Selecting an Appropriate EQuIS Format for Your Data Needs

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Selecting an Appropriate EQuIS Format for Your Data Needs

Selecting or developing an appropriate EQuIS Format is one of the first and most important steps in successful data management. EarthSoft publishes and distributes several different EQuIS Formats that include variations in terms of target-specific data. In many cases, existing, published EQuIS Formats meet the data criteria required. If so, choosing an existing format can considerably reduce the start-up time necessary to report and load data. In other cases, it may be necessary to select an existing format and modify it to reflect specific data needs. Consider the following:

The selected Format(s) should meet the scope of the data to load. Some workflows may be well suited to using one EQuIS Format, whereas others may require more than one EQuIS Format to load different types of data.

The Format(s) should be capable of importing both laboratory and field data as appropriate.

EQuIS Formats range in complexity. In some cases simplistic EQuIS Formats, such as the single section EZEDD Format, can be used if it meets all the required needs. In other cases, formats such as EFWEDD or EQEDD may be appropriate for loading more varieties of data.

Refrain from selecting EDDs that offer unnecessary complexity.


EQuIS Formats – Quick Reference


EarthSoft provides several standard EQuIS formats for importing data. The formats range from simple single section EDDs to more complex multi-section EDDs. The format selected is dependent on the type of data entered.


If the standard, unaltered EQuIS formats do not meet specific company needs, EarthSoft can create a custom format, built to exact needs. This requires additional development, and an additional fee. Other proprietary formats are also available, such as one of the EPA Region formats. For more information about customizing a format or for obtaining and registering a proprietary format, please email


This article is a quick guide for the standard EQuIS formats and includes a brief description of each. To obtain a blank copy of the EDD or to get the format descriptions, please read EDD Display, Description, and Blank EDD.



Standard EQuIS Formats

The Action Level format file has two sections:

1. Action levels

2. Action level parameters


This format allows users to easily import new action levels or edit existing data as shown in the help article Using ActionLevels Format.

The EFWEDD format, also known as the 4-file format, is a standard format that is suitable for most labs. It offers two different sections for sample information (choose either Field or Lab), a test section, a results section, and a batch section.

The EQEDD is one of the most extensive/detailed standard EQuIS formats. It contains sections for location, lab, and field data. It is a good generic format to begin importing data.

ESBasic is a simple, single section lab EDD format. Use to import single sample tests.

EZEDD is another single section lab EDD format. Note that a SYS_LOC_CODE field has been added to EZEDD, creating the new format EZEDD_LOCATION.

EZLithology is a single section EDD. Use to enter Field/Lithology data.

The Facility EDD format allows the importing of facilities with related coordinate and location data as well as associated location groups and group members. The file contains the following sections that mimic the data table structure:







This format can be used to edit existing data by exporting one or more of the above tables from EQuIS Professional using the 'Send to Microsoft Excel' icon, and then opening these from the Facility format.

The Flow format is used to load open channel flow data into EQuIS.

The Geology EDD is a more complex location EDD. It contains several sections for importing data related to location, well logs, geology, lithology, geological samples, and water levels.

The Historical format contains four sections for importing historical data. The four sections are:

1.Water Levels



4.Location Data


Note that the following changes have been made to the Historical EDD format:

Added default mapping ("NA") for COLUMN_NUMBER.

Renamed TOTAL_OR_DISSOLVED to fraction.

Increased LOC_TYPE to 20 characters.

Changed WELL_ID to non-required, added conditional mapping, and added custom check "If TOP_CASING_ELEV or DEPTH_TO_BOTTOM_
OF_WELL is populated, then WELL_ID is required".

This format contains an EDD section for each of the reference value tables within the EQuIS Database Schema. Use this format to import reference values.

The Water Levels format is a single section EDD format to enter Water Level Data. This includes SYS_LOC_CODE, measurement date, water level elevation and depth, and remarks.

The EuroEQEDD is a multiple section format that includes sections for Locations, Wells, Water Levels, Field Samples, Field Results, Soil, Gas, and Lab Data.




EDP now allows for a custom facility check per format. The custom check will scan file names within the zipped EDD (e.g., txt, csv, etc.) for a facility code and match against the facility code in the zipped file name. The files that do not match within the zipped EDD will be ignored. Please contact for more information.

