Web tools offer torrents of data on dry spell

Improvements to the online presentation of Taranaki's rainfall and other environmental data are coming into their own in the current dry spell.

A lot of Taranaki people have been looking at rainfall figures from Stratford du

Looking for rain: A lot of Taranaki people have been looking at rainfall figures from Stratford during the current dry spell.

Rainfall is among a number of environmental measures available on the Taranaki Regional Council website, which receives automated feeds of data from the Council’s region-wide network of monitoring stations.

“The improvements are designed to make the web experience more user-friendly,” says the Council’s Director-Environment Quality, Gary Bedford. “They were implemented in October and they couldn’t have come at a better time. The traffic data speaks for itself”

Views of live rainfall graphs and related data on the Council website during November were a half to two-thirds up on the same period last year. The increase is put down to the site improvements as well as the current dry spell and record low rainfall in some locations.

The top four most-viewed locations were Stratford, Cape Egmont, Eltham Rd near Te Kiri in South Taranaki, and North Egmont Visitor Centre.

New features on the website include:

  • More frequent updates.
  • The ability for site visitors to access data for a time period of their own choice.
  • Dynamic graphs that users can adjust to get the view they want.
  • More download options.
  • A generally cleaner layout.

Total page views of rainfall-related data were up nearly 56% for November 2017 compared with November 2016, with an increase of more than 66% in ‘unique’ (new) page views.
Rainfall data from 26 locations is available on the website, updated generally at 15-minute intervals. The data can be displayed as a graph or a table, and the time period adjusted according to the viewer’s requirements.

Website visitors can also access the Council’s live data on wind direction, speed and gusts, air temperature, river flows, levels and water temperatures, soil temperature and soil moisture content, and, during summer, results of regular freshwater and coastal water-quality monitoring at popular bathing spots.

Access this data off the home page at www.trc.govt.nz – click on the ‘maps and data’ link or go down the page to ‘environmental data’.