Key SPM Terminology

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Key SPM Terminology



Activities can be used to designate specific actions to be performed at specific locations during a sampling event. Examples of activities include taking photos, ensuring that a well is capped and locked, and trimming flora.




The RT_ANALYTE table describes items of interest to be measured, such as chemicals or field measurements and observations. Examples of analytes include benzene, legionella, and field pH.


Analytic Method


The RT_ANALYTIC_METHOD table describes analysis methods used in testing chemical properties within a matrix. Examples of methods include USEPA_8260, APHA_4110, and field measure.


Chain of Custody


In legal contexts, laboratory chain of custody (COC) procedures refer to the documentation or paper trail that records the quality of all samples during collection, transportation, and storage prior to analysis. The COCs provide documentation of analytical instructions to the analytical laboratory, are a record of samples sent to the laboratory, and guarantee samples were handled appropriately (not available for tampering) prior to analysis.




A Commitment can be described as the background to a Task or Activity. Commitment details are the task metadata that help define the reasons for conducting the Task, and the parties responsible for the Task. These task details assist in the reporting process by allowing users to select groups of tasks based on common values. For example, one or more Planned Tasks may be configured based on the requirements set forth by a single governing authority or monitoring program. This authority or monitoring program can be selected during reporting to generate output for these related tasks.




A Contract represents the specifications agreed upon with service providers, such as laboratories and field sampling crews. For example, a Plan may have three Contracts, each defining details of analysis agreements with different laboratories. Contracts record analytes, analytical methods, containers and costs.


Contract Analytic Method


The purpose of Contract Analytic Methods is to associate Contract Method Analyte Groups (MAGs) to Containers. A Contract Analytic Method can be an existing analytic method that has been associated with a particular Contract, and to one or more Contract MAGs.


Contract Container


Containers (bottleware) are the vessels in which samples are collected. They are associated to Contract MAGs via Contract Analytic Methods, and subsequently associated to planned and scheduled samples.


Contract MAG


A Contract Method Analyte Group (MAG) is snapshot of a database MAG at a particular time that has been associated with a particular Contract. MAGs must be associated with a Contract in order to make them available for selection when adding samples to planned tasks, as associating a Contract MAG with a sample is a required step.


Electronic Data Deliverable


An Electronic Data Deliverable (EDD) is a data file specifically conforming to one of a number of EQuIS Data Processor (EDP) Formats. EDDs may be Microsoft Excel workbooks, Microsoft Access databases, ASCII files, text (.txt) files, zip (.zip) files, or XML (.xml) files.




The DT_FACILITY table describes facilities and their parameters, such as addresses, project managers, and coordinate maximums and minimums. Facilities are the physical or logical extent of data that is made available for reporting, analysis, or modeling.


Examples of facilities are a petroleum station, a hazardous waste site, a collection of surface water sampling locations in a drainage basin, etc. A single EQuIS database may contain any number of facilities, separating data while sharing the same valid values.


Groups and Method Analyte Groups


The RT_GROUP and RT_GROUP_MEMBER tables describe user-defined groups of facilities and locations. The RT_MTH_ANL_GROUP and RT_MTH_ANL_GROUP_MEMBER tables describe user-defined groups of analytes, known as Method Analyte Groups (MAGs). MAGs are used to facilitate logical and efficient scheduling and reporting processes.

Facilities may be grouped by geographic region such as state, or based on other common factors such as client. Groups of facilities are referred to as Facility Groups.

Locations may also be grouped spatially, or based on other common factors such as location type, sampling requirements, or reporting requirements. Groups of locations are referred to as Location Groups.

Analytes may be grouped based on sampling requirements, reporting requirements, or laboratory contracts. Groups of analytes are referred to as Method Analyte Groups, or MAGs.

Groups may overlap in some cases. For example, certain analytes may be grouped together based on laboratory contracts for scheduling and sampling purposes, but may be grouped differently for reporting purposes.

Groups are created by the Groups interface in EQuIS Professional or by loading an EDD via EDP.




A sample may be scheduled as 'on hold' in either EDGE or SPM. This indicates to the laboratory that no analysis should be performed until otherwise instructed.




For the purposes of this document, the term laboratory refers conceptually to any analytical laboratory or other outside party interacting with the EQuIS database.


Land Access


Land access describes the access requirements/permissions for a planned or scheduled field event. Access permission must often be obtained prior to scheduling and executing planned field events.




The DT_LOCATION table describes locations within a facility, and includes such information as location code, depth to bedrock, drilling method, location type, etc. Examples of locations are a monitoring well, a soil boring, a surface water sampling location, etc.

Samples and activities are generally conducted at specified locations.

Data (e.g., analytical, geologic, limnologic, and geotechnical) are tied to locations for spatial reporting and display purposes.

Location Groups can be created to store data for multiple locations within a project.

Reports can be run for single locations, groups of locations, or all locations in a facility.




The RT_MATRIX table describes media forms from which it is possible to collect a sample. Examples of matrices include soil, groundwater, and surface water.




The RT_MEDIUM table describes sample mediums, such as water, air, and soil.




A Plan represents the overarching scheduling elements in the database. Sampling events (in the form of planned tasks) are created, scheduled, and managed within a Plan.


Planned Task


Planned Tasks are recurring events that contain details of sampling and activities to be carried out at regular or irregular intervals. Planned Tasks and associated elements must be created, configured, approved, and scheduled prior to the generation of field sampling materials, such as EDGE Field EDDs and Task Details Reports.




The DT_RESULT table describes analytical results associated with tests. Each record in this table is required to have a parent record in DT_TEST; that is, every result must have an associated test.




The DT_SAMPLE table describes samples collected during sampling events, including sample type, sample date, and sampling location where applicable. Samples can be planned and scheduled using SPM, or collected as unscheduled “ad-hoc samples”.


Sample Delivery Group


A Sample Delivery Group (SDG) is a group of Samples associated with a single COC. An SDG is also referred to as a Work Order.


Sample Receipt Notification


A Sample Receipt Notification (SRN) is a document generated by laboratories to acknowledge receipt of samples. SRNs are also used to identify any issues with the received samples. SRN EDDs are formatted SRNs that can be imported to the EQuIS database through EDP.


Sample Type


The RT_SAMPLE_TYPE table describes the types of samples to be collected, as determined by the user. Examples of sample types are N (normal environmental sample), FD (field duplicate), FB (field blank), TB (trip blank), RB (rinse blank), MS (matrix spike), etc.


Scheduled Task


Scheduled Tasks are specific events stemming from Planned Tasks that contain details of sampling and activities to be carried out at pre-determined dates. Field sampling materials, such as EDGE Field EDDs and Task Details Reports, are generated based on the selection of specific Scheduled Tasks.




The DT_TASK table describes specific sampling events that were either planned and scheduled using SPM, or collected as ad-hoc tasks. Field data and laboratory data are linked to the Task for which they were collected.




The DT_TEST table describes analyses associated with samples. Each record in this table is required to have a parent record in DT_SAMPLE; that is, every test must have an associated sample.