We’ve been rather inactive here over the last six or so months, for any of several reasons (most of them good) that I won’t get into. But now that the weather is turning for the season in our neck(s) of the woods, we’ve got more time to sit down and work on fleshing out the database a bit more again. To get things moving again, we’ve got a pretty substantial update for you: our full data set for the entire country of New Zealand. Turns out, New Zealand has a lot of waterfalls: we’ve recorded 2,217 so far, and still counting! We’ve already spotted at least two dozen more that our initial data set didn’t pick up from our mapping efforts, so we’ll be adding more in the future, but for now this should keep curious eyes quite busy.
Up next, we’re returning to our effort to finish out the data for the United States.
One of our faithful visitors recently shared a some pretty spectacular footage with us of New Zealand’s very rarely seen, yet quite obviously spectacular Turner Falls. According to topographic maps, this waterfall is noted as dropping 265 meters / 870 feet, however the contours of the maps actually contradict this measurement, and suggest that it’s actually more like 380 meters / 1,260 feet tall. These are the first images we’ve seen of Turner excluding the aerial imagery visible on Google Earth, and it reveals this beast to be even more impressive than we suspected – leading us to suspect that it is indeed much closer to 380 meters tall, and that it may just rank as the 2nd best waterfall in New Zealand, only behind arguably the best waterfall in the southern hemisphere, Sutherland Falls.
Following up to our post from before Christmas, we just posted part two of our December 2015 data publish, adding an additional 543 waterfalls to the database; 278 more entries in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and in the United States, additions in the following states: Washington (203), Oregon (37), California (12), Montana (8), and Colorado (6). Through this process we identified a problem with our data import system that was resulting in duplicate entries in certain circumstances. While we’re fairly certain we cleaned out all of the duplicates from the recent imports, there may be some still floating around out there that we haven’t caught yet. If you do see any entries which appear to be duplicates (mapped twice, for example), please let us know – this shouldn’t be an issue going forward.
With this recent data publish, our database currently sits at over 17,000 waterfalls and counting. Keep in mind that our primary focus thus far has been to get all of our data for the United States online first, so given that this only accounts for a small fraction of the globe, that’s a pretty astounding number. When we finally get around to adding heavyweight countries like Norway, France, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, let alone finishing up the rest of Canada (Ontario and Quebec alone should add at LEAST another 1,500 entries), we’ll be looking at a staggering number of waterfalls inventoried! Hopefully in 2016 we’re able to grow the data much further and faster than we were able to this year.
In a completely unexpected turn of events, we’re really bad at getting new data up on the website. Shocking, I know. Well, better late than never I suppose? Having become abundantly obvious to us a few weeks ago that it had been nearly a year since we’d posted any new data to the database, we decided it was time to re-evaluate our strategy and see if maybe we can do things in a slightly more efficient way. So, rather than waiting until we have fully proofed our internal data sets and ensured they are as complete as possible, we are going to try to post whatever we have ready to go as soon as it’s possible (within our not terribly flexible schedules at least).
That said, we’ve just posted data for several regions of North America: in the United States we’ve added nearly the complete data sets for Maine (238 entries) and Georgia (152 entries so far – more to be added later), as well as a smattering of additional falls in Minnesota, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, and Ohio. In Canada, we’ve added the very limited data sets we had for Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, as well as the full data set for Saskatchewan (yes, there are in fact waterfalls in Saskatchewan), as well as a solitary entry in New Brunswick which shares the border with Maine.
We will probably try to get one more publish done before the end of the year, with possibly the rest of the Georgia and Maine data, as well as additions to Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and more of the mountainous western states, and hopefully at least one full set for one of the remaining US States which hasn’t been published yet.
Probably the most glaring issue with our website has been the ability to easily browse the contents of the database to find any given waterfall. For years we had been meaning to address the issue but simply never got a chance to for whatever reason (and many of them not very good at that). Well we’ve finally been able to do something about it, and today marks the launch of our new Mapping tool.
With this new system you will be able to browse the entire contents of our database in a Google Maps window. To start, this is limited only to browsing by any given country – and in certain cases States or Provinces within that country (currently this only applies to the United States, Canada, and Australia, but will expand in the future). In the future we plan on adding the ability to display search results and Top 100 lists on the map, and expand on the flexibility of the system further.
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