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South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)


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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) Initiative

Fiscal Year 2005 Study Summary Report

Study Title: South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) Website
Study Start Date: 1996 Study End Date: 2007
Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Total System (All)
Funding Source: U. S. Geological Survey's Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) Initiative
Principal Investigator(s): Heather S. Henkel
Study Personnel: Tracy Enright, Kathy Pegram
Supporting Organizations: None
Associated / Linked Studies: SOFIA Database (Sonenshein), SOFIA Metadata (Stapleton), SOFIA IMS/Geospatial Interface (Sonenshein), Development of a Digital Geo/Bio-Library (Sonenshein)

Overview & Objective(s): The South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) system was created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1995. Its mission is to provide easy access to information about research projects and products generated as part of the USGS South Florida Priority Ecosystems Science (PES) Program and other Federal, state, and local science providers. SOFIA provides this service by integrating information systems and tools enabling efficient storage, organization, and search and retrieval of scientific information about the south Florida ecosystem. SOFIA was designed to benefit three major user groups: USGS program managers and scientists working with the South Florida Priority Ecosystems Science (PES) Initiative, managers and scientists working for other organizations involved with Everglades restoration, and members of the public interested in USGS research and/or the science behind the Everglades restoration effort.

SOFIA is an evolving and dynamic system that builds on the ever-increasing sophistication of new information technology. The current architecture consists of three integrated components: website, data, and metadata. The SOFIA website (http://sofia.usgs.gov/) contains links to project descriptions, proposals, publications, data (through links to our data exchange site), metadata, presentations, and contact information, as well as general interest items, such as photographs and posters.

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. The site did very well, with 100% stating that they would return to the SOFIA site and 90% stating that the SOFIA team helps them do their job better. In addition to the usability study, the SOFIA website has a short survey that users can take online. Almost all users who have taken the survey are extremely happy with the website, not only with its wealth of information, but the ease with which they are able to access that information.

In the past year, the SOFIA website has continued to post all relevant south Florida information, including publications, data, metadata, as well as project and personnel information.

Recent Products:

  • SOFIA News”: SOFIA News is a bimonthly email update of new postings on the SOFIA website. These updates include announcements of new publications and data sets, new and continuing project information, notification of upcoming meetings, as well as other related information. SOFIA News has grown to 226 subscribers.
  • Enhanced search capability for publications database: This database-driven website allows users to search our online publications by author, publication type, and topic. The publications database currently contains records for over 740 publications.
  • Metadata: With the assistance from Jo Anne Stapleton, existing metadata records were updated with ISO topic keywords so that we can serve records through geodata.gov. (Geodata.gov is part of the Geospatial One-Stop E-Gov initiative providing access to geospatial data and information.) SOFIA already serves metadata through the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) clearinghouse.
  • Website additions: We have continued to add to our website by posting new publications, data sets, project information (proposals, summary reports, work plans, personnel information, and project linkages), and metadata records. In addition, we are developing web pages on SOFIA for other federal agencies.

Planned Products:

  • Redesign SOFIA Data Exchange site to provide better access to data sets
  • Maintenance of existing metadata records
  • Development of SOFIA Internet Map Server (IMS)
  • Continued additions to existing site (publications, data, metadata, project information)

Specific Relevance to Information Needs Identified in DOI's Science Plan in Support of Ecosystem Restoration, Preservation, and Protection in South Florida (DOI's Everglades Science Plan) [See Plan on SOFIA's Web site: http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/reports/doi-science-plan/]:

The south Florida restoration effort requires multidisciplinary information related to present and historical conditions for use in responsible decision-making. The SOFIA website provides centralized, seamless access to all information produced by the USGS PES program, as well as other related information produced outside of the program.

Key Findings:

  1. SOFIA continues to increase the amount of information that is provided on the website. The SOFIA website currently contains over 6500 documents.
  2. SOFIA also continues to see an increase in the number of visits to the site from just under 80 per day in 1998 to over 2600 per day in 2004.
  3. SOFIA News continues to be a success in keeping scientists, managers and decision-makers appraised of new information available on the website. We have seen a steady growth in new subscribers since inception.



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