U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Welcome to the AQS Quarterly Newsletter
Volume I, Issue I
November 2002
Table of Contents
AQS Status	1-2
Web and CDX
Tips for Upload-
ing Data into	3
AQS Stats	,
AQS Conference 4
Looking for Raw
Data	5
User Support 5, 9
Precision & Ac-
curacy - PARS 6
Top Ten Items
from AQS Con- 6-7
ference 2002
What's on the
Web for AQS
Contact Info
Air Quality System
This newsletter lias been prepared
to let folks know about what is going on with
the new Air Quality System (AQS). In addi-
tion to those who routinely work with AQS,
this newsletter is being sent to others who
frequently use AQS data in their work.
Though I want to encourage you to
read the entire newsletter, I=d like to draw
your attention to 2 articles. On page 2, Mike
Letke describes our plans to move AQS to a
web application and to integrate the data
flow thru the Agency=s Central Data Ex-
change in April 2003. The article highlights
the changes that the Regional Offices and
State, local and tribal agencies need to be
aware of for a successful implementation,
including our plans for hands-on computer
training in early 2003.
The other article by Jake Summers
below describes the recent improvements
that have been made to some AQS Reports
in response to user requests. Now, some
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AQS reports are available in a text format
that allows users to easily customize the data
into a specific format. We are continuing to
convert the other AQS reports with this fea-
We plan to distribute the newsletter
quarterly and welcome any questions or
comments you may have.
AQS STATUS Jake Summers
AQS has been in production for 9
months with over 50 million values up-
dated. The data input process is becoming
more stable with very few new software
bugs being reported by users. We continue
to work to correct all bugs related to data
input and summarization so that all com-
puted statistics are in compliance with
NAAQS interpretation. The following is a
list of major projects and the current status:
Summary Calculations - The precision and
accuracy report was modified so that it now
provides summary data as well as the raw
data. The summary calculations for PM10
and PM2.5 have been modified to correct
various errors related to the new standards
that were not implemented in the old system.
The updated maintain monitor screens will
be distributed in mid-November to allow for
correct processing of season sampling fre-
quencies. The seasonal sampling frequencies
for PM2.5 will be updated and then all sum-
mary statistics will be recomputed. An email
will be sent after completed so that any

AQS Status continued
agencies waiting to certify 2001 data will know it is final.
Report Optimization/Text Output Creation - Individual
reports are being modified to improve retrieval speed as well
as creating text output and verifying all options are correct.
The first three raw data reports were distributed October 25.
The remaining raw data reports (AMP 350D and 350MX) will
be completed by the end of December and then other reports
will be scheduled for conversion based on efficiency and us-
age. After the raw data reports are complete, AMP430 - Data
Completeness and AMP450 - Quick Look Criteria will be
Work file creation - Develop raw data work file. The
original proposal will be sent to users for comment and then
developed based on user input. The initial format was sub-
mitted for comment but has not been implemented. Based on
experience with work files since May, other formats will be
proposed before implementation.
Develop AQI detailed work file.
Develop site/monitor work file.
Develop other work files as requested.
Develop a new public access query site - The current AQS
Query has not been updated with new data since January. We
plan to develop a new public access tool that will use the new
database, will be updated on a regular basis, and will provide
access to other tables such as reference tables. This project
will be available early next year.
Web and CDX Updates	Mike Letke
Soon after the AQS client server version was released in February 2002, work began on converting to a web version of AQS.
The AQS web, while similar to the client server version in the 'look & feel', will have some significant improvements.
The improvements fall into 3 categories should make using AQS easier and more user friendly:
1)	Transmitting data using the Central Data Exchange
2)	Users will enter Maintenance, Correct etc. in query mode as opposed to the current enter data mode.
3)	No SecuRemote
The EPA Central Data Exchange facility will replace using FTP to send/receive files. The Central Data Exchange or
CDX is the electronic front door to the EPA and AQS web is one the early applications.
In the client server version of AQS, the user was placed into input mode when they entered areas such as Maintain.
The result was that users would have to click the Enter Query icon to get to the query mode. In the web version, the user is
placed in query mode which means they can immediately start entering data in the fields and then click the Execute Query icon
to start the query. This change should make using the application much more user friendly.
Last, but not least, there will not be a reason to use SecuRemote. The user will access a web address using their
browser. Although they will still have to provide a user id/password, accessing AQS should be much easier.
The goal is to begin testing the AQS Web in November, 2002 and release it to production in April 2003. In order to
prepare for this there will be a series of hands-on computer training classes offered early 2003.
Mike Letke is the contact for the AQS Web, CDX and training classes and can be reached at (919) 541-0773 or

