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Data Evolved: The Ascent of R

June 6, 2016


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Google. The Food and Drug Administration. John Deere. The National Weather Service. Waterborne Environmental. The commonality? All organizations use the power of R.

In a world overwhelmed by data, the need for fast and accurate interpretation, summarization and analysis of large data sets is increasingly required. Enter R, the data environment and programming language that has taken the analytical world by storm. R itself is much more than a programming language or a tool for basic statistics. Its uses range from complex statistical analysis, data mining and risk assessment, to geospatial work, dynamic data visualizations and interactive web applications. It is an elegant and adaptable tool that can be applied on many fronts. Through continuous updates, custom packages and support from its open source user community, it has rapidly evolved into one of the leading software packages used by analysts, scientists and companies worldwide.

Here at Waterborne, we have leveraged the power and flexibility that R programming provides to develop a variety of custom tools and significantly expand our analytical capabilities. Integrating our in-house Structured Query Language (SQL) databases with powerful scripting allows for multifaceted yet reproducible investigations and pointed insights to the complex questions we seek to answer. By coupling our field-to-office data streaming systems with R, we have developed automated email reporting dashboards for real-time updates and quality control (QC) for many of our field studies. This allows us to check and track sampling equipment status’, weather, water quality and hydrologic data as it develops. On a more recent front, we have joined R programming with our PRZM and RIVWQ modeling work. This has expanded the volume of modeling work we can complete through automated processing, while maintaining or reducing calculation times through distributed computing techniques.

R has become the de facto language for data analysis and no doubt will continue to gain global popularity across all scientific disciplines. As new quantitative techniques are advanced, innovative solutions will evolve within the R framework. At the forefront, Waterborne will utilize these tools and continue to innovate and adapt our capabilities to the ever changing needs of the analytical world! Contact Matt Gloe at gloem@waterborne-env.com with questions about our R capabilities.