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The Quest for Quest Data Continues

We have good news and not so good news…

The good news is that the account and payment issues have all been resolved. Quest’s transmitter data is now being paid directly through an account set up by the Genesee Valley Audubon Society instead of the DEC.

The not so good news is that getting the emails restored is going to take a couple more weeks. This is a little complicated, so bear with me… It seems that during the transition from the DEC’s account to GVAS, the daily emails containing the tracking data were discontinued. Even though GVAS is paying the bills for Quest’s data directly, her transmitter still falls under the New York DEC’s satellite tracking program. For whatever reason the folks who process the satellite data will only accept a request to resume the emails from the program manager.

So what’s the bad news, you say? Well, it turns out that the program manager is out of the country, and he won’t be back until the middle of the month. We’ve contacted the DEC to see if they can get in touch with him but they have not been able to do so. That means, unfortunately, that we’re stuck until his return.

Its frustrating news to be sure. Now’s the time when we can expect Quest to be on the move. We’ve all grown accustomed to being able to see where she’s going, and this six-week blackout is tough to take. Be that as it may, we appreciate everyone continuing to be patient, and we hope you’ll accept our apology for all of the delays and confusion.

UPDATE: As seems to be the norm in this situation, we’re getting information in bits and bites. After more communication with the ARGOS folks, it appears that the DEC program manager didn’t explicitly request the emails be stopped (as we previously reported), but as a consequence of making the account changes, that’s how the instructions were interpreted. So it appears the DEC may not have been at the heart of the problem (though we’ve had 5 weeks without email, which presumably should have caught someone’s attention in Albany). However, nothing in our reporting on this issue should be construed as assigning blame or pointing fingers. All the evidence is that this was an honest misunderstanding, nothing more. For now we are in the unwanted position of waiting for a solution.

We’re not idle though. June Summers continues to be in contact with the DEC and the satellite data folks. We have provided them with the original emails from the DEC to GVAS, which spell out the actual intent of the account switching. The satellite data people have also let us know they’re reviewing the information, and we’re cautiously hopeful that we might be able to get data flowing sooner rather than later. So stay tuned, and Specto Subitus!


16 Responses to “The Quest for Quest Data Continues”

  1. ei Says:

    OK…I’ll ask the question…do we know if there’s data to get? I’ll live with a blackout, my biggest concern is knowing if Quest is OK somewhere, even if we don’t know where just yet.

    Secondary question…will we be able to get the historical data once the dratted bureaucracy gets their act together?


  2. Shaky Says:

    And of course there is no guarantee that the blackout will only be 6 weeks. After all, it is highly doubtful that the first thing the program manager will do when he returns from wherever it is on Earth that he cannot be reached would be for him to contact the folks who process the satellite data. Nor would it be the second or third thing he would do.

    Eight weeks if were lucky.

  3. jeanne Says:

    So if this person ever catches the flu or is incapacitated, does the DEC fold? Our state in action

  4. Maureen in MA Says:

    Exactly @jeanne! As someone who works with business risk every day, sounds like the DEC has some in the form of no satisfactory backup coverage. 😮 Let’s hope this person doesn’t get H1N1 in whatever part of the world he is in.

  5. Maureen in MA Says:

    p.s. Thank you for the update, Jess. Appreciate your efforts as always, along with everyone else reporting on this site!

  6. Pam Says:

    New York State bureaucracy in action!!

  7. Alison in Indiana Says:

    What NY bureaucracy? – ARGOS (“the folks who process the satellite data”) is the one saying that it will not resume e-mails even if they are being paid to send them by the folks receiving them! Maybe we should bombard them with complaints from the public that the data paid for is not being sent:

    In any case, Jess, you and the team have nothing to apologize for.

  8. Gail Says:

    Please tell me that this program manager has a supervisor. And that this supervisor can make an executive decision all on their own to re-establish your email connection.

    Yeesh! At the very least they should pro-rate your $$!

  9. Jess Says:

    @ei – That’s one of the unknowns. There’s no way for us to know whether Quest’s transmitter is still active, though presumably ARGOS could check for us. Given the current level of activity though we have enough on our plate just getting the emails restored so we’ll have to wait and see. Regarding the historical data, we assume that the ARGOS data are being stored, and that once the emails resume we’ll get all the backlog sent to us. That has happened in the past when email transmissions were held up for a few days due to technical problems. Once the emails started flowing again we got all the backlogged info sent to us.

    @Alison- Though we refer to the ARGOS folks, ARGOS does not actually send us the data. I apologize for the confusion on this issue. In fact, ARGOS contracts with a third party to deal with account holders, including providing data feeds via email. So letters/nastygrams/etc. to ARGOS will NOT be helpful, however frustrating this may be. Everyone can be assured that both GVAS and the DEC are working with the satellite information folks (the name of which we are purposefullly not publishing) to get the emails flowing again as soon as possible. Check my update for more details.

    @All- I’m no fan of bureaucracies either, but as I posted in my update, the DEC isn’t to blame here. From all appearances this seems to be a simple case of miscommunication. So perhaps we ought to cut them some slack.

    As to the issue of backup authority for the satellite tracking program, I agree that there should be one, but I can speak from personal experience in the business world that resources aren’t always available to provide backups for every program/project. We don’t know how high up on the DEC’s list of priorities the satellite data program is. If it’s not considered a priority program, then maybe they’ve made a conscious decision to accept the risk associated with having only one person with the authority to make changes. The satellite tracking folks have been working with us and the DEC all along so we have some hope that we can get a resolution before the program manager’s return, but if not we’ll just need to be patient.

  10. Maureen in MA Says:

    Sounds like there is a good team of people all working to resolve this from all of the acronym listed groups. Thank you to everyone and their efforts!

  11. Alison in Indiana Says:

    “Everyone can be assured that both GVAS and the DEC are working with the satellite information folks”

    I would be comforted to know that the ARGOS folks were also working on it… They are really public servants.

  12. Barb Says:

    I just want to know she is alive and well!

  13. chrissy Says:

    Let’s just hope this gets sorted out before her harness wears off. . . . Specto Stupidus!

  14. Maureen in MA Says:

    I had that same thought about her harness…..

  15. Alison in Indiana Says:

    Well, IF this group has been collecting data and IF they are able to find it and IF they actually send it to GVAS who can post it, then we will at least know where Quest was up until her harness separated from her, should that be the case.

  16. John Carlos Says:

    Aren’t those harnesses designed to last for at least two years???

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