NK Tools for Model Results

Have you ever wondered why some things are the way they are? Why do cars have four wheels? Why are the letters of a keyboard laid out the way they are? Why do men’s shirts and women’s blouses button on different sides? There is an actual explanation for each of these, but, in general, it was decided, for better or for worse, and that has been the way it has stayed. We all got used it.

For any kind of tool, there are rules to follow or else the tool will not work, or will not work as intended. Someone decided what those rules were going to be and we follow them. The same is true of the NK Tools. There are certain rules to follow. Let’s go over them.

The NK Tools themselves (for model input, BPIPPRM input, and model results) are very easy to use but they aren’t that useful by themselves alone. The Access database file that accompanies the tools really does all the work for you. For the database to work properly and give you the proper result, there are a few things to know and a few rules to follow.

Before you read the remainder of this article, it is highly recommended you download the NK Tools and associated supporting files, which includes an Access database file. If you choose not to, most of the remaining article will not make much sense. To know where to go to download everything you need, send an email to [email protected] to make a request. We will send you the link.

The Tables

The tables that come along with the companion database file can be placed into four categories:
• Data import tables
• Working data tables
• Lookup tables
• Project data tables

Data Import Tables

The data import tables house the data that the NK Tools have processed/compiled. They act as a staging area for new data. The main function of the NK Tools is to combine all of the model data into as few files are necessary. Reviewing one file is a whole lot easier than reviewing dozens or hundreds. The data import tables have already been created for you, as well as, the data import specifications, which contain the mapping of data from the data files created by the tool and to the database tables that will store the data.

These tables are:
• AERMODInput – stores data from ALL processed AERMOD input files, AERMAP input files, and AERMAP output files
• BPIPPRMInput – stores data from BPIPPRM input files
• AERMODOutput_PLT – stores data from ALL processed AERMOD PLOTFILEs
• AERMODOutput_MAX – stores data from ALL processed AERMOD MAXIFILEs

These tables have already been created for the user. You need only point the imported data file to the correct table. If there are any problems with the data or its formatting, this is where they would be caught.

Working Data Tables

The working data tables house the data that the analysis queries use. These tables are:
• tblAllAermodInput – contains ALL data contained in ALL processed AERMOD input files, AERMAP input files, and AERMAP output files
• tblBPIPPRMInput – contains ALL data contained in ALL processed BPIPPRM input files
• tblAERMOD_PLOTFILE – contains data from ALL processed AERMOD PLOTFILEs
• tblAERMOD_MAXIFILE – contains data from ALL processed AERMOD MAXIFILEs

There are queries in the database to insert data from the data import tables to the proper working data tables.

Lookup Tables

The lookup data tables contain standardized data that assist in the analysis queries. These tables are:
• tblAirContaminants – standardize list of air contaminants. Contains federally regulated pollutants and air toxics
• tblAirStandards – standardized list of air quality standards or guidelines. These include the federal NAAQS and state standards and guidelines. If you are a state regulator, please contact us so standards for your state can be included.
• tblFileTypes – standardized list of file types (e.g. AERMOD model input, PLOTFILE, MAXIFLE, etc.)
• tblAveragingTimes – standardized list of averaging times associated with air quality standards, model input files, and model output files

As new data become available, these tables will be updated by NaviKnow.

Project Data Tables

The Project data tables house the data specific to the project you are working on. The user will have to enter a portion of the data required for the queries to provide a usable answer. Most of the data, though, is contained in the files that have been processed, so not all of it has to be re-entered. There are only four such tables.
• tblEPN_Source – contains the correlation of source IDs in the modeling files to EPNs, the emission source identifiers contained in the air quality permit application. The source IDs can be returned from a query of the input file data.
• tblScenarios – contains the name of modeling scenarios represented in the modeling analysis.
• tblFiles – contains the names of all the model input and result files (PLOTFILE and MAXIFILE). Also, contains the air quality standard and modeling scenario associated with each file. The input file names can be returned from a query of the input file data and the result file names can be returned from a query of the output file data. The user will have to furnish the proper air quality standards for each file. There is a drop down list to choose values from, so there is no need to manually enter the values. The values MUST match the values in tblAirStandards.
• tblMonitoredBackground – contains a listing of monitored background concentrations by air quality standard for those air contaminants that are applicable.

The Result Queries

Once all the data for the project have been imported or entered, then the result queries can be executed with a click. One click to provide one summarizing table of dozens to hundreds files. Just one!


The goal of using the NK Tools is to simplify and automate the review process of an air quality analysis. There are a few added pieces, such as the database, but the complication and tedium of having to go through dozens or hundreds of files has been eliminated. Also, the risk of missing any errors or omissions is significantly reduced. If you are going have to defend the correctness of someone else’s work in a courtroom setting or similar environment, don’t you want to be sure your review has been complete and thorough? The NK Tools provide that certainty.

If you don’t have the tools, ask for them now by emailing a request to [email protected].

If you found this article informative, there is more helpful and actionable information for you. Go to http://learn.naviknow.com to see a list of past webinar mini-courses. Every Wednesday (Webinar Wednesday), NaviKnow is offering FREE webinar mini-courses on topics related to air quality dispersion modeling and air quality permitting. We also have articles air quality issues at http://naviknow.com/news. If you want to be on our email list, drop me a line at [email protected].

One of the goals of NaviKnow is to create an air quality professional community to share ideas and helpful hints like those covered in this article. So if you found this article helpful, please share with a colleague.