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Help - River Flows - Map

Index
Navigating Between Flow Pages
Disclaimer
General Map Usage
Reloading Flow Data
Select Regions
Display Options
Locate Sites by Name
Locate Sites by Distance
Locate by both Name and Distance
Browser Compatibility
Known Issues

Navigating Between Flow Pages

To access the river flows pages, click the River Flows link in the header of a Dreamflows page, and select the report of interest.  The most-visited flow page is the Realtime page.

Three drop-menus and a Go button appear just below the page header, default values shown here:

Together, they control the content and display format of the flow information being presented.
Use Report to determine the time span and quality of the data being reported (Realtime, Daily or Fantasy).
Use Zone to select the geographical area of the reported flows (e.g. California/Nevada or Northwest States).
Use Format to select the display format (Standard, Compact or Map).
After making your selection, press the Enter key or click the Go button.
For more detailed information on each field, click here.

Disclaimer

The dislaimer is printed in the gray area between the navigation menus and the list of Dreamflows sponsors.  It is not legalese boilerplate!  Rather, it gives valuable information about the quality of the information presented on the page, and is specific to the data presented on that page.  It should be read in conjunction with the "Estimate Information" section near the bottom of the flow report.

Both are intended to be taken literally.  Please heed them!

General Map Usage

On entering the map page, all flow sites in all regions applicable to this particular zone are displayed on the map as balloons.  The number of flow sites (balloons) currently displayed on the map is reported at the bottom of the panel to the right of the map; this is shown in several examples below.

Be aware, though, that some flow sites are extremely close to each other.  For example, if the displayed count is ten but you see only nine balloons, the reason is almost certainly that one balloon is hiding another.  If you want to locate a specific balloon, then the right panel offers a number of tools for reducing the number of sites displayed on the map, and/or locating specific flow sites.

The balloons are color-coded according to the flow currently reported at that site.  The possible color codes and their meanings are listed in the Key to Symbols section at the bottom of the flow report you're viewing.

To get a little more information about a flow site, hover the mouse over its balloon.  This will bring up a transient dialog box just to the right of the icon.  For instance, zooming into the South Fork of the American River and hovering over the Chili Bar balloon will display a dialog box similar to this:

Only very basic information is supplied: site name, time, date, river flow, gauge height, and water temperature, depending on what kind of report this is and which information is available.

Move the mouse to close the box.

To get even more information about a flow site, click on its balloon.  This will bring up a dialog box, also just to the right of the icon, which will persist even after you move the mouse away.  For instance, zooming into the South Fork of the American River and clicking on the Chili Bar balloon display a dialog box similar to this:

In addition to the basic information (river flow, etc.), links to a weather forecast, hydrograph, etc. are included.

Click View weather forecast to open the NOAA weather report for this flow site in a separate tab.

Click View hydrograph to open the most relevant flow graph for this flow site in a separate tab.

Click View runs associated with this site to open the most relevant cross-listing page entry for this flow site in a separate tab.

Click Directions to this flow site to open Google Maps in a separate tab.

Click Zoom in/out to zoom in and get a closer look at the area.  Click it again to zoom back out to where you started from.

Click the 'X' in the dialog box to close it.

Selections in the panel to the right of the map may be used to select/limit which flow sites are displayed, and/or locate specific flow sites.  There are four sections in the right panel, each with its own detailed description (see below, or the Index).  However, at a high level, operation is as follows:

  • In concept, a given flow site will be displayed on the map only if it passes the tests imposed by all four sections.  However, both Locate Sites by Name and Locate Sites by Distance sections are inactive by default, so they don't normally contribute to the test.  On the other hand, if either is active and Display only these matching sites is checked, then the flow site is displayed only if it appears in the matched list.

  • If your selection is such that no sites are displayed, then the map will zoom out to show the entire Western U.S., and the count message will say No sites are displayed.

  • It's easy to enter contradictory information so no sites are displayed, even when at least one is intuitively expected.  For instance, if you have Display only opt flows selected, chances are quite good nothing will match (since optimum flows aren't all that common).  Alternatively, searching for American rivers when Nevada Rivers is the only region selected will also result in no matches (the American River doesn't flow through Nevada).

