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South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)

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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Initiative (Place-Based Studies)

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Report

Project Title: South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) Website

Project Start Date: 1996 Project End Date: 2005

Web Sites:, (Place-Based Studies (PBS) website)

Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Total System; Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk and St. Lucie Counties

Funding Source: USGS's Greater Everglades Science Initiative (PBS)

Principal Investigator(s): Heather Henkel,, 727-803-8747 x3028

Project Personnel: Tracy Enright,, Kathy Pegram,

Supporting Organizations: None

Associated / Linked Projects: SOFIA Database (Sonenshein), SOFIA Metadata (Stapleton), SOFIA IMS/Geospatial Interface (Sonenshein), Development of a Digital Geo/Bio-Library (Sonenshein)

Overview & Objective(s): In 1995, the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a research program in support of the restoration of the Everglades and South Florida ecosystem. USGS personnel have been conducting research projects designed to provide sound scientific information upon which resource managers can base their decisions. The USGS also has recognized the need for a central site to provide all interested parties with interdisciplinary information from this research and access to these data. The South Florida Information Access web site (SOFIA) was created as a 'one-stop-shopping' access point for research on south Florida. The site provides project descriptions, publications, data, metadata, presentations, and contact information, as well as general interest items, such as photographs and posters for all south Florida PBS projects. Over the last five years, the website has seen a sizable increase in visitors, from under 80 visitors/day in 1998 to over 1400 visitors/day (early 2003). The site has also grown tremendously in content during this time, and currently contains over 5500 documents.

Status: During the April, 2003 Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) conference, the SOFIA site conducted a usability test to determine how effectively the SOFIA site presented information and to also find out what we could do to improve the site. Forty people participated in the test, including scientists and managers from various federal and state agencies and universities. The site did very well, with 100% stating that they would return to the SOFIA site and 90% stating that the SOFIA team can help them do their job better. In FY 04, the SOFIA site will continue to add new (as well as historical) items to the site, as well as ensuring that the site remains an effective, usable, and Section 508-compliant website.

Recent & Planned Products: We are in the process of posting all available materials from the 2003 GEER conference. In addition, we are working on posting "historical"; publications on SOFIA, such as the Fish and Stewart publication ( We are also adding new datasets to the SOFIA data exchange pages as they become available. Each south Florida PBS project has a webpage on the SOFIA site. Additionally, will be posting all available project materials, such as workplans, summary sheets, and publications.

The SOFIA website was demonstrated at several events last year, including two USGS open houses, and the 2003 GEER conference. As mentioned above, SOFIA conducted a usability study at the GEER conference, and will be taking the results from that study and improving the site. A report detailing the usability study will be available this FY.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs: The SOFIA website is the core component of the SOFIA decision support system. Through the SOFIA site, access is provided to over 5500 documents as well as data and metadata. SOFIA provides scientists and managers with one place to go to for south Florida restoration information.

Key Findings:

  • Each year, the SOFIA site has grown tremendously in content and number of visitors; SOFIA currently includes over 5500 documents and visitors to the SOFIA site has grown from 67 visitors/day in 1998 to over 1400 visitors/day in 2003
  • Usability test conducted on the SOFIA website demonstrated its success and effectiveness
  • 87% of participants in the usability study stated that they had been to the SOFIA site before

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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:08 PM(TJE)