Data Visualisation for the Water Industry Webinar: Your questions answered!

Our presenters, Luke Cunningham and Rianda Mills from Rain Consulting, Sarah Martin and Sharon Blum-Caon from the Corangamite CMA, and Christian Borovac from DiscoverEI have kindly responded to the questions asked during the webinar on 28 July 2020.

Questions for Luke Cunningham and Rianda Mills from Rain Consulting

Are those ‘LEGO’ maps made from a software? If it is, which software is that? Thanks!
QGIS a freeware mapping package. Some work required, but no other software script was used.

To confirm – Flourish is free? Love the chasing bar graph.
Yes free to a degree.

Is that Elizabeth St? Flinders St?
No. It is the Melbourne CBD though.

How lego maps add value differently as compared to contour maps?
Two different examples, shows high and low points, offers a fun point of difference, why not draw people in if it is fun?

How did you generate your contours for the last map?

Have you considered 3D lego maps yet?
For sure, would be interested in learning more about this area. To tilt and pan would be a good feature, may work on this one day.

Are the lego maps being tested for accessibility?
Not at this stage – as the map was just completed for fun, we haven’t pushed it much further at this stage.

Was the mitigation option on your triple trouble map obvious? I thought it didn’t really stand out as much as I expected, I liked the display.
No mitigation on one side, the a solution, on this one that option did not work, and a modest reduction in levels, this slide shows through the different panels a difference in the levels and highlights the change in result.

Just curious about how would you balance being colourful and not messy?
Absolutely – this can be tough. We recommend keeping your basemap (ie the background) very simple and limit it to 3 very neutral colours. Then that can allow your data to stand out more. If you feel it’s getting messy, you can then think about which portions of the map could be split to make 2 maps.

Can we access high resolution contours from satellite?
Yes – search for the NASA STRM data. A great plugin for QGIS is “AusMap” – that has a few datasets imbedded in it, as well as google maps, etc.

Does Flourish provide creating dynamic maps?
Flourish does have a map option. Evaluation accounts are free and there are lots of examples to start building with.

Questions for Sarah Martin and Sharon Blum-Caon from the Corangamite CMA

Fantastic presentation thank you! Is there any opportunity to incorporate Citizen Science collected water quality data such as from the Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch Data Portals?
We will look at incorporating Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch data in a future iteration of the tool.

Does the tool scrape data from the WMIS website or is it connected to the WMIS database directly?
The tool extracts a selection of WMIS data from 15 gauges across four systems (Upper Barwon River, Lower Barwon wetlands, Moorabool River and Yarrowee-Leigh River).

From Christian: It makes use of the WMIS API to extract data from the DB – we extract live real time data that we select.

Congratulations Sarah and Sharon it is brilliant. Does it require much maintenance?
Thank you. The tool is an elegant, simple solution that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Once a month the Corangamite CMA’s Environmental Water team will update a CSV file containing data on environmental water releases. The WMIS gauge data automatically refreshes in the tool. Adding new gauges and site photos and updating the map visuals are all manual backend processes, but relatively straightforward.

I love the catchment maps – who did them?
Thanks, we love the them too. Evolution Design (Geelong) created the catchment maps for us.

What features have the public liked the most?
The tool went live on the Corangamite CMA website four days before this webinar, so we are yet to gauge the community response, but look forward to doing that over the next few months.

What sort of information are you going to show on the estuary set? Will you be able to show closures? Oxygen levels that might impact an opening/fish kills?
Sarah: The estuary map is still under development and will be launched later this year. The estuary gauge data includes water levels and, depending on the site, other parameters such as dissolved oxygen, salinity and ph.

Questions for Christian Borovac from DiscoverEI

How were these streamflow dashboards created? Can you help indicate how long it took to set this up?
The WMIS Streamflow dashboard was developed by connecting Power BI to raw csv files downloaded from the WMIS site. It took approximately one-week to import and transform the data, and develop the visualisations, noting that the calculations required for this dashboard were relatively simple. As Power BI is a low code ‘drag and drop’ tool, it is relatively easy to get started with processing and visualising your data.

What software did you use for the nice 3D conceptual site model?
The CSM was created using Adobe illustrator and exported as a scalable vector graphic (.svg) image file. Power BI has a custom visual called Synoptic Panel, which allows you to define regions on .svg image files, and then match this to the data. This is how we set-up the areas on the image for reservoir, groundwater, urban demand etc.

Where can I find out when the next structured training sessions etc are held?
We have a range of Power BI training courses on our website (, which are tailored to building dashboards using common environmental and water datasets. There are a range of other Power BI training programs out there, but environmental data is what we focus on.

Not ready to Join?

Join our mailing list to go with the flow while being kept in the know.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.