Skip Navigation
USGS - science for a changing world

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Documentation of the U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Measurement Database

image of next button.Go to online Time-Series Database

File Naming Conventions

The file names in this database were initially developed as platform identifiers, but as experiments and sensors became more complex, more information has been encoded in the name. Every tripod or mooring deployed by the WHSC is assigned a three-digit ID number, which becomes the root (first three digits) of the file name. The position of the sensor or instrument making the measurements becomes the fourth digit, where 1 is the uppermost, incrementing to the largest value assigned to the instrument nearest the seafloor. The subsequent characters describe instrument type, processing level, and in some cases, averaging interval. Thus a file named 7464sc-a.nc contains data collected from the fourth instrument from the top of platform 746. The sc shows the instrument acquiring the data was a SeaCAT, and contains temperature and conductivity data at minimum. The -a and .nc suffix both indicate the file is Best Basic Version (BBV). Precursor or provisional files often have the .cdf suffix, as do some of the oldest BBV files. Because the mooring and tripod ID number assignment is sequential, the file name indicates relative age-- files beginning with 746 are more recent that those starting with 451.

The naming convention used for files in this database is diagrammed in table 2. Colors are used to help associate the fields with the possible codes and their descriptions. This nomenclature system has been used consistently for the last decade. The earliest files in the database may not have all the sections, because fewer instrument types and processing options were available when they were created. For instance, the oldest files may have no instrument type identifier in the name. The instrument identifiers in this example are a subset of those most commonly found;a more complete list is shown in Appendix 1.

Table 2. Nomenclature summary using 7464sc-a.nc (Click here for table 2 in Excel format or PDF format.)

Mooring ID Relative position on platform Instrument Identifier Sampling Scheme (optional) Data Type (optional) Version File Extension
746 First three digits identify a unique mooring or tripod number.
  4 relative position, where 1 is the top instrument
    pt pressure - temperature logger
    adc T-RDI ADCP water flow
    wh T-RDI ADCP water flow data (older name)
    adv Sontek ADV and associated sensors
    pca Sontek PCADP and accessory sensors
    abs Acoustic Backscatter Sensor
    bt Brancker temperature logger
    mc MicroCat temperature and salinity logger
    sc Seacat temperature and salinity logger
    att Transmissometer
    rcm Aanderraa current meter
      1 First sampling scheme when multiple schemes are used
      2 Second sampling scheme when multiple scheme are used
        b Burst data (for instruments with burst and statistics files)
        s Statistics of the bursts (for instruments with burst data)
          -a USGS best basic version
          -a1h Hour averaged best basic version
          -cal provisional
            .nc netCDF file extension
            .cdf netCDF file extension
image of next button.Return to Top   image of next button.Go to Next Topic

Adobe Reader To view files in PDF format, download free copy of Adobe Reader.

Skip Navigation

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USAGov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

URL: woodshole.er.usgs.gov/pubs/of2007-1194/html/filenaming.html
Page Contact Information: WHSC Webmaster
This page last modified on Thursday, 12-Feb-2009 13:04:55 EST