Public Webinar — Modernizing How You Access Water Data

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Detailed Description

We had an amazing turnout for our public webinar on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 – 450 total attendees!

In this 1-hour recorded webinar, you'll hear
Key background info about USGS #WaterData modernization
A #LiveDemo of the Next Generation Monitoring Location Pages
An insider peek at our development process
Questions from the audience that we answered live

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.

Share your thoughts with us. #WeHearYou

Follow USGS Water Resources Mission Area on social media:

Check out the Water Data for the Nation blog for updates:

Have more questions that weren't answered in this webinar? Want to be a user-tester? Send us an email!


Date Taken:

Length: 01:00:52

Location Taken: US


Good morning and  good afternoon, everyone.

Welcome to the Water Data  for the Nation webinar

on modernizing how you access

water data. Thank you  for joining us today.

First, we're going to go ahead  and start with a live poll.

In today's webinar, 

we'll be talking about  how here at USGS,

we are modernizing  the way you access water data.

Throughout the webinar, 

we encourage you  to submit questions 

as we will answer them in the  second half of the webinar.

If we are unable  to get to your question 

during this webinar today, 

please send us an email  at

Today's webinar is being recorded  and the recording will be available

on our website and on the USGS  YouTube channel.

First, let's start  with a live poll.

You can engage with this 

live poll by taking the photo  of the QR code on the screen

or by going to

and entering the code WDFN.

We're going to hang out here  for a few minutes as we see

results come in live. 

It looks like we're having  people from all over.

We have a little less  than three hundred 

and fifty attendees right now. 

Thank you for joining  and thank you for 

participating in the poll. 

Lots of people from Colorado, 

some people from Virginia. 

I saw Washington, D.C. 

at the very beginning. 

Ohio, Georgia, Idaho.

All over! Wonderful. 

Thank you. Mount

Airy, Maryland. I'm  in Baltimore, Maryland.

Wonderful. All right.

You can keep responding 

to the poll, but  we're going to move on

and have our first  panelist present. 

I welcome Emily Read, chief  of the Web communications

branch in the Water Resources  Mission Area of USGS.

Emily will share some  background information 

with us about the current data 

delivery and our  modernized approach.

Take it away, Emily. 

Thanks, Nicole. So USGS

is modernizing the way  that you access water data.

And we're going to  tell you all about that. 

But before we discuss  what the future holds,

we need to look at  where we're at now. 

So first, let me  introduce myself.

Hi, I'm Emily Read. 

I'm the chief of  the Web communications 

branch in USGS water. 

I'm based in Madison,  Wisconsin., and I 

use the pronouns she/ her. 

The 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  USGS has always provided.

But now in a more  discoverable, accessible,

and usable format. 

We're grateful to  our awesome team

that makes water data  for the nation possible.

We're comprised of  software developers,

technologists, scientists,  communications staff,

operations and infrastructure  experts and product owners.

Our team is proud  of this modernization effort

because it increases 

the visibility and access  of all USGS water data.

Our common goal is  to provide the public 

with accessible modern Water  Data for the Nation.

The work we produce for Water  Data for the Nation

is user-centered. 

We connect with our users  where they're at,

from internal USGS users  to cooperators to the engaged

average citizen. 

We use human-centered design  to drive development.

Do you want to be  a part of user testing? 

Send us an email at and let us know.

We're also transparent. 

We're using best practices  for software engineering,

and you can check out our code  repositories on GitHub.

We also regularly 

publish blogs, providing  updates on our technology.

And finally, we are dynamic  and the products

we're creating are, too. 

Because we use an iterative  development process,

our products will evolve 

with changing technologies, 

just like most of  the websites you visit do.

Another panelist 

in today's webinar 

will be showing you just  how dynamic our pages are.

But before we created  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 it  NWISWeb, known as the legacy

Real-Time Current  Conditions page. 

These pages have been around  since the 1990s, providing

crucial data on water conditions  for sites nationwide like stream discharge

and gage height. 

These legacy pages 

have been around 

for 25 years, and they were  groundbreaking in their day,

But they've become outdated  and difficult to enhance,

so they're not user-friendly.

And we want to fix  that, so we made the new pages

mobile-first, data-first  and intuitive to use.

And in order to do that,  we needed to go from this...

to this, which is

a next generation  monitoring location page.

It's like we're remodeling  our house while we're

still living in it. 

We started with our most 

prominent and visible room, 

the one that receives over  90 percent of our visitors.

But in the coming years, 

we'll be remodeling  other rooms, too,

and we'll do this all while  still living in the house.

So we will be making our plans  carefully to avoid

unnecessary dust  and loud disruptions.

We want to say thank you  to our cooperators,

an important user group 

who helpmake our water  monitoring networks possible.

We've heard from you  that you rely on certain

functionality of legacy pages 

that is not currently  available on NexGen pages.

So to help meet your needs,  USGS water is working to

gather more information 

on what those needs are  and how we can meet them.

Let's stay in touch  during this process. 

Send us an email  at

Watch our blog for updates 

and talk to your Water 

Science Center point of 

contact. We're talking  directly with them, too.

You can also use  flags on the pages 

themselves to discover  new content and features.

We use the beta tag,  which is shown in orange here

to point users to new features 

that have been recently  added or are still

considered experimental. 

Currently, the beta tag still  appears on the NextGen pages,

but it will be removed soon. 

