Environmental Protection

World Water Monitoring Day Debuts Data Map before Sept. 18

The coordinators of the public awareness program World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA), announce the launch of a new data mapping feature. Housed on the program’s website, the new map will facilitate navigation of the data collected for WWMD, as well as provide an opportunity for program participants to connect with one another.

The map, which runs off of the familiar Google Maps platform, was designed as a volunteer effort by the New Zealand-based firm Outpost Central.

“In late 2008, the program’s leadership was discussing the logistics involved in creating a web-based data map that could read from the WWMD database in real time when we received an e-mail message from Outpost out of the blue. They offered to use their expertise to work with us on the creation of just such an application. It truly was a welcome surprise,” said Lorien Walsh, assistant director of communications for WEF.

More than one year later, the new mapping feature makes its debut just in time for the official observation of World Water Monitoring Day on Sept. 18.

“While the program captures very basic data about a monitoring event, there is a lot that goes on at a test site that does not get recorded by our database. The map will allow groups to record more qualitative information about their sites, such as greater detail about how the land around the site is used,” said Walsh.

The map will also increase possible collaboration opportunities among groups monitoring in the same area. A group can click on a site nearby one of its own sites and see the URL of the group who provided that data. In this way, the program seeks to augment interaction among its participants and encourage ongoing dialog about water quality.

As an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world, World Water Monitoring Day engages citizens in conducting basic monitoring of their local water bodies. WWMD is officially observed each year on Sept. 18; however, an expanded monitoring window allows participants the flexibility to monitor and report data to the WWMD database anytime from March 22 (World Water Day) until Dec. 31.

WEF and IWA received financial and in-kind support from the program’s primary sponsors including the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PerkinElmer, ITT Corporation, Sinclair Knight Merz and Smithfield Foods.

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