Understanding the Temporal Footprint, or "TimeSupport", of Observations

An important consideration in using time series data found in the HIS Central Catalog is the "temporal footprint" of each observation, or put otherwise, the amount of time in which the observation was made. For example, was an observation made through averaging multiple measurements in a day or is the observation an instantaneous measurement? In the Observations Data Model, this is represented through the TimeSupport and TimeSupportUnits fields, which can be viewed in every search result in HydroClient.  

The TimeSupport field is used to give a numerical representation of the temporal footprint while the TimeSupportUnits gives the units that this number is in (e.g. days or minutes). For example, if an observation is the maximum value recorded for a day, the TimeSupport will equal 1, and TimeSupportUnits will be represented as day. If the observation is a daily average, the TimeSupport will be and the TimeSupportUnits will be day. If an observation is an average of a number of measurements made over 15 minutes, then the TimeSupport will be 15 and the TimeSupportUnits will be minute

Finally, a typical case is when an observation is an instantaneous measurement (e.g. temperature measured with a sensor at a given moment). In this situation the TimeSupport will be 0 and the TimeSupportUnit field becomes irrelevant and can be anything (i.e. day or minute). This is because when a measurement is made instantaneously the units have no impact on describing the observation. 

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