You may be wondering,  "what else is changing?"

For now, the next generation 

monitoring location  pages are the first major

component of NWISWeb  to be modernized.

And that's why you're hearing  about it from us now.

In the coming months 

and years, other  parts of NWISWeb and 

water services will also 

be modernized and the legacy  components decommissioned.

Visit our blog to hear from us  about specifics as our

development plans unfold.

But when are these  changes happening 

for the NextGen pages? 

Right now, NextGen monitoring  location pages are ready

for widespread use. 

Soon, they will no longer 

have the beta tag  that they have now. 

Your Web browser bookmarks  for legacy pages will

redirect you to NextGen pages  in March of 2022.

If there are features you need 

that are exclusive  to legacy pages, 

we're here to reassure you  that you will still be able

to access legacy pages  until January of 2023.

You'll be able to easily 

access legacy pages 

with the click of one link, 

which will be at the top  of NextGen pages.

Then in January of 2023,  the legacy real-time

data pages will be fully 

decommissioned and no longer  available to access.

Now I'm going to turn it back  to our facilitator, Nicole,

where she'll share  another live poll with you.

Thank you, Emily. 

I failed to introduce 

myself earlier. My name is 

Nicole Felts, and I'm leading 

the communications  for WMA at USGS.

Let's take a look at the  results from our poll earlier.

Many people joined  from all over the country.

And now I'd like to move  forward and take a look at

our next poll: "what  do you use water

data for?" The link for  the poll is in the chat.

You can also join the poll  by going to

and using the code WDFN.

Let's hang out here  for a second and take a look 

at results as they come in. 

The great thing about Slido  is that you, as a participant,

as an anonymous participant, 

can see the results 

of other people and sort  of up-vote them.

So as we can see this word  cloud has a few people

that are responding 

with recreation.  And then there are 

lots of other diverse  responses as well.

We'll be sharing these results  on our social media

after the event.

Sounds like a lot  of people use our

water data for analyses...

like, monitoring streamflow,  modeling, some recreation...

We know many people 

use the information to make  decisions about recreation,

like kayaking and hiking. 

Flood forecasting. 

Of course, science  and water management.

That's wonderful. 

Participants are welcome  to continue putting

in responses to these polls.

And now we'll move to  our next panelist.

We'll hear from Brad Garner, 

a member of the product owner  team in Water Mission Area.

Brad is going to give us a  live demo of the NextGen pages

and we'll get an inside peek  at our development process.

Brad, take it away. 

Thank you, Nicole.

Give everything just a second  to catch up here.

So just while I wait  for the screen to catch up, 

just to give all of you  a little bit of introduction,

I really like this  metaphor of the room

that's changing. Here we go.

We're going one room at a time  through our house.

So what I'm going  to show you here 

now is one of the new rooms,

right? This is a new  monitoring location page.

And we have a lot  of new features here.

But the focus is on current  condition, real-time data.

These new monitoring location 

pages are again, what, over 90  percent of our traffic is.

People are interested in the  most recent real time data.

Let's take a look  at one of these pages. 

So what you see on  one of these pages,

this is Trout Creek near Tahoe  Valley, California.

We have thousands  of these locations 

all across the country.  This is one of them.

Prominent on this page  is the hydrograph.

It's that plot right  there in the middle, 

you see? By default,  you see gage height.

That's our most common  measured parameter.

The thing that we measure  in the environment 

that people are interested 

in and by default,  you see the most seven

days of recent data. 

You can interact with this 

hydrograph. This is an  interactive hydrograph.

If you have a mouse, 

you can move over it 

and see the values  in the upper left hand corner.

If you're on a tablet,  you can interact with 

it using your touch device.

And there's also  a way to zoom in and out.

There's a little  control down here 

where you can zoom in and out,  slide around, pan and scan.

If you're interested in more 

than just the seven days  of most recent data, 

you can use these  pictures up here. 

Let's take a look at one  day of data at Trout Creek.

You'll see that when data 

shows up, sometimes  there are different 

colors that signifies  different qualifiers,

different caveats  associated with the data.

And the legend down at the  bottom explains those caveats,

fully explained. 

Let's take a look  at 30 days worth of data.

That's a nice common interval  to take a look at. 

And you can see the Trout 

Creek here has been slowly  increasing in its gage

height, its water  depth, over the last 30 days.

If you want to custom range of 

dates, you can put that  here. Start date, end date.

And if you want to download  your own copy of the data

in a convenient format  for your own analysis

in a spreadsheet 

program, you can do that  under retrieve data.

If you're interested  in something besides just gage

height, well, we've got  you covered there. 

Most of our monitoring 

locations do more  than just gage height. 

If you scroll down to select  data, to graph, you can see

all the real-time data  that we monitor.

Let's take a look  at discharge. We have 

other things here like water  temperature, but discharge

streamflow, cubic feet  per second gallons per minute.

Take your pick. This is a very  popular one, too.

So we can see that  stream flow at Trout 

Creek has been increasing  over the last month as well.

If you'd like some  context for the water data,

you can do that. 

You can take a look at what  the data was like a year ago,

a year over year comparison. 

So now we can see the Trout  Creek is a little lower

than it was a year ago. 

The orange is right 

now, purple is a year ago,  but Trout Creek is increasing.

You can also turn on long  term statistics.

We've been monitoring 

Trout Creek near Tahoe  Valley for 60 years.

