Plan data

Create and re-use data Structures, Variables, Units

  • Ensure consistency across datasets
  • Reduce redundancy

Prior to uploading a dataset, the data structure has to be defined in order to have a template for the upload process.
Defined data structures can be used and should be used multiple times for long term data.
This prevents that the same variable is defined several times with different names and units.

Manage Data Structure

A Data Structure contains one or more Variables.
Each Variable is defined by its Data Type, a Unit, and a unique name.

Create Data Structure

You can create new variables by clicking the “Create Variable Template”.
More related to the variable template, please check the page “Variable Template“.

Select variable from the system

If there are already variable in the system, you can click the orange arrow from left to the right panel. e.g., here I select “group_mono” and “biomass” in our data structure “biomass_dBEFMono”.

! You should already try to select the variable (with the same meaning) from the system first, to reduce redundancy and increase the search power.

Variable Name

Here you can change the variable name according to the data file you have, e.g. “biomass” variable can be changed to “mass”,”weight”,”BM_grass”,”BM_herb” etc.


You should pay attention to the variable units, e.g. for the biomass data, is it gram per square meters or kilogram per square meters? If there are no units that you needed, you can create unite by clicking “Manage Units“.

Describe the variables and missing values

The default missing value for the numeric variables is NA; Here you can also define “None”, “NULL”, or “missing” etc as missing values

The description and defining NA are important

Aftering finishing the data structure, and go back to the main panel, you can edit/check data structure here.
! Once it’s used in a dataset, the data structure can’t be changed anymore.
You can only add/change the variable descriptions.

You can check the data structure by click the arrow next to the data structure name