  • The map will automatically resize and reposition itself to include all relevant information, every time you change the selection.  Use the zoom and pan controls to change the view back to what you want.
  • Reloading Flow Data

    Click the blue reload button to refresh the flow data on the page:

    This preserves the current settings and map context.  A red reloading icon is displayed while the data is reloading:

    Though, if your Internet connection is fast, the reloading icon may appear only briefly.

    Select Regions

    The Select Regions section of the right panel provides a way to select only those flow sites that are listed in the selected region(s) of the corresponding flow report.  When a region is deselected, then all of the flow sites in that region are also deselected.

    All the regions of the currently-selected report are listed.  This means that the list of regions varies, depending on which report is selected.  For example, the regions for the Realtime California/Nevada report are as follows:

    By default, all the regions are checked, as shown in this example.

    Note that some flow sites are listed in more than one location on a flow report.  For example, E. Fk Carson - Near Markleeville appears in both the CA Sierra - East Slope and Nevada Rivers regions of the realtime report.  Consequently, that flow site will be displayed (assuming it passes all other selection criteria) if either CA Sierra - East Slope, or Nevada Rivers (or both) are selected.  However, duplicate entries are ignored, i.e. E. Fk Carson - Near Markleeville will be displayed or listed only once.

    Display Options

    The Display Options section of the right panel provides a way to select only those flow sites that are currently at Good or Optimum flow.  If a site's current flow doesn't match the selection, then it won't be selected.  By default, Display all selected sites is selected, as shown here:

    The meaning of each option is as follows: 

  • Display all selected sites: match all sites, irrespective of current flow.
  • Display only good/opt flows: match only sites which are currently at Good or Optimum flow.  They are shown on the map as and respectively.
  • Display only opt flows: match only sites which are currently at Optimum flow.  They are shown on the map as .
  • The values that determine if a flow is good, optimum, or something else are available on the Trigger Levels page.

    Locate Sites by Name

    The Locate Sites by Name section of the right panel provides a way to locate only those flow sites that contain certain words.

    By default, Locate Sites by Name is inactive, as shown here:

    To locate flow sites on the map, enter appropriate keywords in the text box, then click the Go button. 

    For example, to search for all American River flow sites, enter American or american in the text box, and click Go.  The exact search results depend on other selections, but one possible result is as follows:

    A Display only these matching sites checkbox and a list of matching sites has magically appeared.  The box is checked by default, so that only the matching sites are shown on the map (see below).

    Note that Locate Sites by Distance is inactive in this example.  However, if it were active, then only those flow sites which pass both selection tests would be listed.  For an example, see Locate Sites by both Name and Distance

    Note that the site counts in the two messages Found 15 matching flow sites and 15 sites are displayed are the same.  This is to be expected since Display only these matching sites is checked.  If it were unchecked, then the two numbers would be different (for an example of this situation, see Locate Sites by both Name and Distance).

    Since Display only these matching sites is checked, only the matching flow sites are displayed on the map:

    To locate one of the listed sites, hover the mouse over that entry in the list - the corresponding balloon on the map will start bouncing, and a transient dialog box with basic information will appear next to it.  To locate a different site, move the mouse.

    To display more information about the site, click on the entry in the list - the transient dialog box will switch to a persistent dialog box with more information in it.  The balloon will continue bouncing.  To locate a different site in the list, click on it.  Click the 'X' in the dialog box to close it.

    Note that the dialog box above says Found 15 matching flow sites, yet there are apparently only 13 sites on the map.  However, looking carefully at the yellow balloon to the left of Pollock Pines on the map reveals that the balloon has a shadow on the right.  This is one of the "missing" balloons, and zooming in will show it clearly.

    If you're serious about finding the other "missing" balloon, hover your mouse over each entry in the list until the mystery is solved (American - Folsom Elev NF Paddle Out and American - Folsom Elev SF Paddle Out share the same location).

