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November 2009 - Updates to waterdata.usgs.gov web system

Particularly notable in this release is the reintroduction of streamflow channel characteristics, such as measured stream width, area, and velocity. These data were removed in July 2008 when our internal NWIS database was expanded to incorporate multiple channel streams. Your patience was appreciated while the USGS worked to extended this expansion to this system.

Many users have requested the ability to "bookmark" a hydrograph so it can be embedded in their own web pages. With this release, this is now possible.

Also in this release, time-zone information will accompany all time-series data. Time-zone information will appear both in web pages and in downloaded tab-delimited files. Users with automatic retrieval programs should revise programs as necessary to accommodate the time-zone information using samples files identified below.

    1. Streamflow channel characteristic information - This information will be available after each individual USGS Water Science Center (WSC) upgrades their software and pushes up the channel information to the web. This process will begin November 23, 2009.
      • Users now have the option to retrieve channel level information from field streamflow measurements. Note that an individual streamflow measurement can include data from one or more channels. The following channel level data are provided (although many fields will be missing for measurements made prior to 2009):
        - channel number
        - channel name
        - channel measurement type
        - channel discharge measurement method
        - channel velocity measurement method
        - channel discharge
        - channel width
        - channel velocity
        - channel area
        - channel type
        - channel longitudinal velocity description
        - channel horizontal velocity description
        - channel location code
        - channel location distance

        See the streamflow measurement help section for more information on the fields and their possible values - http://help.waterdata.usgs.gov/output-formats#streamflow_measurement_data
    2. Time Zone Datum
      • Streamflow, groundwater, or other current condition data tables will now have the time-zone information added to the datetime column. The time zone shown is the time zone used at the measurement site. The time zone is still not displayed on graphs
        • Example: Current Instantaneous values tab separated output format.
          • agency_cd         site_no         datetime         14_00065         14_00065_cd
          • 5s         15s         16d         14n         10s
        • Example: New Instantaneous values tab separated output format.
          Use http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/?06130500.rdb as an example site with new tz_cd to test your automated retrieval scripts.
          • agency_cd         site_no         datetime         tz_cd 14_00065         14_00065_cd
          • 5s         15s         16d         6s 14n         10s
        • The Time Zone is still not displayed on graphs
    3. Improved Site location graph
      • The outdated TIGER Maps on the site map pages have been replaced with Google Maps, including an optional USGS map base. This should make it much easier to find where sites are located.
      • More work will be done to better integrate the Mapper with this web system in the future.
    4. Persistent URL for graphs
      • Purpose:   Provide a persistent URL to graphs of the most recent USGS current condition water data suitable for inclusion in a HTML image tag on user-defined web pages.
      • Usage:
        http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/graph?<args>

        ...where <args> are:

        agency_cd=   Agency code for site
        (if omitted default = USGS)

        site_no=     USGS site number to match
        (required argument -- error if omitted)

        parm_cd=     USGS parameter code
        (required argument -- error if omitted)

        period=      Include data for the previous "period" days
        (if omitted default = 7)

        help        Display this text

        Example URL:
        http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/graph?agency_cd=USGS&site_no=06025500&parm_cd=00060&period=7


        Example image tag:

        <img src="http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/graph?site_no=06025500&parm_cd=00060" width="576" height="400" alt="USGS Water-data graph" />

      • This URL will not be active until the web site has been upgraded.
    5. Other miscellaneous updates
      • New Help link has been added to the footer on every page.
      • The title "National Water Information System: Web Interface" in the banner now links to the home page for the web site.
      • Addressed problem of not being able to search by drainage area with Internet Explorer
      • Well depth information is again displayed on site summary information
      • Addressed bug where site number links were not working when trying to obtain daily, monthly, or annual statistics
      • Added help text for the Search Criteria "parameter code file attachment"
      • Gage datum of "0" is now displayed as appropriate
      • Added new current condition parameter codes:
        • Parameter code: 72172 - Wave height, Fourier transformation, feet
        • Parameter code: 72173 - Wave period, Fourier transformation, seconds

