Though hardware and software technologies have improved dramatically, the ecological community continues to be very slow to integrate technological change. Factors such as budgetary constraints, resistance to change, the availability of individual data management alternatives (i.e. Microsoft Excel), and network interconnectivity combine to form a barrier to entry for many institutions.
In order to address the larger issues of data integrity such as raw data preservation, data entropy, data access and distribution, and inter-project data comparisons, it is incumbent upon project and data managers to implement scalable architectures to manage collection, centralization, processing, archiving, and reporting capabilities before data collection begins.
To manage these processes, Flathead Lake Biological Station has created the FLBS Ecodata Portal, an interface to a scalable back-end architecture and data management structure capable of ensuring that distributed data is centralized and processed before data or metadata is lost or simply forgotten.
Researchers enter, display and update data through an access-controlled collaborative web portal.