Computer software was written to randomly select sites for a ground-water-quality sampling network. The software uses digital cartographic techniques and subroutines from a proprietary geographic information system. The report presents the approaches, computer software, and sample applications.
It is often desirable to collect ground-water-quality samples from various areas in a study region that have different values of a spatial characteristic, such as land-use or hydrogeologic setting. A stratified network can be used for testing hypotheses about relations between spatial characteristics and water quality, or for calculating statistical descriptions of water-quality data that account for variations that correspond to the spatial characteristic.
In the software described, a study region is subdivided into areal subsets that have a common spatial characteristic to stratify the population into several categories from which sampling sites are selected. Different numbers of sites may be selected from each category of areal subsets.
A population of potential sampling sites may be defined by either specifying a fixed population of existing sites, or by preparing an equally spaced population of potential sites. In either case, each site is identified with a single category, depending on the value of the spatial characteristic of the areal subset in which the site is located. Sites are selected from one category at a time. One of two approaches may be used to select sites. Sites may be selected randomly, or the areal subsets in the category can be grouped into cells and sites selected randomly from each cell.