Aug 24, 2009 - Updates to Mapper

  1. Several significant enhancements have been made to the USGS Water Data for the Nation Mapper:
    • Replaced U.S. Board of Geographic Names (GNIS) place name search with Google address searching.
    • Added selections for display of Active and Inactive sites. Available selections now include All, Active, Current Condition, and Inactive sites.
    • Added to List Sites view: Site Types, Count of Sites.
    • Added button to get Keyhole Markup Language (KML) for sites showing on map panel. KML can be saved for use in other applications or directly displayed in Google Earth if user has it loaded.
    • Added button to cancel drawing of sites when time is excessive. List Sites and KML buttons will still return the full group of sites that are within the map panel boundaries.
    • Added contact link for site/data questions.

  2. Bug fixes
    • List Sites did not include collocated sites. This has been fixed.
    • Added check to not display List Sites if no Site Types are checked.

July 2009 - Updates to waterdata.usgs.gov web system

Users have long requested the ability to retrieve water quality data in a more granular way. This release introduces a long-requested search by parameter code capability that allows users to fine-tune their queries for specific parameter codes rather than only by the more coarse-grained parameter groups. In addition, there are more water quality groups from which to choose. To accommodate the new groups, the USGS has moved to a 3-character parameter grouping.

  1. We have added a Known Problems Page.
  2. New search criteria: Search by parameter codes
    • Help system improved to provide USGS parameter codes for CASRN (American Chemical Society Registry Number) and USEPA SRS (Substance Registry System) Names
    • Users can search for water quality sites using parameter codes (manual entry, range of parameters, or by supplying a file of parameters).  Up to 200 parameter codes can be searched at a time. When using this criteria, sites with any of the parameters selected (logical 'or' operation) are returned.
    • Water quality parameter codes can also be specified for output display.
    • Parameter codes can be entered either interactively or using a file of parameter codes

  3. Water quality data is now classified using a 3-character parameter group code

    New group codeNew groupOld groupOld group code INF Information Information I PHY Physical Physical P INM Inorganics, Major, Metals Major inorganics M INN Inorganics, Major, Non-metals NUT Nutrient Nutrients N MBI Microbiological Biological B BIO Biological IMM Inorganics, Minor, metals Minor and trace inorganics C IMN Inorganics, Minor, Non-metals TOX Toxicity OPE Organics, pesticide Organics O OPC Organics, PCBs OOT Organics, other RAD Radiochemistry Radiochemicals R ISO Stable Isotopes Stable isotopes A SED Sediment Sediment S POP Population/Community Taxonomic enumeration E OTH Other Other U HAB Habitat ">
    New group codeNew groupOld groupOld group code
    INF Information Information I
    PHY Physical Physical P
    INM Inorganics, Major, Metals Major inorganics M
    INN Inorganics, Major, Non-metals
    NUT Nutrient Nutrients N
    MBI Microbiological Biological B
    BIO Biological
    IMM Inorganics, Minor, metals Minor and trace inorganics C
    IMN Inorganics, Minor, Non-metals
    TOX Toxicity
    OPE Organics, pesticide Organics O
    OPC Organics, PCBs
    OOT Organics, other
    RAD Radiochemistry Radiochemicals R
    ISO Stable Isotopes Stable isotopes A
    SED Sediment Sediment S
    POP Population/Community Taxonomic enumeration E
    OTH Other Other U
    HAB Habitat

  4. Introducing an integrated USGS Water Data for the Nation Mapper
  5. This release includes a scalable mapping interface. This interface will display USGS water sites on a web mapping tool and will ease the process of locating relevant sites through zooming and panning. At a certain level of magnification, when you click on a site you can be directed to the site page for additional details. The mapper will be accessible inside the USGS Water Data for the Nation site through a prominent blue button on appropriate pages and through the Data Category drop down boxes near the top right corner of the page. The mapper utilizes both USGS and Google Maps imagery.