Tips for Uploading Data into AQS
Ed Lillis
The submittal of air quality data to AQS is important
to EPA and we appreciate your efforts in this regard. Sub-
mitting data in an efficient manner is also important and we
encourage folks to do so. Some suggestions that may im-
prove the speed of you uploads are listed below:
Load size - Generally, we do not see differences in the speed
of the load rate based on load size, except for very small jobs
(e.g., less than 500 records per job). Loads of less than 500
records generally process slower than other load sizes.
Suggestion: When convenient, upload data in batches greater
than 500-1000 records. (Some agencies upload 100,000-
400,000 records at a time).
Loads during the week - Loads submitted on Mondays and
Fridays run faster than those submitted on other days. The
server seems to have fewer jobs to process on these days.
Suggestion: When convenient, upload data on Mondays and
Loads during the day - Uploads submitted early in the
morning (by 8:00 am and before 10:00am (EST)) or after
5:00 pm (EST) upload at a faster rate than during the core
business hours. The server seems to have fewer jobs to proc-
ess during these times.
Suggestion: When convenient, upload data either early or
late in the day.
Loads at the end of a month or quarter - We have
observed that load rates are generally lower on the last week
of a month particularly if it is the last week of a calendar
Suggestion: When convenient, avoid uploading data during
the last week of a month.
Loads on the weekends -Though AQS is generally opera-
tional on weekends, there are some weekends when either the
AQS database or the UNIX server(s) is taken off line for cer-
tain reasons. Occasionally, the Oracle database support group
(DBSS) will need to perform special maintenance. Saturday
mornings from 8 AM to 10 AM eastern time have been re-
served for this support. You will be notified in advance, via
email, when AQS is scheduled for Saturday morning mainte-
nance. Sunday evenings, 8 PM until midnight eastern, is re-
served for the UNIX system admin group. Users should not
anticipate on the system being available during this time. Un-
fortunately, when the system or the server is taken down, all
uncompleted AQS jobs are terminated.
On weekends when AQS is operational, routine
maintenance and support activities occur which can affect the
performance of the load process. For example, the AQS data
are typically backed up on Saturday evening and night. Al-
though, AQS is not taken offline for these routine support ac-
tivities, weekend jobs will generally run at a slower rate than
during the week.
Suggestion: Watch for emails that will alert you to the data-
base being offline on a weekend. Expect AQS to be offline
on Sunday evenings after 8 PM eastern time. Use your judg-
ment on loading data over the weekend. Remember that data
backups and other routine system maintenance activities
could affect your load rate over the weekend.
Loads with multiple errors - Load rates can be affected by
the number of errors in the data being loaded. Generally, the
fewer the number of errors, the faster the load rate.
Suggestion: Review the load for potential errors before sub-
mitting. Avoid submitting data files that have already been
We hope these suggestions are helpful and would be
happy to hear from users who have other suggestions as well.
AQS Stats - Utilization and Performance for September 2002	Michael Hamlin
AQS was put in production at the end of January
2002. Recently, we began to measure various parameters to
assess how well AQS is performing. This information indi-
cates that a considerable amount of work is done each day by
AQS and generally done in a timely manner.
100,000 records or more, each of which took several hours to
complete. The largest upload (393,921 records which is
equivalent to 1 year of data from 39 continuous monitoring
sites) was completed in 14 clock hours (11 CPU-hrs). This
was a very large amount of data.
In September, there were 426 upload sessions of
1,000 records (about 1 month of data for a continuous moni-
tor) or more. 6.7 million records were added to AQS during
September 2002.
The average number of records uploaded at a time
was about 16,000 records. About 58% of the uploads were
completed in 15 minutes or less, 72% in 30 minutes; 85% in
1 hour and 93% in 2 hours, or less (clock-time).
During September, there were 12 upload jobs of
From September 8 to October 2, there were about
2700 retrievals of data from AQS. Many of these retrievals
involve detailed (e.g., hourly) data rather than summary statis-
tics. About 50% of these retrievals were completed in 2 min-
utes or less, 68 % in 5 minutes or less and 93% in 30 minutes
or less (clock-time).
Some reports run for several hours. We are review-
ing these long running jobs to identify ways to streamline