So this dotted black line  shows the long term daily

average of streamflow here.

So you can see that  we're a little bit below 

the long term average  right now at Trout Creek.

We do think that  this hydrograph is 

the most prominent,  most interesting thing 

to show the public, 

but we have a lot of other  things we're really glad

to have available  for you on these pages.

There's a data table. 

Instead of downloading  the tabular data, 

if you'd like to,  you can page through 

and see the data  in this data table.

We're really excited to unveil  this new interactive map.

We know a lot of people  have been asking for this. 

If I zoom out just a little, 

I can see Trout Creek,  our current monitoring

location in the blue  - a little pin in the map.

But other nearby monitoring  locations are these red dots.

And if I click on one of them, 

I would load up that  monitoring location page.

We also have flow lines. 

You see a dark blue,  almost purplish line.

Well, that's where  the water is coming from.

That's the upstream flow line.  Where's it coming from?

And then the downstream flow  line is where is it going to?

In this case, it looks like  it's going into Lake Tahoe.

But some of the streams, 

some of the monitoring 

locations go all  the way out to the river.

And then we also have - 

really pleased about 

this - this gray area. This is 

the watershed catchment area. 

This is where all the rain  that would fall to the earth

if it falls in this gray area, 

that would eventually pass  by our monitoring location.

So these help you get  a spatial orientation

for the monitoring location. 

Many monitoring locations  have affiliated networks.

This is still in beta. 

So we're still expanding this 

over time. But what we do is  we have multiple

monitoring locations  that we associate together

to get some larger 

view of the region or  the national water resources.

And if a monitoring location  belongs to a network,

you can click on it 

here and see a map of the 

network, as well as a list  of all the stations that

are a part of that network. 

If you're interested in more

than just the most recent  real time data, well,

summary of all available  data will show you that.

For example, at Trout Creek,  we've been monitoring..

we had some monitoring 

of dissolved metals  in water from 1989 to 2002.

This is a sort of  an index of all of that.

And if you want to download  or obtain those data, 

that's this link right here.

We have a lot of  location metadata 

available as well  from the latitude 

and longitude, to  what county is it in..

all kinds of information,  if you're interested there.

And then finally,  at the very bottom 

of the page, many times  we worked with other agencies,

federal, state and local  to do this monitoring.

They either help us operate it 

or they help fund  the operation of these gages.

And you can see these  cooperators listed 

down here at the bottom  and click on them 

to find out more about them. 

Let me wrap this page up, this  quick little whirlwind demo

going back up to the top 

to draw your attention  to two more things.

There's the classic page link  - if you need to get back

to our old website, 

the one that's been around 

for over 20 years, 

well, for now, you can click  on classic page and get back there.

But as Emily mentioned in her 

talk, we are on a  path to eventually

decommissioning those pages. 

January 2023 is the first  of those decommissionings of our current

condition, real-time pages.

And then I would invite 

you to take a look  at this menu up here. 

A lot more information  about the kinds of data

that you can obtain  from a monitoring location

and a lot of additional  written information 

from our Water Data  for the Nation blog

to our educational material  and our water science school.

I'd like to tell you  a little bit now about

the approach that we take,  how we do this work.

So we hear you. We've heard  that a lot of people

would like more advanced  views of the data,

the water data, specifically  multi-station views.

What I'm showing you right now  is our 20 year old approach

to doing a tabular summary  of current conditions.

In this case, in  the state of Texas, 

across the state  or across a network, 

this is a tabular view of 702

stations monitoring gage  height and discharge.

Now, this view is a bit 

dated. It's a bit old,  but it's effective. 

Now we hear that 

people are still interested 

in this kind of summary of  multiple stations at a time.

But we want to make sure  we proceed carefully here.

What I've just done is  I've simulated a 

mobile device right now. 

And our 20 year old  station page that

summarizes all this is not  mobile friendly.

You can see that 

if I was on a mobile device,  I would be having 

to constantly move  back to the left and the right

to get this tabular view. 

And we know that over  50 percent of our traffic

comes to us on a mobile  device these days. 

So we need to be aware  of this mobile friendly view.

So we're thinking carefully 

about how to modernize  a page like this.

We're not just going to 

naively take it the old  and put it into the new.

We want to redesign it  to look like the web of the

2020s, not the web of the late 

1990s, as nostalgic as  we might be for those times.

Our second example  I'd like to show you. 

People have asked  for, again, some reviews of

multiple stations at a time. 

This is a very advanced  capability here that's not

widely known on our current  20 year old website,

but it's available  called Build Time series, 

if you know how to use  this. It's quite powerful.

But already on this screen,  you can see a 20 year

old approach to doing forms.  I'm about to submit one form

which will produce  then a second form.

That's not really  the way the web of 

the 2020s works anymore. 

But yeah, I can pick  my favorite county,

and I'm pretty overwhelmed  by the sheer number

of things that I can try  to summarize here. 

It's not clear whether I would 

want stream flow or flow rate. 

Why are there two options  there instead of one? 

Why... Or maybe I just want  depth below water surface.

This is a pretty overwhelming  selection of options

for tabling data. 

And we know that these days  we can do better 

because our data  monitoring has evolved.

But if I do pick the right 

ones, well, then frankly,  I'm down in an area that...

I've been using this website 

for 15 years - I'm  still not totally sure even

now why it is that my

radio button follows me down 

below the hard horizontal  line, down to the bottom.