  6. Bug Fixes
    • Popups are now visible in Internet Explorer and Firefox for current condition maps
    • Added link to news page in all page footers
    • Links to presentation quality measurement graphs work correctly
    • Updated tab separated output headers provide better description of data fields
    • Removed redundant county code list
    • Help button on Parameter Codes page returns a help page instead of an error message
    • When specifying time periods for statistical daily values, data are returned in correct order.
    • Correct Period of Record information is returned by all points of request
    • The Annual Data Report Link points to the most recent year's report
    • The Annual Data Report and the Instantaneous Data Archive links are visible for sites with available data
    • The help system's aquifer codes are sorted by state then by alphabetical order per state
    • Monthly and Annual statistics display when selected
    • Lake levels are displayed on the National Lakes and Reservoir page
  7. New Current Condition Parameters
    • 72180 Evapotranspiration, inches
    • 72181 Moisture content, soil, volumetric, fraction of total volume
    • 72182 Atmospheric water vapor density, grams per cubic meter
    • 99237 Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter signal to noise ratio
    • 99238 Loctn ADVM cell end from Sontek
    • 99239 Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter standard deviation, data element specified in data descriptor
    • 99240 Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter standard error of velocity, feet per second
    • 99241 Location of Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter cell end, meters
    • 99242 Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter standard error of velocity, centimeters per second

March 2009 - Updates to waterdata.usgs.gov web system

  • Added current condition parameter 61626 - Lake or reservoir water surface elevation above NGVD 1929, m
  • Improved graphing logic to ensure that historical discrete measurements are displayed on current instantaneous and daily streamflow graphs
  • Improved error message when all latitude and longitude values are not entered when searching for sites
  • Added peak_tm to comment section of tab separated output of peak streamflow information
  • Added link to new WaterQualityWatch web site
  • Added link to Active Water Level web site
  • Updated description of fields in tab separated output of recent instantaneous values output

December 2008 - Updates to waterdata.usgs.gov web system

  • New Features
    • New Site Types are now implemented in all searching and data outputs
    • Help Text Updates
    • More current condition parameters available
    • Added navigation support for US Territories including American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands
  • Site Type Changes
    • We have removed the station_type_cd field from our site file information. This field contained a string of Y and N characters to denote the station type and was cryptic to understand.
    • A new field, site_tp_cd is now available and it contains a 2-7 character abbreviation of the site type which will contain a primary site type and possibly a secondary site type. The site types available can be found here
    • When searching for site type, uses new site types instead of older YN character string
    • When outputting Site Information, new site types are used instead of older YN character string.
  • Navigation changes
    • Link for the Annual Data Report (ADR) on “Available data for this site” pulldown menu now points to most recent data sheet
    • Improved error messages for USA level retrievals of water quality data to request users perform queries at state level
    • Links on AVAILABLE DATA table now stay at the state level on a site Home Page
  • Help text updates
    • Updated automated retrieval information document to emphasize that the UTC data element currently only works when retrieving water quality data.
  • New current condition parameters available
    • Parameter code lookup page
    • Parameter code 99401 - Residue, dissolved, water, filtered, estimated by regression equation, milligrams per liter
    • Parameter code 72149 - Stream velocity, meters per second
    • Parameter code 72126 - Standard deviation of wind direction, degrees
    • Parameter code 75969 - Barometric pressure, not corrected to sea level, millibars
    • Parameter code 63675 - Turbidity, water, unfiltered, broad band light source (400-680 nm), detection angle 90 +/- 30 degrees to incident light, nephelometric turbidity units (NTU)
    • Parameter code 72174 - Longwave radiation, upwelling intensity, watts per square meter
    • Parameter code 72175 - Longwave radiation, downwelling intensity, watts per square meter
    • Parameter code 72176 - Temperature of sensor, degrees Celsius
  • Misc
    • Sites with multiple data parameters of 00045 and 99772 (precipitation and metric precipitation) will now display both locations in all tables and graphs.
    • Corrected display of measurement data related to shift_applied_va

This site has recently updated their User Interface and listed below are some of the significant features and bug fixes.