2003 AQS Conference
Jerry Husketh
The question to be answered
is: "When and where will the next AQS
Conference be?" After 'teaming up' to
determine where next and what will we
have to offer our clients, the AQS team
has begun looking at 3 cities for next
year's conference. These are Albu-
querque, San Antonio and Denver. Of
course, the next question is: "When is
the best time to hold a conference in
those cities?" In order to respect the
dates already announced by other EPA
conferences, (AIRNOW in San Anto-
nio in February and Toxics in late April
in San Diego) we need to consider ei-
ther early I
April OR
late May/
e a r 1 y [
Albuquerque would be great if
we continue to pursue the early April
dates we want. Observing Easter the
week of April 20 and the Jewish holi-
days celebrating Passover the week of
April 14, we are
focusing on the
first 2 weeks of
April. San An-
tonio, which en-
joys great spring
time and fall
weather but suf-
fers the same
high tempera-
tures as Albu-
querque would
also be a delightful setting in April.
Denver, on the other hand,
could present severe weather problems
in early April but May/June time
frames might be an awesome host city.
Contractual rules have to be considered
as well. We (the AQS team) are, as we
speak, discussing the rollout of the web
version of AQS and the associated RO
training we intend to hold. We want to
maximize the effectiveness of the con-
ference and realize timing and early
announcement play a big part in that.
For now, we are looking at early April
as our best guess.
I'm aware of the fiscal year
predicaments of many of our attendees
and plans for summer vacations have to
be honored as well, so... We will let
you know as soon as arrangements
have been made.
Any questions or comments
about the AQS Conference can be di-
rected to Jeny Husketh at (919) 541-
5449 or husketh.jerry@epa.gov.
Oracle Discoverer
Bonnie Johnson
Discovering the
Oracle Discoverer is the tool
for performing ad hoc queries against
the AQS database. IMG trained over
100 users at the AQS Conference ear-
lier this year to use this
tool. Many agencies
have the client/server
version of this software
and are using it now.
IMG just ob-
tained the latest version
of Discoverer included
with Oracle 9iAS and
will be beginning work on installing it
and setting it up for users. The good
news is that, according to our friends in
the NCC, the 9iAS Discoverer configu-
ration does not require a 9i database, so
its use is not dependent on any database
upgrades. (I.e., It should work with the
current 8.1.7 database.) The even bet-
ter news from the NCC is that there's
no charge for using Discoverer under
9iAS from a browser, whether a person
has a desktop version or not! We will
let you know as soon as this version is
available for general use.
Meanwhile, folks with a
copy of Discoverer 3.1 may con-
tinue to use it to query the AQ-
SPROD database. Configuration
information and the patch to ver-
sion 3.1.28 are posted on the
web site under the Frequently
Asked Questions page
(http ://www. epa. gov/ttn/airs/airsaci s/
faq/aasfaa discoverer.htm).