But this radio button doesn't. 

So we know that this interface  is not as friendly

as we could probably  redesign it to be now.

But we do know that  if you know how to use it, 

you can get a nice summary. 

Multiple hydrograph across 

many different stations  summarizing a whole network

or a whole whole  region if you want. 

We understand that the value  of this kind of thing.

But if we want if we're going  to modernize it, 

we want to do it to look like  the web of the 2020.

So we proceed carefully. 

Third example quickly is  people have asked for showing

multiple parameters  on one hydrograph.

I'm at one station, Barton  Springs at Austin, Texas.

We monitor a lot of things 

here. What if we want to look  at just three of them?

Well, today we have 

that capability, 

but I have to know that  I have to unselect by default.

I have to pick the three  things that I want, not four,

or I get an error message. 

I have to know that  I don't pick graph, 

but I have to do graph  with up to three.

That's because we added  this in later. So 

it just became another option. 

And then I have to  click the go button.

It's kind of an obscure way 

to do this. But if you do all 

that, then, yes, you do  get an interactive hydrograph.

It's a little outdated  and it hasn't quite

kept up with the way  Web browsers render things.

This is not the best way  to show an access. 

So we know we want  to improve that. 

And we know that  it's not very mobile friendly. 

I would have to pan 

and zoom to the left  and the right to be able

to see this hydrograph. 

And we know that 

that's not friendly  for at least half of our 

traffic coming to the site. 

So we want to modernize,  but we want to do it properly.

Finally, now that we've talked 

about the way that  we approach modernizing,

I just want to quickly  show you an example

of how we do the work  internally, very candidly.

This is an example of a 

feature that we are on 

the verge of releasing 

on our monitoring location  pages. And we've used

something, a whiteboard. 

It's a mural to work as a team  across the virtual space.

I happen to be in the  mountains of northern Arizona.

I'm nowhere near  my colleagues, Nicole or Emily

or anyone else you might  hear from today, but

we use these virtual spaces 

and it's a multi-step process,  it's very collaborative.

This new feature  that we're about to unveil

is some new text, 

some alerts that can appear  on monitoring location pages.

And we started by mocking  this up, copying and pasting,

just doing screen captures 

and saying this is  what it might look like.

And then we had a team meeting  and we debated this

and we added a little Post-it 

notes and we went through  all of this. We tried to

agree on a consensus  of a general approach.

But then we hand it over to  our software developer teams.

We empower our software  developers to use

the latest techniques  and all their training

to make a website  that looks very much like 

the Web of the 2020s.

But also on this mural, 

we know some of our software 

developers work deep 

under the hood, and  some of them are newer here.

So they didn't understand 

all the connections  and how things work. 

So we wanted to talk about 

how does the data flow today  in our information systems.

And we added in green things. 

This is the new stuff  we had to add. So we discussed

how we do it today. 

And then we had a vigorous 

debate about how  we might do this.

And you can see that 

we had one design  that we drew an X through

because we said, nope, we  don't want to do it this way.

We want to do a more  modern approach. 

So we tried again and  we developed a new approach.

Lots of green on here, new 

approaches to flowing the data  from our internal systems

all out to this website.

And then our software  developers, way under 

the hood, took this  and ran with it. 

And here you can see  where they got even more 

into the weeds and began  to actually diagram out

the cloud technologies  that get bolted together.

And they debated the different  approaches that can work.

And lots of lines  changed and moved on here.

But this culminated in working  software quickly, just

in a short amount of time. 

It didn't take us eight months 

of analysis and huge  requirements documents.

This is what we call the agile  software methodology.

This is an example  of how we approach that.

So that's it. That's  an example of a current

monitoring location page, 

an example of how  we approach modernizing

so it looks like  the web of the 2020s,

an example of how  we do our work as we proceed

on modernization.

I'll give it back to our

facilitator to take it from  there. And I do invite you

to type your questions  in into the Q&A,

and we'll be glad to field  those here in in short order.

Thank you, Brad. 

That was a wonderful demo 

and an awesome insight  into our process.

I hope everyone enjoyed  that presentation. 

Now I'd like to share  the results from the Slido

that we were working on  a few minutes ago, 

the live poll, "What  do you use water data for?"

That will come up on  the screen in just a moment. 

We've got a number  of responses to that. 

Almost 200, to be exact. 

And we have a little less 

than four hundred  and fifty attendees. 

So thank you for everyone 

to thank you to everyone for  participating in that poll.

Now we're going to  open up the Q&A.

I encourage you to  submit any of your questions

into the Q&A feature  here in the team's live event.

As a reminder, we do have  a number of attendees today.

If we aren't able  to get to your question, 

be sure to follow up with us  via email by emailing us


Most questions come in  anonymously so we aren't

able to follow up with you. 

Going to start by asking 

one of our panelists, Jim  Kreft, to answer the question,

will there be a way to embed  any of the views to a website?

So that's a that's  an interesting question,

because there was 

actually one of the  very first features

we added early in our 

monitoring location  pages is the ability

to essentially embed  the entire monitoring location

page into the website. 

But we actually haven't 

really taken it too much 

further, because the number 

because the the the use case  for it and exactly

how to make it work 

effectively is is there's  still a lot of work there.

So I would say at this point,  there's not an active plan

to allow for embedding 

large chunks of the  monitoring location page

into another part of the Web. 

