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The New and Improved Northwest Waterfall Survey
November 21, 2016
It had been almost nine years since we had done any sort of significant work on the Northwest Waterfall Survey, and it was definitely well past the point of needing a facelift. But this wasn't just a makeover for the site, we rebuilt the entire infrastructure from the ground up to better support the expandability we envision for the future. We now finally have the framework in place to move toward being able to freely accept and utilize content and information submitted by our readers. Additionally, the website is now fully responsive and mobile friendly for easy browsing on your phone or tablet. In the future, we plan on expanding our mobile support further as well.
Our design standards have also been adjusted to only support the newest internet browsers available. The site will function correctly in the most current versions of Chrome (our recommendation), Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer 11 (we would discourage its use because it's slow and insecure, and we may not be able to guarantee compatibility going forward). Older browsers are not guaranteed to display the website correctly, and we discourage you from using them. Further, in the future we plan on dropping support for Internet Explorer 11 as well, so make sure you use an up-to-date browser for the best experience.
The option to browse the database based on Region has been removed because the designated Regions were arbitrary and very contextually ambiguous. We felt with the advent of technologies like Google Maps that making our own map and arbitrary divisions thereof was just creating more work than necessary. Likewise the option to browse the database based on Watershed has also been removed - this was mainly because there are too many small drainages in the Northwest with only a handful of waterfalls, while the vast majority fall within the basins of one of the huge rivers (the Columbia, the Snake or the Willamette) and listing all of the falls encompassed within each wouldn't allow for the degree of granularity we wanted.
Given the two changes above, the old Flash-based map has been removed and replaced with a fully-interactive Google Maps window:
- You can browse the database via the map, showing all of the data for any of the three states at once (you cannot see more than one state at a time though). You can also drill down and view the data for any given county within a state.
- The map window has the option to snap and zoom to well known areas to aid in the search for waterfalls near a town, park, or well known landmark.
- The icons shown on the map window can be toggled on and off to aid in visibility in areas of high density.
- The Top 100 list can now be viewed in the map window.
- The icons which represent waterfalls on the map windows, in the table columns, and in the Rating / Status box on a waterfall's page have been updated to use the same graphics as the World Waterfall Database.
- You can now link directly to the map window for any given method of browsing (by State, County, or Top 100 list).
Table List Views
The Tabular lists used when browsing the database has been cleaned up and overhauled to improve readibility. Table rows are now brighter, wider, and highlight based on the status of the waterfall when you move your mouse cursor over it. Additionally:
- At the top of each table is a button to view the tabular data on a Map.
- Each waterfall's associated Status icon is now displayed at the left edge of the table to further visually communicate the status of the entry.
- State data tables (other than the Top 100 list) can now be sorted Alphabetically, by Rating, or by Height.
- The ability to sort County data tables by Rating and Height will be added in the future.
The information on each Waterfall's respective page has been tidied up and reorganized a little as well. We're removed some of the superfluous "filler" content like the links to Flickr, Panoramio, the small social media bookmark buttons, and the links to the third party mapping services like Flash Earth and Terraserver (because frankly Google Maps is the best option available as it is). We've also consolidated the Waterfall Page and the page which its associated photographs would appear on. Additionally:
- Photographs now appear in a sliding carousel, and can be opened in a Lightbox directly from the Waterfall's page rather than having to click through to a second page.
- The Photo Tips section has been moved to the main page from the old secondary page which harbored the photograph thumbnails.
- The map window on each Waterfall's page once again shows the icons of the ten closest waterfalls.
- Below the list of the 10 nearest waterfalls (if there are any are within 5 miles) is a "Find More Nearby Waterfalls" button that will take the user to a Map window centered on the waterfall in question. Panning this map around will then display all waterfalls which appear within the map window.
We have some more small changes that will be implemented in the coming weeks, none of which were determined to be show stoppers to delay launch at all. We would greatly appreciate feedback about the usability of the website; if you have any concerns or issues, or you encounter any bugs please let us know about it. We won't be making any edits or additions to the database probably until after the beginning of the year, because our next task is to completely overhaul our administration system. Once that's done, we'll beging working on our interface to allow User Submitted Information and Pictures, with the goal of having that active by next spring at the latest.
We've been at this for over a decade now. While we're not terribly keen to toot our own horn, if you'd like to know a little bit more about us, head on in here.
|Exactly how many waterfalls do we have inventoried on this website?|
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