At the first Twin Cities Data Visualization Hack-a-thon I had the great pleasure to partner up with a team of data visualizers to look at the changes in water table levels in Minnesota. Kaisa Taipale, Nathaniel Bird, Kristen Murray and I all worked together to locate data related to the changing water levels in Minnesota. We identified lakes that had seen a dramatic change in water levels like White Bear Lake and we used a lot of hacks to pull that some of the data we found into a variety of visualizations.
We wanted to create an animation showing the changes in White Bear Lake water levels. We hacked a map of Minnesota lakes depths from the DNR Data Deli and created a topographic cross-section of White Bear Lake. Using water level data from the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Lake Finder, the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, the USGS, and the NOAA, we mapped the year-over-year changes. You can see in the animation on the left the that the lake levels have changed as much as five feet over the years, which has created deep concern with residents of White Bear Lake.
The team also created an arial video view of the changing shoreline of White Bear Lake. We downloaded historical aerial photos of the change shoreline from the Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online database and created a time-lapse video. And we also compared changes of water levels with the same year-over-year precipitation levels to look for patterns in weather related to lake levels.
Kaisha has posted the comparison along with a good overview of what we accomplished on her blog Earth Calculus.
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