    For more detail on how site selection works, consider the case where the text field contains the two words american creek

  • If all of the words in the text field are contained in a given site name (e.g. So. American - Below Slab Creek Dam), then that flow site passes the test (it matches). 
  • But if any one of the words in the text field isn't contained in a given site name (e.g. So. American - At Chili Bar), then that flow site fails the test (it doesn't match). 
  • The word comparison is case-insensitive, i.e. american matches American
  • Order is unimportant, so both american creek and creek american match So. American - Below Slab Creek Dam (and several other sites too). 
  • On the other hand, words need to match exactly, and wildcards are not supported, so neither amer nor amer* matches American.

    To cancel/clear the search, click the Clear button in the Locate Sites by Name dialog box.

    Locate Sites by Distance

    The Locate Sites by Distance section of the right panel provides a way to locate only those flow sites that are within a certain distance of a central location.  Note: this is the distance "as the crow flies", not distance by road.

    By default, Locate Sites by Distance is inactive, as shown here:

    To locate flow sites on the map, enter an appropriate geographical location (for example an address, city, zip code or lat/long) in the text box, then click the Go button.  The default distance from the location you specify is 50 miles, but you may of course change that.  When ready, click the Go button. 

    For example, to search for all flow sites with 30 miles of Placerville, enter 30 in the distance box, Placerville in the text box, and click Go.  The exact search results depend on other selections, but one possible result is as follows:

    A Display only these matching sites checkbox and a list of matching sites has magically appeared.  The box is checked by default, so that only the matching sites are shown on the map (see below).

    Note that Locate Sites by Name is inactive in this example.  However, if it were active, then only those flow sites which pass both selection tests would be listed.  For an example, see Locate Sites by both Name and Distance

    Note that the search is performed by Google maps, and they can sometimes be cleverer than one might expect (or perhaps want).  For example, searching for "Reno, CA" finds "Reno, NV".  So, it may be worth double-checking the results.

    By the same token, if you receive the error message "Couldn't find a unique matching location in the Western U.S. Please try again." then Google maps had trouble matching your request with a single location.  Please check your spelling and/or be more specific.  For example, searching for just "Auburn" isn't specific enough, but searching for "Auburn, CA" is.

    Note that the site counts in the two messages Found 28 matching flow sites and 28 sites are displayed are the same.  This is to be expected since Display only these matching sites is checked.  If it were unchecked, then the two numbers would be different (for an example of this situation, see Locate Sites by both Name and Distance).

    As a byproduct of the search, a shaded circle showing the area of the search has been added to the map, as shown here:

    The icon marks the center of the circle. 

    To locate one of the listed sites, hover the mouse over that entry in the list - the corresponding balloon on the map will start bouncing, and a transient dialog box with basic information will appear next to it.  To locate a different site, move the mouse.

    To display more information about the site, click on the entry in the list - the transient dialog box will switch to a persistent dialog box with more information in it.  The balloon will continue bouncing.  To locate a different site in the list, click on it.  Click the 'X' in the dialog box to close it.

    To reduce absurdities which would otherwise result from entering very small, very large, or invalid values, the radius is limited to the range 10 to 2000 miles.  Also, to make entering location information like addresses or cities simpler, the scope of the search is limited to the Western U.S.


    To cancel/clear the search, click the Clear button in the Locate Sites by Distance dialog box.

    Locate Sites by both Name and Distance

    Locate Sites by Name and Locate Sites by Distance may be used together to produce a combined search.  In this case, only flow sites that meet both the name and distance search criteria are selected.  Putting the examples from the previous two sections together, the selection criteria and results are as follows:

    In this case, the search is for "All flow sites with American in their name which are also within 30 miles of Placerville".

    Note that this results in fewer matching sites than either of the previous two searches (14 sites here, while the previous searches matched 15 and 28 sites respectively).

    Note that the site counts in the two messages Found 14 matching flow sites and 14 sites are displayed are the same.  This is to be expected since Display only these matching sites is checked.  If it were unchecked, then the two numbers would be different (read on for an example).

