The Delaware Geological Survey has unveiled a new version of their public web site. Although many of the technologies employed are consistent with modern web standards, giving the user a familiar feel and comfort level, this version pays particular attention to information and the retrieval of it.
The site is designed to encourage exploration of content rather than searching for specific terms, although it serves both purposes. Seemingly disparate information is linked together through a common set of place names and topical keywords, also known as tagging, making it easy for people to "jump" to different parts of the site. Along with keyword tagging, this is also done using dynamic menus and blocks, and interactive exhibits using faceted filtering. Each page can also easily be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites.
Highlights of the new site include:
- a complete list of 200+ official DGS publications available for download, displayed in an interactive exhibit of faceted authors, keywords, locations, and dates.
- over two dozen digital datasets, including surficial geologic and hydrogeologic maps, available for download in GIS formats and as WMS mapping services
- the current Water Conditions Summary for Delaware, including historical data and interactive hydrographs for 30 groundwater, precipitation, and stream gage stations
- numerous photos and scans of interesting rock outcrops and fossils found throughout Delaware
- historical data and hydrographs for 115+ actively monitoring groundwater wells
- a map and listing of all earthquakes that have occurred within Delaware's state boundaries
- an identification sheet of fossils commonly found in Delaware
- all editions of First State Geology (the DGS newsletter) available as PDF since its inaugural issue during Summer 1983
- an interactive photo display of all DGS staff with integrated areas of interest and a comprehensive bio on each member
- a timeline of the history of DGS, current projects, and more!
With this current release, many of the activities, services and research performed by the DGS are now much more easily accessible to the general public as well as colleagues throughout the state and within the University of Delaware. Better integration with Internet-based search engines and a heavy use of keyword tagging connect information in various ways, bringing to the forefront the breadth and depth of DGS' scientific expertise. The site simultaneously serves as 1) a brochure promoting DGS to attract other research collaborators as well as for recruitment purposes, 2) an educational document on the geology and hydrogeology of Delaware, 3) a data and information distribution mechanism, and 4) a point of contact to receive feedback and questions from the public.
The new DGS web site is built upon the Drupal content management system and makes heavy use of several open source software packages and embedded maps using the Google Maps user interface. Geospatial map services are available as WMS by the MapServer mapping engine . News and announcements are also available as RSS feeds.