At the same time  we are building, we know that

being able to insert  an image graph into the

image of the hydrograph

onto another page  is a key feature 

that people use constantly  on the legacy systems.

And we are building  and have a beta implementation

of a new grab image service. 

Excellent. Thank you, Jim. 

All right, next question  is for Candice Hopkins.

Will the data still be  available through the NWQC's

water quality portal? 

Yes, data will still be  available through

the water quality portal,  and in fact, this year

we're going to be adding  several enhancements

to the water quality portal. 

For those who are unfamiliar 

with this product,  you can visit it at which allows  you access to data

from both USGS as well as  several other several

hundred other organizations 

and data are all available  in the same consistent output.

Thank you. Awesome.

Thank you, Candice. 

I have another question  for Jim. Tell us about

the underlying data model 

and the cyber infrastructure 

that is underneath the hood of 

the system. Are you using  Microsoft Power BI?

Yeah, so we are we

are not using Microsoft Power 

BI for a variety  of different reasons.

We start if you if you sort of 

start at the beginning of that  at the highest level ..

on how the data is presented

on these new pages  for starting with 

assistant system with a 

shared open source  product called the US

Web Design System, 

which gives access, 

which makes it so that across 

the federal government  we can build accessible

pages that meet many of the  federal requirements

in the first place. 

And then on top of that,  we're layering best of class.

Open source libraries  like the D3 plotting

library under the hood. 

Right now, we're  using like we're using

for for our data structures. 

Currently, most of  our of our of our

servers and Web services  are based on classic

technologies like my MySQL,  Java based Web services.

We are also building right  now, as sort of Brad laid out

there, new cloud  based services and cloud based

data processing approaches 

that are allowing us to move  faster and more effectively

and and spend a lot less time  maintaining and more time

building features as we as  we move forward.

The other thing we are 

planning on having 

more communication  about new changes and new API

and other things,  and also to start talking

about our development process  for some of these backend

cyber infrastructure things,  because we've been doing 

a lot of really cool 

stuff that I really  would like to share.

Awesome. Thank you, Jim. 

I'm really excited about what  we're sharing as well.

All right, I have a question  for Brad. What's the

meaning of the blue  color in the graphs? 

Maybe process data, quality  control data...?

Yeah, that's a that's a very,  very fair question.

I could try to share 

the screen, but actually  I can. You know what

I'm thinking about it. 

I'll just tell you right here, 

when I showed you a one year  worth of data, you saw several

different colors. 

You saw some orange data  and you saw some blue data.

You're welcome to go to 

the pages right now  and try it yourself. 

Those particular colors show 

whether we have approved 

the data or whether there's  still provisional.

So in USGS, we have Real-Time  sensors constantly monitoring

at thousands of locations, 

and we call that  provisional data. 

That means that it  may still change. 

We have our technicians and  our data analysts who ensure that

corrections have been made  if there is a sensor 

that's a little inaccurate. 

And then finally,  we approve the data.

That means, in theory,  human eyes have looked at it

and we think that it's the 

best that it can possibly be  and it shouldn't change

any more in the future. 

So especially when you look 

over a long period of time, 

you will see some data  that's approved. 

That was the blue data 

and you'll see some data  that's provisional. 

That was the orange data.

And just as a reminder, the 

the legend at the bottom  will always show you

what all those meanings are,  we try to explain every color

and every shade and dot  on the hydrograph.

Thank you, Brad. 

Excellent. Brad I have  another question for you.

Can you show exactly how to 

get the table view instead of  the hydrograph view?

Brad I encourage you to go 

ahead and share your screen  if you'd like. Sure. Yeah.

Be glad to. Great. Thanks.

All right, hopefully that that  hopefully we're working now.

So here is a new  monitoring location,

and I'll show you 

two different ways to look  at a tabular view of data.

So one approach is on  the page itself.

There is down here just  below select data to graph

the hydrograph data table. 

And this is many  different pages of data.

So you can page one page  at a time through.

And you can see the actual 

values. Now, in this case, 

I'm looking at one  year's worth of data. 

That's one thousand  nine hundred eighty six pages. 

That would be that's 

that's quite an endeavor  to look through that. 

It's more manageable if you're  just looking at seven days.

Let me show you the other way. 

If you want to retrieve  the data, you can say show me

the current time series data. 

You click retrieve data,  and then you say 

current time series data. 

And then you click retrieve. 

And what this is going to do  is give you a tabular

data set that you can  then do file save as save it

to your computer 

and then open it up in 

Microsoft Excel, 

Google Sheets, any number 

of things you can use,  something like the R 

data analysis package.

It's very easy to import  these data and then you can do

whatever you want to  with them in a tabular format.

So that's two ways  to get the data. 

There are more, but 

from the monitoring location  page point of view,

that's a pretty good way  to... to look at it.

Thank you, Brad. 

All right, I have a question

for Shawna. Can you overlay

the National Weather  Service flood stages, action,

minor, moderate, major,  then use those for

querying purposes, 

like filtering the stream  monitoring data for any date

that NWS minor flood  stage is exceeded?

That's a great question,  because those flood stages

are very, very useful  for a lot of people.

We currently do not  have the ability 

to filter our data  by flood stages,

but I think that's a 

very interesting feature  request and we'll add it

into our queue, so thanks 

whoever submitted  that, for the idea.

