The value of agile approaches in visualizing California's reservoir levels

Assemblymember Dodd's "Open and Transparent Water Data Act" inventories and asks that various public water data sources be integrated.  To show the value of agile approaches, the CaDC partnered with Seed Consulting Group to integrate reservoir levels into a REST API as a small pilot of the broader envisioned water data integration.  

Properly formatted integrated data makes it orders of magnitude easier to visualize reservoir levels than manipulately malformatted html tables or machine illegible pdfs.  The resulting visualization can be seen below, which was produced in a few days by our newest data scientist at the CaDC, David Marulli.

California's reservoir levels over time with the ability to download the underlying data in a machine readable format.

California's reservoir levels over time with the ability to download the underlying data in a machine readable format.

The California Data Exchange, upon which the underlying Seed REST API was built, has a similar visualization for a smaller number of California's reservoirs.  The underlying data, however, is opaque and a user clicking on "current data" gets a pdf version for printing rather than actual machine readable data that can be manipulated.

The REST API has room for improvement, such as the ability to query by more than one reservoir at a time.  This example is intended to illustrate the value of agile approaches to quickly show value and iterate rather than attempting to bite off everything all at once.  A feasibility study of the water data integration proposed by the Dodd bill will be released in the coming weeks.