World Waterfall Database

Recent News and Latest Information

Our New Home and Look

March 19, 2017

Though we had planned on doing an extensive overhaul of the World Waterfall Database in the not-too-distant future, our time table was moved up somewhat unexpectedly due to the sooner-than-expected expiration of our account at our previous server. So, obviously things look a bit different around here, and chances are there are going to be some glitches and bugs to work out of the system following the move and spitshine that we gave the website.

Now that we've moved over to our new digital home, our database is once again unified and we will continue to work toward our immediate goals of getting the administration system back online and functioning - this is all step 1 in our long term plans of opening up the World Waterfall Database to crowdsourced contribution. If it hasn't been painfully obvious to our readers, we have a pretty hard time getting new data added to the database in a timely fashion, so we will be building out infrastructure to allow YOU to help get us the data we need. These changes are still a ways out, but our goal is to have it partially operating this year.

In the mean time, almost everything from the old website is still here and functions the same as it did before - there are a few smaller features which we haven't yet re-enabled, and we're still working on importing our old Blog posts, but that should all be taken care of in the next several weeks or so. Additionally, we've added a few new minor features - browsing by Country is now easier (see the Database menu at the top of the page), the Map browser has been updated to be more responsive and friendly to Mobile devices. We are in the process of ensuring the site has good Mobile support as well, but that is one of the big "to be completed" tasks we have left, so for the time being things will look a bit odd on your Phone and possibly Tablet.

New Zealand is bursting with Waterfalls

October 22, 2016

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.

New Zealand's elusive Turner Falls

February 20, 2016

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.

See for yourselves:

December Update Number Two

December 29, 2015

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.

December Update Number One

December 21, 2015

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.

Introducing the new Map tool

January 11, 2015

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.

map-preview

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.

Check it out for yourself - click here (or the image above) to launch the Map.

All sorts of Holiday Goodies

December 20, 2014

We haven't exactly been very vigilant about posting updates here over the last six months, but long time readers may have come to expect that sort of inconsistency.  Usually that that means is we've been working tirelessly...well, maybe almost tirelessly... on getting more content prepared and rolling out new features for the website.  So, in honor of the holiday season, here's our present to our readers:

Complete data for the following States has been posted:

Arkansas (454 waterfalls)

Kentucky (101 waterfalls)

Missouri (16 waterfalls)

North Carolina (651 waterfalls)

Oklahoma (36 waterfalls)

Texas (94 waterfalls)

With these updates we now have data for 36 out of 50 states, and brings our grand total of waterfalls in the United States (so far) up to a whopping 10,919, and when all is said and done we expect that number to climb closer to 14,000 (and of course, it will continue to grow as we find and inventory more and more waterfalls).

In addition to the United States coverage, we also added data for 492 waterfalls in Iceland, about eighty of which we had the opportunity to survey back in August.  To date we've posted reports on about half of those, and the remaining reports (as well as pictures) will be posted when we can get around to them.

Lastly, in addition to continuously adding more data, we've been working on overhauling some of the systems that power the website.  We've got some much needed changes in the pipeline that we hope to have launched by the end of the year.  If you follow us on Facebook (which you should), you may have seen mention of a new mapping system coming down the line.  Well it's getting close.  I can't say exactly when it will be ready, because there are a couple other dependencies that have to be finished first.  But it's coming.  Soon.  I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but I will say that it will make navigating and searching for waterfalls in the database infinitely easier right off the bat, and will allow us some much needed expansion capability in the future as well.  Stay tuned.

Flood record shattered at Iguacu Falls

June 13, 2014

The upper basin of the Iguacu River in Brazil has seen prolonged heavy rain recently, which has caused the Iguacu River to swell to previously unheard of proportions.  Iguacu Falls, which lies on the border between Brazil and Argentina, is currently in a spate that has absolutely shattered its previous record levels.  In 1992 the river reached a flow of 36,000 cubic meters - or 1.27 million cubic feet - of water flowing over the falls every second.  Today the river is said to have peaked out at 46,800 cubic meters - or 1.65 million cubic feet - of water every second.  That's approximately 3 times as much water as the average flow of the Mississippi River, and 5 times as much as the St. Lawrence River below Lake Ontario.  In fact, that's more water every second than the average volume of any other river on earth except for the Amazon!  That's so much water that the lower tier of the 269 foot tall falls was almost entirely submerged from the water backing up in the gorge.

