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South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)

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South Florida Information Access

Project Proposal for 2001



Project Chief: Heather Henkel
Email: hhenkel@usgs.gov
Phone: (727) 803-8747 ext. 3028
Fax: (727) 803-2032
Mail address:
Center for Coastal Geology,
600 4th St. South,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Other Participating Program(s):
Project title: South Florida Information Access Website (SOFIA)
Ecosystem: South Florida
Project start date: April 1996
Project end date: September 30, 2002



The south Florida ecosystem, encompassing the Kissimmee River Valley, Florida Bay, urban areas, developed agricultural areas, rangelands, and wetlands, has been altered greatly over the last 100 years. Resource managers, Federal, State, and local agencies, and other groups are seeking to reverse environmentally damaging actions taken during that period. The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a research program in support of the restoration of the Everglades and South Florida ecosystem in 1995. USGS personnel have been conducting research projects designed to provide sound scientific information on which resource managers can base their decisions. The USGS also has recognized the need for a central site to provide all interested parties with 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. All USGS South Florida Place-Based Studies research projects, ranging from mercury contamination in the Everglades to coral reef decline, are online at this site. The site provides project descriptions, proposals, publication references, data, presentations, and contact information, as well as general interest items, such as photographs and posters.


FY 2000 accomplishments

The SOFIA website continued has continued to grow since its redesign in 1999:

  • New projects have been added to the site, and existing projects have been updated. The SOFIA website now contains over 1100 pages.
  • Data has been added and updated on the Data Exchange site (http://sofia.usgs.gov/exchange/)
  • The South Florida Restoration Science Forum website is substantially complete (http://sofia.usgs.gov/sfrsf/)
  • A virtual tour of south Florida was added (http://sofia.usgs.gov/virtual_tour/), with the addition of a specialized section for children (grades 1-6)
  • SOFIA has started working with Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, FL, and is providing assistance with web page design. SOFIA will also be hosting materials for Forest Hill HS.
  • Increased the visibility and presence of the website through conferences and by actively placing links at major web portals, including Yahoo, Lycos, and Infoseek.
  • Search engine capabilities have been improved with the Ultraseek server. This allows us to provides superior search capabilities for the site.
  • Several major USGS publications have been published on the site including:
  • Upgraded and refined a functioning National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) node which is available through the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Clearinghouse.
  • Uptime for the SOFIA website was over 99% (which included one scheduled Y2K service interruption)

FY 2000 products completed or nearly completed

FY 2000 stakeholder meetings or other outreach activities

  • The SOFIA website was demonstrated at the USGS Annual Open House (Reston, VA) in December 1999
  • Poster presentation highlighting the South Florida website was given for the International Association of Landscape Ecologists (IALE) conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. in April 2000
  • Another poster presentation (designed for the general public) was given at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, FL
  • The SOFIA website (with the addition of the south Florida Virtual Tour) was demonstrated at the USGS Open House in St. Petersburg, FL in October 2000
  • Over 1000 3x5 cards advertising the site have been handed out at various other functions


FY 2001 activities:


  • Standard additions to existing project pages
  • Expanded data access through the data exchange site and database
  • Update of existing and addition of new metadata records
  • Increased focus on outreach content
  • Site revisions to insure usability for all visitors (a partial site redesign in expected)
  • Addition of specialized metatags to all web documents. Metatags are added to each web page to include specific information pertaining to that page. This helps the user retrieve exactly the information they are looking for.


  • Addition of new project pages
  • All synthesis reports for the SOFIA program will be added to the site
  • Site revisions and updates
  • Addition of materials for Forest Hill HS
  • Addition of the USGS Proceedings from the GEER conference
  • Links to the south Florida Geode and south Florida Bibliography will be added for each project (where applicable)
  • Talks given at Forest Hill HS will be posted
  • Hardware and bandwidth expansion to accommodate multimedia and increased number of users that visit the site
  • Coordinate a greater level of consistency between Place-Based Science websites

FY 2001 deliverables/products:

  • The SOFIA website will be doubling the number of projects on its site, in addition to providing all documents related to each project (publications, proposals, metadata, data sets for the data exchange site).
  • In addition, any south Florida publications that are currently not available on-line will be made available through the SOFIA website.
  • We will work with other SOFIA projects (database, bibliography, Geode) to insure that there is a smooth integration between these products.

FY 2001 outreach:

  • A poster presentation will be given at the GEER conference in December of 2000
  • We will also be demonstrating the site at the USGS Train Show in December of 2000
  • We will begin working with USF to use them as a resource in helping us get involved with local schools.
  • We will also be working with the Museum of Discovery and Science to help design a south Florida display for the museum.
  • We will continue to work with Forest Hill High School to help develop a web presence with them.


Names and expertise of key project staff:

  • Heather Henkel, webmaster and project management
  • Web Designer (Kathy Pegram)
  • Web Specialist (Tracy Enright)
  • Rob Wertz, network support

Major equipment/facility needs:

1. Upgrade web server (CPU, memory, disk space, machine upgrades)
2. Software upgrades (including the Ultraseek search engine)
3. Desktops and peripherals
4. Network support

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Last updated: 09 April, 2014 @ 10:56 AM (KP)