The Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard: Cross-Center Collaboration Brings Real-time, USGS Water Data to the Gulf Coast through a Spatially Enabled Mapping Application

Science Center Objects

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. The objective of this effort is to expand the Texas Water Dashboard platform to include the coastal regions of the five Gulf states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Now, the power of the original interface design can be accessed by users across the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard Covers Five Coastal States

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard Covers Five Coastal States: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida

The Science Issue and Relevance: For decades, the USGS has collected, assessed, and shared surface water observations of rivers and waterways across our Nation. In 2001 these data, which were previously only available as hard copy reports, have been made available through the National Water Information System (NWISWeb), a very robust, public-facing web service. Recently, the Texas Water Science Center released the Texas Water Dashboard, illustrating how good user interface design combined with publicly accessible, long-term, high-quality, real-time data, can help the public connect with USGS data in a new and informative format. 

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. The objective of this effort is to expand the Texas Water Dashboard platform to include the coastal regions of the five Gulf states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Now, the power of the original interface design can be accessed by users across the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard USGS Obsservation Stations

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard USGS Obsservation Stations

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: This project highlights all the coastal NWIS surface water stations serving the Gulf states as points on an interactive, responsive web mapping application. The user interface (UI) has two main components: an interactive map and a modular, collapsible table of contents/layer control (TOC/LC). Strategically placed controls on the map allow user access to various basemaps, an overview map for spatial context, spatial searching for items of personal interest such as an address, and industry standard map controls like zoom and pan. The collapsible TOC/LC guides the user to many mapping options in several categories. The USGS Observation Stations category includes stream gages, lakes, wells and precipitation. The Weather Conditions category includes radar, past and forecast precipitation and cloud cover. The Hazards and Hydrology categories includes storm watches and watersheds, respectively.

One very interesting feature of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard is the use of historic station data to rank the current condition. In the USGS Observation Stations category, the stream gauges are statistically ranked and are placed in categories which are based on the percentile of existing streamflow records. These rankings are color coded to allow a user to quickly determine if a station is at an all-time low, high or normal compared to past observations.

Future Steps: This collaboration hopes to see expansion of the Dashboard to include relevant data layers from other USGS Mission Areas (i.e., Climate and Land Use Change, Ecosystems, Energy and Minerals, Environmental Health, and Natural Hazards).

Click the website link to the Gulf of Mexico Dashboard: https://gom.usgs.gov/gwd/

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard Real-time Stream Data with Live Storm Radar

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard Real-time Stream Data with Live Storm Radar