See for yourself:

Michigan Waterfalls

February 16, 2014

Michigan is not a state that one may immediately assume to be a destination for waterfall hunting. This is certainly understandable given that the majority of the state is really, really flat - the state's high point is a paltry 1,709 feet above sea level, and lowest point is the surface of Lake Erie at 571 feet above sea level. Considering the majority of the population of Michigan lives on the lower peninsula, its rather understandable that not many of its residence may be aware of the cornucopia of waterfalls which can be found in the state.

All but two of Michigan's 272 recorded waterfalls occur on its upper peninsula - though technically there are three entries in the database for the lower peninsula, but one of them is not considered to be a legitimate waterfall. Despite the generally flat terrain, the geology of Michigan's upper peninsula is very conducive to the formation of waterfalls along its many streams and rivers. Though there are only about 16 waterfalls in the state known to drop more than 50 feet (three of which are over 100 feet tall), there are literally dozen and dozens of smaller falls which are quite worthy of note. To accompany this situation however, there are also many features which have been granted the title of "Falls" over the years which in reality are not even remotely significant enough to be legitimately considered waterfalls.

Hotbed areas to target when planning on hunting down many of Michigan's waterfalls include the Porcupine Mountains - especially the Black River and Presque Isle River corridors - the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore area around Munising, though in general pretty much anywhere within 5 miles of the shore of Lake Superior is a good place to look for waterfalls given the extremely prolific sandstone formations which can be found in the area.

Welcome to the new World Waterfall Database

June 26, 2011

Finally. Years of work and much hair pulling later, we present to you the brand new, totally overhauled, infinitely more in-depth World Waterfall Database. Not only does this version of the website look much spiffier, but we've added a whole slew of new features, with even more to come in the (hopefully) not too distant future. What's new, you ask? Well, read on.

Firstly, as you can see, we have a blog now. Actually we had a blog before, but we never posted anything on it and nobody ever read it either, so this is essentially a new feature. Frequent visitors to the site as well as those interested in the topic are encouraged to subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up with the postings, because there will be a lot.

Next up, we've expanded our Tallest Waterfalls and Largest Waterfalls lists to include multiple different methods of searching the database, such as limiting the Tallest list to only waterfalls which drop freely or only the tallest single drop. As always, as we expand our data these lists will change (especially the Largest lists, which are currently fairly limited in scope to just the globally significant waterfalls).

As far as the actual data for each waterfall, we've broadened the data displayed as well. Where geodata is available for a given waterfall, not only will you see it displayed in embedded maps, you'll see up to 10 additional waterfalls within 5 miles/ 8km (if there are any), and be able to download placemarks for the waterfalls and view them in Google Earth. We've got a new rating system that allows waterfalls to be ranked globally or on a more local level, fingertip reference regarding the validity and accuracy of the data about each entry, information about access and detailed directions where the World Waterfall Database has surveyed the falls, and many more pictures than before.

Next up, we're greatly expanding the capacity of the website. The previous iteration was dedicated essentially to inventorying the tallest and largest waterfalls on the planet. Our immediate and future goal, however, is to inventory every waterfall on the planet. Yes, this is ambitious. This will not be a short-term project, and because so much of the earth has yet to be thoroughly explored, it may never be a completed project. Over the next several months to years we will be uploading every scrap of data we have to the database and as of launch we are estimating that when it has all been uploaded we may have 50,000 or more waterfalls cataloged. The order in which we will be adding the data has not yet been determined, but we will most likely be beginning with the United States and Canada and working outward from there.

Those of you who have accounts with Flickr, we have set up a World Waterfall Database group in which you can share your photographs with us. We eventually hope to utilized the photos submitted to this group for display on the website (those who are willing to allow us to do so), so this is a great, easy way that you can help us out.

Next up, because both Dean Goss and myself collect books on the topic of waterfalls, we decided it was time to "share" our libraries, so to speak. We've added an extensive Waterfall book bibliography and corresponding reviews for each title we have access to. Where available, links are provided to Amazon for those of you interested in purchasing any (doing so will help support this site, and it is most appreciated).

We've overhauled our Top 100 list (with further revisions to come), added a section where we will be authoring extensive articles and papers related to the subject of waterfalls, and we have many more features planned in the coming months - fully interactive maps for browsing the waterfalls we have cataloged, the ability for visitors to comment on waterfalls as well as share photographs directly without having to email them to us, video blogs and possibly even some wiki features in the future.

Until then, there is plenty to see and play with right now. For launch, in addition to the pre-existing global data, we've added complete data sets for the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, as well as the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia (more information about these regions coming soon in subsequent posts). Photographs for Washington and Oregon are in the process of being uploaded and providing everything is functioning properly, we should begin adding new data sets before the end of the year.

Thanks all for visiting and supporting this site, and we look forward to keeping this project alive for decades to come.

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