Looking for Raw Data on a National level?
Bonnie Johnson
Looking for Speciation or
PM 2.5 Data?
All registered AQS users may
use the AQS retrieval option to create
files of raw data, but the majority of
researchers and consultants, as well as
the general public, do not have this ac-
cess. We have created a web page with
links to numerous files of raw data to
satisfy this need. At present, files are
being posted as they are requested and
disk space is available.
Once all the frequently re-
quested files are created and provided
from this page, we plan to update the
last year of available data on a regular
basis. Understand that the files posted
are large text-based files that have been
zipped to reduce their file size.
Currently, the following data
files are posted:
•	CO (1970-2000)
•	N02 (1970-2000)
•	Ozone (1970-2001)
•	PM Speciation (2001)
•	PM2.5 (1990-2001)
•	PM10 (1980-2000)
•	S02 (1970-2000)
The formatting for the files
varies but is provided from the web
page. Users MUST be aware of the
dates when these data were retrieved.
Any updates made after that date are
obviously not included.
Please check out the page at http://
www. epa. gov/ttn/airs/airsaa s/archived
%20data/archivedaa sdata.htm or via
the link to "Request for Archived Data"
on the "home" page: http://www.epa.
gov/ttn/airs/airsaa s/index. htm.
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User Support - Notification of Outages and Performance Problems	Chuck I shell
A number of users have ex-
pressed an interest in being notified
when known problems prevent users
from logging onto AQS
and/or affect the perform-
ance of AQS. Currently,
the National Computer
Center (NCC) does not no-
tify the UNIX user commu-
nity (at large) or the AQS
user community when there
are outage problems. The
NCC=s position has been to rely on the
user to call the Technical Support Cen-
ter (a.k.a. Customer Call Center) for the
latest status information.
We are working with the
Technical Support Center (TSC), which
provides AQS user support, to establish
procedures for timely noti-
fication and status updates
of outage problems. Our
plan is for the TSC to send
an email to all AQS users
once an outage is identified,
and a follow-up email of
Jlj when the problem is re-
solved and AQS is back
online. For those problems (outages)
that do not have a quick solution, status
information (as it becomes available)
will be passed along via email. We
have begun testing the new notification
These procedures are not in-
tended to discourage users from calling
the TSC when they are experiencing
problems, but are intended to reduce
the usei-s burden of trying (and retry-
ing) to log onto AQS when there are
known outages. Most times, it is a
user=s phone call that alerts the TSC to
the fact that there is an outage.
For any questions about the
Technical Support Center please con-
tact Chuck Isbell at (919) 541-5448 or

Precision and Accuracy Data and PARS

Michael Hamlin
Users of AQS are able to up-
load precision and accuracy (p and a)
data into the system by one of several
Precision and Accuracy Re-
porting System (PARS): PARS is a
data entry program developed to ana-
lyze and format precision and accuracy
transactions that will be loaded into
AQS. P & A transactions can be manu-
ally or imported into PARS with the
capability of creating reports and ex-
porting the edited file to a specified
designation that can be FTP'd to AQS.
Users can download the PARS soft-
ware from the AOS website (www.coa.
eov/ttn/airs/airsaas/). Unfortunately.
PARS is not compatible with Windows
2000 so users with this operating sys-
tem will need to use another approach
Online Correct: An AQS
user can access the system and select
the heading entitled "Correct" on the
"Main Menu." When the drop down
menu appears on the screen, the user
should select either Accuracy or Preci-
sion. Upon selection of the data type
that is to be entered, a template will
appear on the screen. The user can
now populate the template with preci-
sion or accuracy data and click the
"Save" button that is under the heading
entitled "action". The user should now
go back to the "Main Menu" and select
the heading entitled "Batch." At this
time, the user should click on "Submit
corrected data" to actually put data in
Online Maintenance: An
AQS user can access the system and
select the heading entitled
"Maintenance" on the "Main Menu."
When the drop down menu appears on
the screen the user should select either
Accuracy or Precision. Upon selection
of the data type that is to be entered, a
template will appear on the screen.
The user can now populate the template
with precision or accuracy data and
click the "Save" button that is under the
heading entitled "Action." This will
save data in AQS. In the event the user
has several records for input, each re-
cord must be entered individually and
Other Methods: Users of
AQS have developed both spreadsheets
and databases which will create a for-
mat that is acceptable for precision and
accuracy transactions being loaded into
AQS. When an acceptable format is
achieved, the user can run the batch
process in order to put data into AQS.
Top Ten Items from the AQS Conference 2002

