Introduction to Water Data for the Nation's Next Generation Monitoring

Video Transcript
Download Video
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

En Español

Water Data for the Nation (WDFN) is the new Nation Water Information System (NWIS). WDFN's Next Generation monitoring location pages are the first area of modernization of the legacy NWISWeb system. Watch this video to learn more about WDFN and the transition to the modern data delivery system.
Follow USGS Water Resources Mission Area on social media:

Visit our blog at Email us at Stay tuned for future videos about this modernization effort!


Date Taken:

Length: 00:07:00

Location Taken: US


USGS has multiple  mission areas, and the Water

Resources Mission Area  is one of them. That's us!

In the water mission area,  we focus on -you guessed it-

water resources. 

And we've been sharing 

our water data on  the Web for decades.

But our original system  became outdated.

So we created Water Data  for the Nation for the modern

display of our water data,  delivering open access water

data, products, and services.

And WDFN provides  the same high quality

water information  that USGS has always provided,

but now in a more  discoverable, accessible

and usable format,

which we accomplish using  three pillars of practice.

Our work with WDFN  is user centered.

We connect with our users  where they're at,

from internal USGS users,  to cooperators, to the engaged

average citizen. 

We're also transparent. 

We are using best practices  for software engineering, open

code repositories and open  source tooling where we can.

We make our change-log visible  and we publish blogs,

providing updates  on our technology.

Finally, we are dynamic 

and the products  we're creating are too. 

We accomplish iterative 

development using agile  product workflows.

The products will evolve  with changing technologies,

just like most of  the websites you visit do.

But before Water  Data for the Nation, 

we displayed our water data 

on the Web interface  of the National Water

Information System,  also known as NWISWeb.

And this is a part 

of NWISWeb, known  as a legacy real-time page.

These pages have been around  since the 1990s, providing

crucial data on water  conditions for sites

nationwide, like stream  discharge and gage height.

Don't know what gage height  is? Check out our blog

post on the Water Data  for the Nation blog.

These legacy pages  have been around for 25 years,

and they were groundbreaking 

in their day, but  they have too many problems.

The legacy pages  have not kept up 

with advancements in Web  browser technology,

making them outdated. 

They're 25 years old  and their underlying code base

and page design make  necessary updates impossible.

The pages have poor usability  with novice users

who find the legacy pages  challenging and unintuitive.

Finally, we have seen  an overall decline

in user satisfaction  over the last 10 years.

We've received feedback  over these years 

regarding NWISWeb's legacy  real-time pages,

which helps us better  understand our users' needs

so we can meet them  where they're at. 

Users have said things 

like "a renovated website  with a modern look

and feel could truly  showcase the data." 

And "it's somewhat  difficult and time consuming

to find relevant gages."  Email us at

to let us know your thoughts.

At USGS, we want to stay  modern with our data delivery,

so we needed to make new pages  known as Next Generation

Monitoring Location pages, 

which are hosted  by Water Data for the Nation.

We want to meet users  where they're at, 

but we know most users 

access these pages 

on mobile devices, so we made  NextGen pages mobile-first.

We also know users 

want the information 

they prioritize at  the top of the page,

so we made NextGen 

pages data-first, putting a  single hydrograph at the top.

Finally, we want these pages  to have a modern flow

with easily accessible data, 

so we brought common  navigation and feature

patterns into our technology, 

making pages intuitive to use.

So we're going from  this... to this.

Notice the text and link  on the legacy pages,

which encourages traffic  to move to the NextGen pages.

This is a closer 

look at a next generation  monitoring location page.

These pages are the first area  of modernization,

and were chosen to  be modernized first 

because our legacy real time  pages are the destination

for more than 90 percent  of all visitors to the NWISWeb

system. These water  data pages are popular,

so we took two years to ensure

lots of time for buildout 

and testing of the  new, Next Generation

monitoring location pages. 

NextGen pages are  fully accessible now

as of September 2021. 

We're encouraging traffic 

to be directed to  the NextGen pages 

over NWISWeb's legacy pages,  and NextGen pages

will be linked to  from other USGS websites.

Search engines will prioritize  NextGen pages over legacy

pages in search results.

Legacy pages will be on a path 

to being turned off entirely,  and in March of 2022,

the legacy real-time pages 

will be redirected  to NextGen pages,

but you can still get to 

the legacy real-time 

pages with one click,  if you need them.

In January 2023,  legacy real-time pages

will be fully decommissioned  and no longer available.

There are lots of  other legacy pages 

that will still be around 

for a while longer, 

but in January 2023,  there will be no more legacy

real-time pages. It's 

important to us that 

public users can access 

the data that they need  to make decisions. 

Many members of the public  use WDFN to make

recreational decisions  for boating and fishing

and appreciate the usability  of our new pages.

One user says the new site  with grayed watershed

areas is awesome, 

and our overall feedback  so far is that novice users

find the NextGen pages  much more user friendly.

User feedback has been  a huge part of our process,

so it's wonderful when we hear  from people just like you.

Send us an email  at You

might be wondering, 

but what about all  the stuff that I can do 

on the legacy pages 

that I don't see  on the NextGen pages yet?

Stay tuned for future videos,  which will cover

how to use the NextGen pages, 

the continuing features  from legacy pages,

the all new features  on NextGen pages, and

the features we plan to add  to NextGen pages over time.

Thank you for watching! Help

us help you. How  do you like the NextGen

monitoring location pages? 

Would you or someone 

you know be willing  to be a user tester? 

Overall, how do you think we're  doing on communication? Let us know.

Click the link in 

the description of  this video to answer 

a few short questions. 

We want to hear from you. And  connect with us on

Twitter and Instagram. 

Email us at

And stay tuned into  our blog for updates. 

Links to everything are in the description of this video.