Excellent. Thank you, 

Shawna. Shawna, I have  another question for you. 

How does this relate  to the new dashboard?

That's a good question. 

So our monitoring location  pages work together with the

National Water Dashboard. 

The National Water Dashboard,  if you haven't seen it,

it's just an excellent way  to search through active sites

and get a great at-a-glance  view of the water conditions

of the nation in a map. 

And so when you are  there, you are on

the national water dashboard 

and they want more details  or they want to review the

historical records for a site,

they can use the links  on that monitoring location

to get to Water Data 

for the Nation and  check it out on our 

monitoring location pages. 

We are really working here 

to help our users  transfer back and forth

between these two  excellent products

and let you all determine  what's best for you.

Thank you, Shawna. 

Brad, I have another  question for you. 

Are you able to compare  the stage height

to a user-defined stage  for a period of time?

For example, how many days did  the stream monitor exceed

five feet? How many hours?

That's an interesting, 

intriguing question  about essentially

a form of data analysis, 

and we don't currently have 

we've actually never had  any kind of website

that allows that kind of 

user-defined threshold 

and then looking above  or below like that. 

But it is it is a feature  that we could consider.

We always have to weigh 

the balance between keeping  a monitoring location page,

straightforward for  the general public

and then providing those sorts  of.. advanced features.

The one thing I could say 

is that kind of advanced  analysis is certainly something that

a data analyst could do 

in one of the increasingly 

popular systems these days 

for data analysis like  the R programing language.

And here at the USGS,  we have a software

library called Data Retrieval, 

which lets you pull  in our water data 

directly into a package  like like R and work

in that environment 

to do those kinds  of ad hoc analyses

and really start  digging deeper into 

your analysis of the data.

Excellent. Thank you, Brad. 

Candice, I have a question for 

you. Will there be changes 

to groundwater well data  that is on the USGS website?

Right now, we are discussing  changes to stream

to stream gages, 

but what about groundwater  monitoring wells? 

Yes, that is an excellent  question, and as it turns out,

we have these monitoring  location pages available

for every single  monitoring location, 

regardless of data type. 

So whether it's a surface  water or a groundwater site

and whether we have water  quantity, water quality

or water use data,  we have one of these pages

stood up for that  monitoring location.

So if you happen to be  on the legacy site

for one of our old groundwater 

wells, you can go ahead 

and click on the link and see  the new modernized page for

that groundwater site.

Thank you, Candice. 

Candice, I have another  question for you. 

We noticed that the well  status codes: dry, frozen, etc

have been simplified. 

Why is that the case? And  can we get those codes back?

Yes, that is an excellent  catch. Thank you so much

for bringing that up,  and thank you to our users

who brought that  to our attention. 

This is a problem 

that we are actively 

researching and trying 

to figure out a really  quick solution to.

So please keep watching  groundwater sites.

Keep looking at those data 

and we'll let you know  when we are ready to roll out

a better implementation  of groundwater levels.

Awesome. Thank you, Candice. 

Brad, I have another question  for you. How will the

monitoring location  page URLs change

compared to the legacy URLs? 

Will the new monitoring 

location pages be 

at a different URL than the 

legacy pages once the legacy  pages are deprecated?

Tell us a little  bit more about that.

Sure, be glad to. 

So we will be doing new 

URLs for the new  monitoring location pages.

If you go to one today,  you'll actually see 

that it looks very different  than the old ones.

The old ones are running  in parallel with the new ones,

and they're at different URLs. 

Our strategy in general  is going to be using

what are called redirects. 

So if you go... say  it's three years from now

and you had a bookmark 

that went to a legacy, current  condition, real-time page,

and we've gone ahead  and decommissioned 

those old pages, 

our systems will detect you're 

trying to go to one  of the old URLs and

they will redirect your Web  browser to the new URL.

One little thing  I'll add on to that is

when we first designed  these URL patterns that

the old pages used, that was  20, that was 25 years ago.

We don't want to be boxed in 

with the approach  that we took 25 years ago.

Frankly, we had to make  some design compromises

because computers weren't  as powerful and networks

weren't as capable back then. 

We're wanting to have a nice,  clean, elegant new

URL pattern moving forward. 

And we think we're  we're pretty excited 

about the patterns  that we're coming up with. 

We think that they're intuitive and  we think there's an elegance to them.

But we do hope redirects  will let your old

bookmarks and potentially 

even your old software,  if you have automated scripts,

be able to transition  from the old URLs to the new.

Excellent. Thank you, Brad. 

Jim, the next question  is for you. Any plans

to expose the backend 

API calls used to retrieve 

the data used by  a specific location page?

That might help the  software developer audience.

It's a great question. 

We've actually kicked around. 

That's just that question  and just that idea,

having a section on the page 

that's showing the different 

APIs that are used  to develop the page. 

And we'll be doing more  research to figure out

whether that's something  we'll do in the future. 

That said, we are planning  multiple different ways

to reach out to the  developer community. 

And I invite you  to send us an email

at  if you'd like to participate

in being a tester  for our new APIs

or for some of our  other documentation 

and other resources  that we're working to improve,

that we're planning  on building, to improve

the developer experience. 

Awesome. Thank you, Jim.

This next question  is for Brad. Why would someone

be concerned about losing  the legacy pages in 2023?

Is there any reason this  is particularly important?

I'm trying to understand the  impact of the website changes.

