College of Architecture Professor Works with NDNR to Improve Geohydrologic Data Information Portal

College of Architecture Professor Works with NDNR to Improve Geohydrologic Data Information Portal

By Kerry McCulloug...

August 3, 2016

Dr. Zhenghong Tang

Dr. Zhenghong Tang, professor of Community and Regional Planning with UNL's College of Architecture along with Dr. Hongfeng Yu with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering have just been awarded a $46,130 contract from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) for the improvement of the NDNR INSIGHT (an Integrated Network of Scientific Information and GeoHydrologic Tools) system which provides an annual snapshot of water conditions across the state of Nebraska.

The project, entitled "Improving INSIGHT to Serve Broader Needs for Stakeholders" intends to improve upon the services INSIGHT offers its users and stakeholders by conducting a system analysis, providing recommendations for improvements and then implementing those recommendations.

The INSIGHT system provides hydrologic data consolidated from several different sources, including the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and local natural resources districts. This information includes local and statewide data on water supplies, water demands, and the nature and extent of water use and balance.

INSIGHT and its collaborators would like to further improve the existing geospatial platform to host increased and expanded geohydrologic data for a more complete picture of water conditions and trends across the state of Nebraska. Such vital information can be used for planning projects, formulating policies and predicting future environmental occurrences.

Initially the team will administer a survey and in-depth stakeholder interviews to understand the users' experience and collect feedback. The website developers will incorporate those findings into site enhancements and features creating a more efficient, accurate and user-friendly experience for the end-user.

Furthermore, a national case study will explore various geospatial data platforms utilized by other states. The findings will be incorporated into the next platform design, one that will interface with mobile app users. The interactive information platform will provide researchers, stakeholders and general citizens easily accessible geohydrologic data at click of a button.

"By integrating these technologies and system improvements, we will be able to provide stakeholders with a more accurate portrayal and a greater understanding of environmental conditions across the state of Nebraska," Tang commented.

Tang and his collaborators have developed several environmental information systems for environmental data collections such as such Nebraska Wetlands, the U.S. Green Infrastructure Reporter, and the Omaha Green Infrastructure to name a few. These information platforms have been designed to present environmental data in an easily accessible and readily understandable format, promoting public awareness and engagement in environmental issues.