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Application of global grids in environmental sampling

Olsen, A.R., Stevens, D.L., Jr. and White, D. (1998)

Computing Science and Statistics, 30, 279-84.


Survey designs have been applied to environmental and natural resource issues for many years. However, the breadth of available survey design approaches has been limited - many times to simple random, stratified random, or systematic designs. A substantial theory has been developed to address finite population sampling, driven mainly from problems associated with surveying human populations or institutions. Recently, increasing attention has been given to the development of survey designs that address environmental and natural resource specific issues. The paper begins with a brief overview of survey design approaches used by several major Federal environmental and natural resource programs. The overview will highlight characteristics of the resources being sampled that suggest alternative design approaches are needed. One characteristic seemingly shared by all is the desire to have the survey design spread the sample points out over space, hence the use of systematic grids is common. Building on this background, we will make a case for having a single global grid structure. The proposed grid structure enables a wide range of survey designs to be developed. In each case, a design is available that appropriately considers the characteristics of the natural resource to be sampled.


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