We want to help you  understand the impact. Brad?

This is one of my  favorite kinds of questions, 

it's sort of almost 

a philosophical question - 

I think. I really  appreciate the question.

Why would someone be concerned 

about an old page going away? 

Well, to a first order, 

change can be difficult. 

One of the analogies I use  is I use online banking

applications. Right? 

I'm not a banker. I'm  just a - I'm just an American.

But I use my online  banking application

to keep my daily workflow  going in my life.

And if I come Monday morning

and suddenly the 

whole app has changed 

and no one has told me  about it and everything 

is in a different spot,  even if they tell me

they're like, don't worry,  everything is still here. 

You can still do  transfers and withdrawals 

and pay your bills. 

Like I have a certain  reaction like, but yeah,

but things have moved. 

This isn't my job to learn  this new piece of software.

So we're trying to respect  the fact that for 25 years,

our real-time data 

and our general presentation 

of water data has  looked a certain way.

And we know that 

if we change that, that 

could produce a same response 

in people that I have  on my banking app changes.

But just like my  banking application,

over the long term,  a new application,

a new way of looking at it  is going to be more powerful.

There will be new  capabilities, things 

that I was never  able to do before. 

So we know that technology  marches forward,

but because our our water  data pages are integrated

into the daily workflows  of so many people,

from kayakers to emergency  managers to dam operators,

we know that moving pixels 

around and changing  the way they work 

could be something  that we need to respect

and communicate with you,  just like we are today

about these changes. 

Thank you, Brad. 

The next question is for  Candice. Has the tabling

behavior data download process  for lab results changed?

The link to this 

data was shown. But will it be  easier to choose parameters?

That's an excellent question,  and at this point, these

new monitoring location pages 

do not have a new data flow  for our discrete sample data.

However, during this upcoming  fiscal year, so fiscal year

2022, we are going to be  rolling out a new system

for both data storage 

as well as data dissemination  for discrete sample data.

Please be on the lookout  for a new data flow,

which will include data  end tables on these

monitoring location pages, 

as well as a new way to both  query, search and download

discrete sample data.

Thank you, Candice. 

The next question  goes back to Jim.

Thanks for the presentation. -  Thank you for attending!

- It's great to see 

all of the location 

metadata you exposed  through the dashboard. 

Are the metadata fields  you collect based on an

existing data standard,  or is it USGS specific?

The short answer  is that more metadata fields

that are there are USGS  specific that developed over

the course of many decades. 

But there is actually  a project right now

that is reconsidering our  monitoring location metadata

to both work within 

standards that now  exist around- that have been

developed through the Open  Geospatial Consortium,

as well as other components  to really figure

and as well as thinking about

and stepping back and saying,  hey, is this field necessary?

Is this what we what  we need to do? is

are there better ways  of managing this information?

So you can expect 

to see a lot of changes in  that, in that set of metadata

over the course of  the next couple of years.

Awesome. Thank you, Jim. 

The next question is for 

Shawna. We use the daily  averages and compare them

to the historic daily averages 

for the same dates to report  to state water managers.

Will this still be available? 

Okay. That's a good question. 

We currently have not pulled  the statistical data

into these new pages, 

though they are still  available on the legacy

NWISWeb and the legacy  services, certainly.

These are both these are both  accessible from links on the

monitoring location pages, 

but looking into the future, 

I think, is where  the question is. 

We certainly intend 

to keep this daily data  publicly available.

And as we design 

what that's going  to look like on the page,

both visually as well  as like how you end up

downloading that  to continue that workflow,

we'll be sure to  test it out with our users

and communicate it out to you. 

So if the questioner 

or anyone else who's  interested in that 

is interested in participating  in early user testing,

we'd love to hear  from you. Thanks! 

Awesome, thank you, Shawna. 

Before we move to  our next question, 

I'd like to briefly pause  and move to our last

Slido - our live poll  - of the session.

We want to make sure  that you are receiving

the communication about this  in a way that best suits you.

We've given a few examples 

here, but feel free to input  anything that comes to mind.

What format of communication  would work best for you?

You can join this poll 

by going to  and entering the code WDFN.

And in just a moment,  I'll put the link in the chat.

While we get responses for 

that, I'd like to move on  to our next question.

Which is [audio cuts  out] for Emily. ...

remodeling of the house 

- moving from our metaphor  earlier - when will it be

ready for us to use? 

So there are certain 

parts of the house -  the remodeled house -

that are already ready to use,  such as the NextGen

Monitoring Location pages,  which you saw a demo of today

and that are currently  available publicly,

and for all sites 

for which we have USGS  water is providing data.

Regarding other parts 

of NWISWeb and water services  that we have plans

to modernize: These plans 

currently are in  place through 2025.

So we have another couple of 

years ahead of us  of modernization work.

And this is based on our best  available information

related to availability  of funding, timing of other

modernization projects  that are upstream

of the front end  delivery to the public. 

And also, we know that  there are new data 

types that USGS is regularly

developing and releasing that  we also need to accommodate.

So because any of  those factors can change

and probably are likely  to change, it's hard to say

when it will really be done. 

And that's one of the reasons  why we're using an agile

approach that we talked 

about earlier to  make sure that we're 

prioritizing the highest -  the components of the house,

if you will, our data  delivery system that are

most valuable to users, 

all while complying with IT  security requirements

and other requirements for  just building a robust system.

