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February 14, 2017
USGS Releases New JavaScript Library for Plotting Water Data for the Nation

A new JavaScript library, called GWIS (Graphing Water Information System), can create time-series plots of information measured at U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic data collection sites across the United States.

Developed by the USGS Texas Water Science Center, the user-friendly interface integrates the open-source dygraphs JavaScript charting library with hydrologic data provided by USGS water services.

Using GWIS, one or more interactive plots of any current or historical data available from the USGS Instantaneous (Real-Time) Service or Daily Value Service can easily be inserted into a web page. Plot appearance is customizable, and the plots feature interactive zooming, an interactive legend and optional user controls such as full screen and y-axis log scaling. Multiple plot series, double y-axes and pop-up plots are also supported.

Photo of time-series data for the USGS station at Jacobs Well near Wimberley, TX
In this example, time-series data for the USGS station at Jacobs Well near Wimberley, Texas (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=08170990) is shown from January 9 through 29, 2017. The GWIS plot shows both streamflow and specific conductance in the graph. Double y-axes are used showing how specific conductance changes as streamflow increases.

Some GWIS plot features available with the library include:

  • Interactive Zoom: Click-drag vertically or horizontally in the axes to zoom the plot. Double clicking resets the full range.
  • Interactive Legend: Hover over the axes to display values for each series in the legend.
  • Custom Controls: Several tools are available that can be added below the plot.
  • Multiple Data Series Support: Add many data series to your plot.
  • Double Y-Axis Support: Show relationships between data with different units using double y-axes.
  • Customizable Appearance: Style the plot using a variety of options.
Photo of time-series data for the USGS station on the Colorado River at Austin, TX
In this example, time-series data for the USGS station on the Colorado River at Austin, Texas (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=08158000) is shown for the past 365 days. The GWIS plot shows daily mean streamflow plotted in combination with both daily maximum and minimum streamflow. The time slider at the bottom is used to focus on the most recent 180 days of measured data.

Visit the GWIS homepage (https://txpub.usgs.gov/dss/gwis/) to get started. The web page contains several samples, documentation and access to the source code.

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