring data source. Here are some suggested articles to build out your data source and use this data source to create visualizations. 

You may want to complete a Form to enable collaborators to collect data for your data source. Your form has all of the parameters in it from when you defined your parameters in the data source set up, but you can further refine your collection form. Read our Forms Article for all of the details on this process.

Add additional details to the Stations that provide station-specific parameter ranges, add station photos, and check out watershed details.

At this stage you are fully set up to manage your data source. Read the article on managing data imports to streamline your workflow.

Once you have stations, you can visualize your data on a Water Reporter embeddable map. Check out this suite of articles on visualizing data to learn about the Maps feature.

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