Thank you, Emily. 

Also, I'm grinning right now 

because I'm really excited 

about all the responses that  are coming in to our poll.

Thank you so much for these.

And thank you for  the little comments

that we've seen about  our social media posts

being good and appreciation  for this webinar.

We appreciate you being here. 

So to continue for just a  few more minutes with our Q&A

as we reach the end here,  next question is for Jim.

We're using the REST APIs 

(, specifically  the IV and 

even the legacy UV services. 

Any plans to change  or retire these APIs?

Are the url-based 

request pages going  to remain after 2023,

or is there another  API in the works?

We regularly pull tabular 

data, which is used  for fishery releases.

So the short answer is what  these APIs, those APIs

off of water services  are going to change

and eventually be replaced. 

But the timeframe has not 

- is not tied to 

the announcements, 

what we're talking  about here to the 

monitoring location pages, 

and there will be a lot of  communication a long time

to be able to transition  to the new pages.

I would really appreciate  reaching out, sending

an email at  so that I can reach out to you

and the other members of the  team can reach out to you to

to make sure that we are  meeting your needs 

for automated data retrieval  with our new systems.

Excellent. Thank you, Jim.

As we reach the five  minute mark here,

I'd like to transition  and ask everyone to consider

filling out our feedback form. 

How are we doing? 

How is our communication 

doing? How are the new pages  suiting your needs?

Fill out this form. 

We'll post the link  in the chat in just a moment. 

I'd also like to remind  everyone to submit

your questions via email  at

We have about 50 questions 

that we aren't able  to get to today, 

and we want to talk to you. 

So send us an email. 

As a second to last question 

or maybe third to  the last question, 

I'd like to go back to  Jim for a moment. 

Will it be possible  to build our own networks

links to add to the affiliated  networks like now in beta?

Yes, that is one  of the networks and networks

management is one of the parts  of the monitoring location..

monitoring location,  data model refresh.

That's that's in  progress right now. 

So right now, you can  technically change those those

networks, but it's it's  an involved process.

A lot of manual steps. 

But there is a plan to make it 

so that different  individual USGS users

can make changes  to those networks. 

Great. Thank you. 

Let's get a couple  more questions in 

before we finish up. Shawna,  this one's for you.

Will he ability to generate  graphs for presentation

features still be available? 

This is a good question, and

I don't have a great answer  at this point. We're not sure.

There's a lot of  complications here. 

First of all, we have heard 

this before and we do know 

people use it to present  in all sorts of arenas,

but what it means to be  presentation quality is

a little bit ambiguous  and will require us to think

about what exactly we would be  providing for everybody.

So it certainly is  on the list of features

and it has been requested  several times before.

So we will keep it in mind  and let you know

one way or the other, 

truthfully, about whether 

or not that feature  will come through.

Thank you, Shawna. 

I really appreciate  your honesty and acknowledging

that while we may not have 

a perfect answer at this time,  we will absolutely keep

you updated. Candice,  this question for you.

Will the USGS data downloaded  from the NWIS USGS

Web page from Water  Quality Portal be the same?

I suppose they should be. 

But I do some different -  I do see some differences occasionally.

To clarify, by 'from  Water Quality Portal'

I refer to specifically  downloading data

from Water Quality  Portal via the R package.

Yeah, that's a great  question, and one of

the really exciting things  that's going to be happening

this year is that USGS data 

are now going to be 

disseminated using the WQX  3.0 data standard.

So in starting to comply with 

serving data, using this data 

standard, the data  coming out of both the WQP,

water quality portal,  as well as all of our USGS

products, should  match identically.

Awesome. Thank you. 

Brad, this question's for you. 

Will all the items listed  under classic data inventory

be available once  the legacy sites go away?

It's a very big question  and a very good one. 

The answer is quite  possibly not everything.

So one of the challenges

we're having here  is we built a very big Web

presence over the last 

25 years, and it's very  challenging to maintain it.

We are really working  on understanding

the most valuable data. 

So I'll give you  a couple of examples of things 

that will definitely  still be around. 

Our daily values  data is currently under

the classic data inventory. 

And that is a unique dataset

that's actually primary  record if you go back 

into history a little bit. 

We will find some way  to bring daily values forward.

I'll give you another example: 

annual peaks data  also called peak flow.

That's a uniquely  valuable dataset, right?

That's also going to find some  way to be brought forward.

But there are some other 

things, and I'm not 

committing to this one way  or the other right now. 

But, for example,  we have something called 

a water here summary report. 

It's been around  for about seven years. 

Do we need to still continue 

generating this particular  printer friendly tabular form

of summarizing one year  of water data or do our usage

statistics suggest  that people have moved on 

to other forms of analysis  and packaging up of water data

here in the web of the 2020s? 

That's the kind of question 

we'll be asking as we go  module by module

down that classic data  inventory, evaluating

whether we keep or  modernize or what

the disposition is on those.

Thank you, Brad. 

That was our final  question of the day. 

Thank you to everyone 

who attended and participated  in our live polls.

And I encourage anyone who's 

interested to send us an email  at

if we weren't able to answer 

your question, if you'd like  to be a user tester.

And if you have any  other things to say, 

please fill out our feedback 

form by following the link 

that we placed in the chat 


This recording for  this webinar will

be available on YouTube  and on the USGS WMA website.

Thank you, everyone.  We'll see you soon.