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Kansas Biological Survey launches first online data portal on Kansas lakes

Friday, November 07, 2014

LAWRENCE — The study of Kansas water resources has become a key initiative at the state’s universities—and a major focus of policy makers, municipalities, businesses, researchers and educators, who increasingly are concerned with the status of those resources.

This fall the Kansas Biological Survey created and launched the online Kansas Lakes and Reservoirs Data Repository Portal — with funding from the Kansas Water Office and the Kansas GIS Policy Board — to bring together data from a variety of sources, making it free and readily available to the public.

“People want online access to data and information about any resource that’s critical to our well-being and quality of life,” said Ed Martinko, director of the Biological Survey.

The portal, which is accessed using an interactive online mapping tool, was created to serve as a central point for users to obtain current and historical data about Kansas lakes and reservoirs. Rather than serving only as a data repository, the portal is a dynamic connection to direct access of datasets from various agencies and groups.

Three programs of the Kansas Biological Survey worked together to develop the portal:

  • the Reservoir Assessment Program, which provides critical information concerning the status and conditions of Kansas reservoirs;
  • the Central Plains Center for BioAssessment, a nonregulatory, nonmanagement aquatic ecology and water quality research program that works in collaboration with state, tribal, federal and academic scientists, and other public entities in USEPA Region 7;
  • the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing program, which conducts applied research and develops tools (including online maps) using remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to aid in decision-making, policy formulation and planning.  

The lakes portal builds on the data collected in the Atlas of Kansas Lakes, published by the Biological Survey earlier this year as the first such reference book. The atlas compiled data gathered by the Survey on 76 of the state’s reservoirs and provided a broad overview of reservoir conditions across the state.

“The Atlas, a hardcopy book, is excellent for anyone interested in water issues in Kansas, with 25 pages of opening material — including charts, maps and photos — that provide a clear, thorough introduction to water bodies and water issues here,” Martinko said.

“The online lakes portal is a different, complementary product. It’s a dynamic resource; new data can be added anytime. The intent is that visitors will be able to find the most current information that addresses their needs and interests.”

The Biological Survey developed the portal using data obtained through its own studies and is encouraging other agencies to contribute web-ready data to it. All contributors will maintain control and ownership of their data.

Other agencies may provide web-enabled data for the portal by contacting the Kansas Biological Survey, which will add the data and maintain the site, attributing all information to respective contributors.

To contribute data to the portal, contact Gina Ross at the Kansas Biological Survey, 785-864-1524 or ginaross@ku.edu.

To buy copies of the Atlas of Kansas Lakes, contact the Kansas Geological Survey, which is coordinating with the Biological Survey on sales and distribution of the Atlas. The cost of the book is $25 per copy, plus tax, shipping and handling. Contact the Kansas Geological Survey at 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047-3724; 785-864-3965; or pubsales@kgs.ku.edu—or at 4150 W. Monroe St., Wichita, KS 67209-2640; 316-943-2343; or wwsl@kgs.ku.edu.

The Kansas Biological Survey is a research unit established at the University of Kansas in 1911.

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