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Anna C Birely

How to represent missing values?

How should missing data points be represented? For example, some strain gauges saturate near the end of the experiment and the data is useless. Doing data analysis in Matlab, these values are represented as NaN (Not a Number) as this skips the value when plotting. Is NaN a valid value for archiving the data on the project warehouse (including for successful use of the data for inDEED) or should the value be left blank? Zero is not a reasonable option as it is a value that means something.

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    Enrique Villalobos


    If in the CSV file you leave empty records or write a text instead of a number then inDEED will not plot these records (there will be holes in the plot or the plot will stop where the last record is). There is currently a new Specimen Authoring feature in testing stage that is related to this, here is a description of the change “There is now an editor to designate outliers from one or more sensors. The user can sweep out a region or erase specific points. The designated outliers are highlighted in the editor. When the editor is closed the designated outliers are treated as holes in data and not displayed in the graphs.”

    Enrique Villalobos NEES Grad Student

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    Stanislav Pejša

    Anna, If NaN is the value in the unprocessed data, please leave it in the file. You can also remove that value or change it into something else, e.g. 0, but then the dataset should be uploaded to Corrected_Data.

    Sometimes, the appearance of NaN may indicate an issue in setting the configuration parameters of the DAQ system, at least the system can be set up in such a way that the output is more meaningful, not NaN.

    Standa Pejša, NEES Data Curator

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