A file section has been added to the EQEDD format to allow uploading of attachments.

The EZEDD format now allows for loading negative result values. The RESULT_VALUE column data type is changed from numeric to string, and a new check allows only numeric values.



Data Generator or Data Receiver Considerations


Consider EQuIS format selection from the perspective of a data provider or a data receiver:

A data provider typically acquires data through field observation, populates the EDD, and prepares the data for submission.

A data receiver generally receives the data, loads it into a database, and uses the data for reporting.


Consultants often act as the data provider. Industrial users can be both providers and receivers of data. Regulatory agencies are usually receivers of data, although they can also be data providers. The distinction between provider and receiver is not a clear-cut separation. To choose an format, consider the requirements from both perspectives.


Data Providers


Consider the following when selecting a format:

Project or Client Requirements

QA/QC Requirements

Regulatory Requirements (EPA, State Agency, Local Agency)

Laboratory Capability

Risk-based Corrective Action (RBCA) or statistical cleanup?


Data Receivers


Consider the following when selecting a format:

Existing Data

What type of data is currently being collected (soil, water, air, etc.)?

Is field data being collected (lithology, water levels, sample parameters, purge data, well construction, etc)?

Is analytical data collected? If so, how much QC is collected?

Field Data Requirements

Analytical/Monitoring Data Required

Long-term Objectives

Ability of Community to Produce EDD


An essential issue for data receivers, such as a regulatory agency, is the ability of the regulated community to produce the EDD. If the staff cannot or do not use the EDD, the technical requirements are irrelevant. The tools that are provided should make the EDD easy to use. It should include:

Clear documentation with the EDD formats.

The use of tools such as the EDP to check data, and make sure it conforms to requirements before submitting it.

Organized public forums to educate users and address concerns.



Comprehensive vs. Simple Formats


While single formats can meet all data requirements, a single format may not promote EDD usability.


Generally it is possible to input simple data into a comprehensive format. However, if only a few formats are used in a comprehensive EDD or a few fields in a large format, a simpler format is often more efficient.


Often, a comprehensive format is used for current data, whereas a simple format is used for historical data where there is little or no control over what data are available.


The ordering of the formats in either a comprehensive or simple EDD is arbitrary. Consider ordering by the most important or commonly used format first, followed by others in order of importance.



Required Fields


Required fields are generally designated in EarthSoft EDDs with header information in red. These fields are required by the database and cannot be changed. However, in developing an EDD you may want to consider requiring additional fields. For example, in the Location format, only SYS_LOC_CODE is required by the database. Technically, it is possible to successfully load a data set that includes nothing more than location codes. However, for any type of analysis or modeling, more information is required than just the location code. For use in any type of GIS, the X and Y coordinates are needed at minimum. If the users intend to use GIS or any other modeling tools, it may be necessary to require additional fields such as X and Y in your EDD.



Custom Fields


Several of the major tables in the EQuIS database include custom fields. While these fields may be used essentially to accommodate any information, their use should be coordinated among all users within the organization. This is particularly important in regards to the EDD.


Custom fields are intended to be used for storing data for which there is no other field. However, without proper consideration, any use of the data once loaded into the database will be difficult at best. If different users put different types of data into Custom Field 1, for example, it becomes a hodgepodge of unusable data because it cannot be queried or reported. However, if it is determined beforehand that Custom Field 1 will be used for atmospheric conditions at the time of surveying (for example) — and the EDD is modified to reflect this rather than a generic CUSTOM_FIELD_1 — then this data becomes usable. Reports will consistently be able to draw the expected information from this field.


The use of custom fields should be consistent not only within a single database project, but also across all projects. This issue becomes even more critical for users who may eventually use EQuIS Enterprise where data from many projects are uploaded into a single Enterprise database.



Format Variations


As EQuIS formats change over time, it is recommended that the various formats include a version number. For example, if a format is developed for location data and is named Location, it is recommended that the format be introduced with the name Location_01. As the format evolves, a new version may be called "Location_02". Avoid eliminating one format when a new one is introduced. Thus, data populated with the old format can still be loaded, and new data can be loaded with the new format.