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Getting Started with FieldDoc Algorithms
Getting Started with FieldDoc Algorithms

Learn more about how we define an algorithm and how they power automated metrics in FieldDoc

John Dawes avatar
Written by John Dawes
Updated over a week ago


In FieldDoc you've probably noticed some metrics that automatically populate useful information based on your inputs.  For example, if you use FieldDoc to track a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Grant and enter metric inputs for any of the stream restoration practices, they will automatically calculate nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment load reductions based on your entries.  

All of the magic happening behind the scenes is thanks to our platform's ability to quickly stand up customized algorithms provided by our partners and implemented by our development team.

We define an algorithm as follows:

A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

Using the Maryland Department of Natural Resources example, they understand the fundamental set of user inputs and math required to turn their grantee data into calculated load reductions.  This greatly benefits our users because it means we can automate important metric information about their project without grantees needing to know exactly how to calculate complex metrics such as pounds of nutrients reduced. Instead, grantees and applicants simply enter project information and our algorithm handles the rest.  

How do I know what practices and metrics are tied to an algorithm and which ones are not?

There are a few quick and easy ways to know if the practice and its respective metrics are tied to an algorithm developed by one of our partners.  

First, on all metric summary pages, metrics tied to an algorithm will appear on top. You will also be able to see a handy block of text linking you to algorithm's detail page where you can get more information about the assumptions, how it was developed, who created it, and the practices it encompasses.

Second, if you click on any metric on the metric summary views for projects, sites, or dashboards, you will also see a popup that will reference the algorithm running behind the scenes.  

To get more information on how algorithm's run and the assumptions built into each model, check out Models section  can check out our Models and Algorithms section of our help docs.

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