    The resulting map is as follows:

    Only those 14 flow sites which matched both the name and distance search criteria are displayed on the map.

    The only difference between this map and the one in the previous section is that flow sites without American in their name are no longer displayed.

    In the previous example, Display only these matching sites was checked.  This meant that the flow sites displayed on the map were only the 14 that appeared in the list.  However, consider the case where Display only these matching sites is unchecked:

    In this case, the search is still for "All flow sites with American in them which are also within 30 miles of Placerville", and the same 14 sites are listed.

    However, since Display only these matching sites is unchecked, the sites displayed on the map are no longer limited to the sites in the list.  In this case, all 309 sites which appear on the report are displayed.

    The resulting map is as follows:

    This is a pretty busy map!  Even so, it can be used to show the general location of one of the flow sites in the list.  In this case, the mouse is hovering over the Chili Bar entry in the list, thereby locating Chili Bar on the map. 

    [You don't actually see the balloon bouncing here, since this is not an animated graphic, but in reality the balloon is bouncing, is green, and appears just to the left of the transient dialog box].

    Note that since the search included distance, the shaded circle showing the search area is still drawn on the map.  It's small (only 60 miles across) and mostly hidden by the plethora of balloons.  But, part is still visible down and to the left of the icon. 

    Browser Compatibility

    The Dreamflows mapping system is oriented toward conventional desktop computers with keyboard and mouse.  It was developed (and extensively tested) using Firefox 23 on Ubuntu.

    It has also been tested and found to work on the following browsers (listing Firefox on Ubuntu again for completeness):

  • Firefox 23 on Ubuntu
  • Firefox 17 ESR on Mac
  • Firefox 17 ESR on Windows
  • Chrome 28 on Ubuntu
  • Chrome 29 on Mac
  • Safari 6 on Mac
  • Opera 12 on Ubuntu
  • Opera 12 on Mac
  • Opera 12 on Windows
  • IE10 on Windows (when not in Compatibility View)
  • The key learning seems to be that the mapping system will work on any modern version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera, i.e. any reasonably standards-compliant browser.

    On the other hand, IE is more problematic.  IE10 seems to works fine, though only when not in Compatibility View.  [Compatibility View tells Microsoft browsers to not be standards compliant, which bad behavior we don't want here].  IE9 seems to mostly work (also when not in Compatibility View).  I found IE8 to be basically unusable, even when not in Compatibility View - the version I tried does display the map, but the radio buttons work incorrectly, and the "Go" buttons don't work at all.  Earlier versions of IE weren't available for testing, but my bet is they won't work well.

    Bottom line: if you're using a recent version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera and the mapping system doesn't work for you, please let me know (with details).  If you have an earlier version of these browsers which doesn't work, suggest you upgrade.  If you're using IE and it doesn't work, consider upgrading to IE10 (making sure it's not in Compatibility View), or switching to Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera.

    Known Issues

    The following are known issues.  They may or may not also be bugs with the mapping system itself - some may be browser issues or just the way things are.

    1. The Dreamflows mapping system uses the Google Maps API to draw the maps, balloons, etc.  The API redraws the map several times as it zooms from one map view to another.  This produces a pretty cool effect when the Internet connection is fast enough.  However, if you have a slow Internet connection (dialup, or over VPN or whatever) you may get to see the redraws in slo-mo and it doesn't look so cool.  Suggest waiting patiently as the balloons get tiny, then huge, then normal, and the picture gets blurry then sharp.  Eventually the redraws will stop and the end result should be as expected.

    2. The Dreamflows mapping system is oriented toward conventional desktop computers with keyboard and mouse.  Reports are that operation with touch-screen devices like the iPad may be limited - for example, a user reported not being able to 'hover' over an entry in the match list to make the corresponding balloon bounce.  Similarly, the Dreamflows mapping system doesn't play at all well with Safari on an iPhone 5.

    If you see any other issues yourself, please contact chris@dreamflows.com to report them - issues only get fixed when they're known.

    Dreamflows will naturally work diligently to resolve all issues - irrespective or severity, type, origin, or creed.

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