July 2008

  • Removal of width, area, and velocity from Streamflow Measurements on this site
    • As part of the July 2008 update to this site, the properties of stream width, area, and velocity were removed from the streamflow measurements (surface-water field measurements) available on this site for the following reasons:

        The streamflow measurements provided on this site are primarily made in support of continuous stream gaging stations. For this use, it is critical that the measured streamflow is representative of the gaging station at which the measurement was made. Other properties such as width, area, and velocity, however, are not representative of any one location on the stream. In most cases the exact location of the measurement will vary from year to year or measurement to measurement as channel geomorphology or flow conditions change. The measured streamflow is always representative of the stream gaging station, but the other properties are not. In addition, for many measurements the total flow is the sum of several different channels of a stream, each with a width, area, and velocity. It can be misleading to attempt to represent these multichannel measurements because of the overly simplistic display of these complex data and the potential for misuse with a single width, area, and velocity.

        The decision to remove width, area, and velocity from this site was predicated by a major expansion in the internal NWIS database to store a much more complete and accurate representation of a discharge measurement, including the location of each measurement and the potential for multiple channels. We do not feel it appropriate to simplify the new internal design into the old this site display due to the problems noted above. We intend to incorporate the new details of discharge measurements into this site as soon as possible. Because of the complexity of the new database design, an updated this site display of measurements to include these data will inherently be more complex and require careful consideration. In the mean time, we have chosen to limit display to those measurement properties most associated with support of continuous stream gaging stations.

        We are aware of the importance of providing width, area, and velocity on this site for use in geomorphologic, water-quality, or other studies. Until we can provide an accurate portrayal of these data from the new database design on this site, interested users should request these data directly from USGS Water Science Centers, where the data and its limitations can be adequately explained on a site-by-site basis as necessary.

      We regret any inconvenience and will work toward the restoration and clearer presentation of these data as soon as possible.

       

  • More streamflow measurements are now available (No longer limited to only active gaging stations)
  • Modified measurement outputs for new improvements (html and rdb)
  • Modified measurement symbol on graphs (from X to *) for greater visibility
  • Improved Station Name Searching ability (Use quotes for exact matching, allows apostrophes, multiple spaces, and period)
  • Peak formats should now be more consistent with qualification codes in all outputs
  • Changed peak watstore format name to peakfq
  • Implemented new three-character medium codes for water-quality data
  • Added links to Instantaneous Data Archive to allow access to long term data
  • Added links to Annual Data Report
  • Added additional geographic regions: American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam
  • Format Changes
    • Measurements (html, and rdb)
    • Peaks (peakfq, html, rdb)
    • Discrete water-quality data (html, rdb)

Feb 2008

  • Water-quality data now updated nightly if changes occur in the USGS Water Science Centers' NWIS Database.
  • Updated Automated Retrievals web page to show how to do water-quality retrievals.
  • It is now possible to search for water-quality data at the national level using data attributes.
  • Monthly statistics now calculated over user specified time period instead of limited by USGS defined statistical summary period.
  • Date format now output in user selected sequence for measurements and daily values.
  • Now displays graphs of today's data for sites on other side of international dateline.
  • "Site Home Page" from pulldown menu has now been renamed to "SUMMARY OF ALL AVAILABLE DATA".
  • Instantaneous value tab-separated data outputs now have masking periods applied correctly.
  • Latitude/Longitude searching for sites on other side of international dateline should now work correctly (negative longitudinal values).
  • Added new current condition parameter codes:
    • 00048 Total partial pressure of dissolved gases, water, unfiltered, percent of saturation
    • 00197 Evaporation, accumulated, inches
    • 72036 Reservoir storage, thousand acre feet
    • 72125 Atmospheric water vapor pressure, calculated, kilopascals
  • Surface water measurements are now redirected to the nwis.waterdata system.
  • Precipitation accumulation periods are now calculated based upon current date and time rather then the result date of the data for the first site on the page.
  • Added documentation for current_rating_nu in the Surface Water help section.
  • Fixed issue where groundwater level graphs were not being created.
  • Updated water quality method code documentation.
  • Improved Taxonomic units documentation.
  • Updated rdb header text for water-quality tab separated data outputs.
  • Period of record is now used if no begin date is specified but an end date is specified for water-quality searching.
  • Multiple masking periods are now correctly being applied for Daily Value data.
  • Removed GW tutorial Link.
  • Parameter code searching will now match regardless of case for parameter name and group name.
  • Calendar/water year properly displayed in annual statistic tab-separated (rdb) outputs.
  • Sites with a mean value of .0 should now display that value correctly.
  • Enabled Visual Identity Standards

Past news of relevance

Users of this site now have the enhanced ability to retrieve recently collected provisional water-quality sample data. Previously, data were shown on this site only after an annual quality-assurance review period had passed. Because of this more timely release of the water-quality sample data, provisional data may be subsequently revised after initial release, and data users are cautioned to consider carefully the provisional nature of the information before using it for decisions that concern personal or public safety or the conduct of business that involves substantial monetary or operational consequences.