Jake Summers
User Recommendations from the AOS Conference - At the last AOS Conference in Louisville, users identi-
fied a number of improvements they would like to see in AQS. Our goal is to make as many of these changes within budget
and other constraints. Since the Conference, we have addressed some (though not all) of these recommendations. The table
below identifies what we have done with respect to each of the Top Ten Recommendations. We plan to provide a more
complete list in the next Newsletter.
Action so far
1. Provide all reports with a
useable text report file.
Text files are now available for:
AMP 350H-raw data-1 lir listing;
AMP350HP-raw data hourly
preproduction; and
AMP350NW-raw data NAAQS
Working on or in que:
AMP 350D-raw data-daily;
AMP 350MX-raw data max values;
AMP 430-data completeness;
These reports expected in December 2002.
Other reports will be scheduled based on frequent
use (e.g., AMP 450).
2. Need detailed explanation
of error codes. Error
messages are cryptic.
A number of error codes have been
Remaining error codes will be modified as they are
found or brought to our attention.
3. Need Quarterly standard
Quarterly quick look and
quarterly completeness
The completeness report currently can be
run by quarter or any other date range
selected. The initial system design limits
the quarterly summary statistics to arith-
metic mean, observations, and criteria flag.
These statistics are easy to list with
Will address new reports in 2003.

Top Ten Items from the AQS Conference 2002 continued Jake Summers

Action so far
4. Load, query and retrieve are
Cannot post raw data.
Large uploads and retrievals run slowly though
the majority of jobs run in less than 15 mins
(see article on pg 3).
-Several changes have been made to increase
-Load rates have improved.
-Reports are being optimized to improve speed
at the time they are being modified to provide
text files.
Post has been modified and works correctly.
We are looking at additional ways (e.g., a
dedicated server) to improve AQS speed.
AQS contractor is able to run AQS 2 x faster on
its server than it runs on EPA network so there
may be opportunities for improvement.
5. Cancel query button
sometimes exits user from
This problem should be fixed when AQS is
converted to a web application in Feb 2003.

6. Need mechanism to post
tips and alert all users ( not just
Regional Office) of system /
communication problems.
-Have established a new alert system to notify
all users when AQS is or is expected to be
off-line (see article on pg 5).
-AQS website lias list of frequently asked
questions (FAQs).
-AQS Newsletter can be used to discuss useful
tips and info.

7. Users want to
-(In browse) select/sort by date,
site, monitor and POC,
-Retrieve by RO,
-Retrieve by POC,
-Retrieve by monitor type on
all reports.
-Will address after web forms are in place Feb
-Retrieval by RO now available
-Retrieval by POC to be implemented when
reports are converted to text format (see #1).
-Retrieval by monitor type is in place for
reports, where valid.

8. Null data codes and
exceptional events flag
back to raw data.
The null data codes/exceptional event flags are
being added to the raw data reports as they are
being converted to text format (see #1).

9. Want a batch edit to make
global changes in Correct.
Want to see all errors listed
in Correct dialog box at
one time.
The current correct screen has always
permitted global changes.
As designed, the screen displays all messages
for one record at a time.
We need more specifics on this item.
10. Issues certifying
SLAMS reports, makeup
samples not appearing.
Data certification issues have been mostly
resolved. Precision and accuracy report
modified to provide summary data and raw
data. Procedures to handle makeup samples,
seasonal sampling frequency and minimum
detectable level have been corrected. New
software to implement seasonal sampling will
be distributed by mid-November 2002.
PM10 and PM2.5 summaries will be recom-
puted after the software distribution to process
seasonal sampling correctly. After these are
complete, summary data will be available for

