2012 Campaign – Map the Water Table
|July 9, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Drinking Water, Environmentalism, GIS, Groundwater and Surface Water, Groundwater Modeling, GroundwaterGo, Open Source, Visualization|
Massachusetts-based non-profit, GroundwaterGo.com, is developing an internet map of the water table for Northeastern US states. Over the internet, the Map the Water Table project will show a contour map of the water table for any street address in New England or New York. A prototype of the website is available at: http://www.groundwatergo.com/home/prototype/.
The purpose of the Map the Water Table project is to make understanding groundwater more accessible and fun. It will show residents if their groundwater supply is downhill of a known polluter or if their water table is declining over time, and enable people to better communicate with policy makers about groundwater regulations. As individuals and organizations become more educated about groundwater, they will be empowered to protect the quality of their water supply.
Data Entry Form
This website will be completed within 6 months of funding. It will be housed on the GroundwaterGo.com server. The project is based on an algorithm developed by GroundwaterGo.com, which is the subject of an academic paper currently under review. The algorithm works on surface characteristics of digital elevation rasters (topography maps). These maps, published by the US Geological Survey, are free and available to the public.
The project will rely on GRASS GIS, an open sourced mapping software, and the code will be written in Python, HTML, and PHP. The code of the Map the Water Table Project will be available to everyone under an open source license.
We are attempting to raise $3000. Please donate to this project and receive an awesome reward.
Why This Project Matters
Groundwater provides half of all drinking water in this country and 40% of all agricultural irrigation. In the future, humans’ dependence on groundwater will expand. Climate change will result in an increased reliance on groundwater for drinking water supplies, because groundwater is better buffered than surface water from the immediate effects of climate change.
Yet, due to its invisibility, the importance of groundwater is often minimized by residents, policy makers, and scientists. Most Americans don’t understand the sources of groundwater, how it moves beneath the ground, or what happens when it becomes polluted. Between 1996 and 2000, researchers conducted polls about groundwater literacy for the report, Michigan Citizens Knowledge, Attitudes, and Groundwater Stewardship Practices: A longitudinal study 1996-2000. On average, residents answered only 56% of these questions correctly (Holsman et al. 2000).
Furthermore, groundwater management has trouble attracting attention from donors and its importance has been marginalized in development strategies. In the 2009 news brief, Effects of Climate Variability and Change on Groundwater Resources of the United States, the US Geological Survey wrote: “In recent decades, many scientific studies have improved understanding of the effects of climate change on water resources; however, research has focused primarily on surface water because of the visibility, accessibility, and more obvious recognition of climate effects on surface water than on groundwater (USGS 2009).”
The Map the Water Table project will directly address these problems by making the water table visible to everyone.
The team leader, Karen Madsen, has a BS from the University of North Dakota in Civil Engineering and a MS in Environmental Engineering from Tufts University. She has over 10 years of experience with geographic information systems and programing.
Our programming architect, Andrea Berman, has a BA in Computer Science from Ithaca College and over 10 years of programming work experience. She will aid in the strategic design of the website server.
Dawn Saliba, our social media and design consultant, is a performance artist and writer. She is currently a PhD candidate at Binghamton University in Jacobean Drama. Dawn will assist in the website visual design and will help GroundwaterGo.com communicated effectively with constituents.
GroundwaterGo.com is a fiscally sponsored project of the Open Space Institute. Our mission is to develop internet-based mapping tools that can help educate people about groundwater flow and contamination.
The Open Space Institute (OSI) protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, regional loan programs, fiscal sponsorship, creative partnerships, and analytical research.
Holsman RH, Linderman K, Krueger D, Suvedi M. 2000. Michigan Citizens Knowledge, Attitudes, and Groundwater Stewardship Practices: A longitudinal study 1996-2000. Center for Evaluative Studies and Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program.
USGS. (2009). Effects of Climate Variability and Change on Groundwater Resources of the United States. Office of Global Change. US Department of the Interior.