  • New descriptive attributes were added to the presentation of water-quality data, and some less useful, previously supplied attributes were removed. Users are given an option of selecting an expanded set of data attributes or a "default" (smaller) set of attributes. When retrieving tab-delimited data, users also have a layout option to represent each row as a sample or each row as a single measurement result. Not all attributes are available in each retrieval layout. The attributes are listed in the table 1.
  • Table 1.--Availability of water-quality attributes in tab-delimited files presented in sample and result layouts and default and expanded sets of attributes. 
    	["-" indicates the attribute is not presented in this format.
    	 "X" indicates the attribute is presented in both default and expanded sets,
    	 "/" indicates the attribute is presented only in the expanded set.
    	 "\" indicates the attribute is presented in the expanded attribute set or
    	 concatenated with the value unless the value is separated from the remark code.
    	 New attributes in this release are annotated with an asterisk.
    	
    See also, descriptions of coded attributes
    	_______________________________________________________________________________
    
    								---- File ----   Table
    	Attribute information           Column name             Result  Sample  
    	_______________________________________________________________________________
    
    	Agency Code		        agency_cd                  X       X       X
    	USGS site number	        site_no                    X       X       X
    	Begin date		        sample_dt                  X       X       X
    	Begin time		        sample_tm                  X       X       X
    	End date*		        sample_end_dt              X       X       X
    	End time*		        sample_end_tm              X       X       X
    	Time datum*		        sample_start_time_datum_cd X       X       X
    	Time datum reliability code*    tm_datum_rlbty_cd          X       X       X
    	Agency collecting sample code   coll_ent_cd                X       X       X
    	Sample medium code	        medium_cd                  X       X       X
    	Project identifier*	        project_cd                 /       /       /
    	Geologic unit code*	        aqfr_cd                    /       /       /
    	Taxonomic unit code*	        tu_id                      X       X       X
    	Body-part code*		        body_part_id               X       X       X
    	Analysis-source code	        anl_src_cd                 /       /       /
    	Hydrologic-condition code       hyd_cond_cd                /       /       /
    	Sample-type code		samp_type_cd               /       /       /
    	Hydrologic-event code	        hyd_event_cd               /       /       /
    	Message from lab*		sample_lab_cm_tx           /       /       /
    	Parameter code		        parm_cd                    X       X       X
    	Remark code		        remark_cd                  X       X       X
    	Parameter value		        result_va                  X       X       X
    	Result value qualifier codes*   val_qual_tx                X       \       /
    	Method code		        meth_cd                    X       -       -
    	Data-quality indicator code*    dqi_cd                     X       -       -
    	Reporting level*	        rpt_lev_va                 X       -       -
    	Reporting-level type code*      rpt_lev_cd                 X       -       -
    	Lab standard deviation*	        lab_std_va                 X       -       -
    	Preparation set identifier*	prep_set_no                /       -       -
    	Result preparation date*	prep_dt                    /       -       -
    	Analysis set number*	        anl_set_no                 /       -       -
    	Result analysis date*	        anl_dt                     /       -       -
    	Lab result comment*	        result_lab_cm_tx           /       -       -
    	Analyzing entity code           anl_ent_cd                 X       -       -
    	______________________________________________________________________________
    	
  • Other new retrieval options include the ability to retrieve sampling date and time in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) or in the time zone used by the sampling personnel. When all results for a sample are retrieved on each output row, the user has the option to segregate remark codes from numeric values in separate columns, facilitating ease of use of the retrieved data with other software.
  • Are you looking to regularly retrieve information from the this site system? If so, then this new FAQ can help lead you in the right direction to effectively obtaining your information with minimal disruption of web services for everyone.