page 8
What's on the WEB for AQS?
The Technology Transfer Network - Air Quality System
The TTN includes an area for AQS
primarily designed for technical
users of AQS. From this page:
http://www.epa. gov/ttn/airs/
airsacis, users can find the software
to use the AQS database. Look
here also for the AQS User Regis-
tration form, information about
upcoming training, information
about AQS Conferences, manuals
and other guidance. We are work-
ing to keep information at this area
up-to-date, so check it on a regular
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The "'Queries" section of the AirData area on the EPA web site provides data to the general public from AQS. This area
provides summary' data based on information in the AQS database on the EPA mainframe computer as of 12/19/01. A
"public" version of the new AQS database should be available sometime in 2003. When it is ready, the "Queries" will go
directly to that database and will provide current summary data.
^ PsOfr-
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Recent Additions I Contact Us I Print Version
EPA Home > Air & Radiation > AirData
Search: I
Reports and Maps
Monitor Data Queries
About AirData
How To Select...
AirData : Access to Air Pollution Data
~ HI 0
Reports and Mans Queries
How To
The AirData Web site gives you access to air pollution data for the entire
United States. Want to know the highest ozone level measured in your state
last year? Ever wonder where air pollution monitoring sites are located? Are
there sources of air pollution in your town? You can find out here! AirData
produces reports and maps of air pollution data based on criteria that you

** PPA Uniled SIoIds
V/Ll M Environmental Profetfiun Agency
Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards
Information Transfer and Program Integration Division
Information Management Group
Research Triangle Park, NC 27711
FAX: (919)541-7674
Jake Summers
(919) 541-5695
ontact U#
(Team Lead)
Summers .jake@epa. gov
Virginia Ambrose (Requests for Data)
(919) 541-5454 Ambrose.virginia@epa.gov
Current Number of Users by Region
page 9
Region 1 = 54 Users
Region 2 = 18 Users
Region 3 = 32 Users
Region 4 = 79 Users
Region 5 = 41 Users
Region 6 = 49 Users
Region 7 = 30 Users
Region 8 = 31 Users
Region 9 = 107 Users
Region 10 = 20 Users
OAQPS / Other Users = 96
Michael Hamlin
(PARS PC data entry and Security)
Bill Frietsche (Toxic Data and Documentation)
(919) 541-5232
919 541-5451

Bonnie Johnson
(Entering Data and using Discoverer

(919) 541-2469
Johnson.bonnie@epa. gov
Jerry Husketh (AQS Conference)

919 541-5449
Tami Laplante
(Registratioa Accounts & Screening Groups)
(919) 541-1915

Ed Lillis (Group Leader)
Mike Letke
(Training. Reports and Conversion to Web/CDX)
919 541-5587
(919) 541-0773
Letke .michael@epa. gov
Chuck Isbell
(User Support and Documentation)
Barbara Hale (Office Manager)
(919) 541-5448
Isbell. chuck®,epa. gov
919 541-5586

User Support - Expansion of AQS User Support Beyond 5 PM EDT	Chuck Isbell
Since the AQS Conference in Louisville, we have
been working with EPA=s National Technical Sendees Divi-
sion (NTSD) which runs the National Computer Center, to
extend the AQS user support function beyond 5 p.m. eastern
time. Currently, the hours for user support are 8:00 AM to
5:00 PM. Eastern Standard Time. Our plan is to provide level
2 and 3 AQS technical support for an additional one or two
hours beyond 5 p.m. eastern time.
A new contract has been awarded to DynCorp to re-
place Lockheed Martin as the facility contractor for the Na-
tional Computer Center. The Technical Support Center
(TSC), which provides AQS user support, will be staffed by
the new DynCorp contractor. It is our belief that DynCorp
will hire many of the Lockheed Martin staff to fill the posi-
tions within the new contract.
NTSD's recommendation is to wait until the transi-
tion from Lockheed Martin to the new contractor lias taken
effect (mid-November) before making the final decision on
the extension of AQS user support. Currently, we do not have
enough details about the new contract to know what specific
services and hours of support will be provided. We will in-
form you once a decision has been made concerning the ex-
tension of user support beyond 5 p.m.
i K m 11 m Hiirf*7
Level I Support: (from left to right)
Jainaba Jeng, Cynthia Scearce, Troy
Paylor, Sirena Hardy, Rosetta Jones |
Level II Support: (from left to right)
Milton Kicklighter, Donna FoIIman,
Ed Peckham, Pamela Mclntyre, Tom