Webenizing Condition Reports

The compilation and release of data-driven reports is one of the core functions of natural resource agencies and offices that support scientific investigations. Often, these reports contain data and synthesis related to an ecosystem’s “state” or the status and trends of driving forces and the related condition of ecological indicators. These reports are often data and text rich and may be difficult for non-technical audiences to interpret. Further, because these reports may take years to compile and finalize, the data presented may be outdated by the time they are published. Status and trend reports, such as condition reports released by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, may need to target a wide swath of technical and non-technical audiences as stakeholders with interests in a national marine sanctuary’s resources. Here, we introduce the webenized condition report (WebCR) as a digital companion to the published technical condition report (and similar reports) for increasing stakeholder engagement and accessibility while fostering timely understanding of ecosystem status and trends. The WebCR, built using open-source software, combines artwork depicting ecosystems, habitats, species, and human uses with related, data-driven content in the form of figures containing static or interactive charts, maps, and accompanying captions. The intuitive visual navigation combined with timely updates using a free and reproducible back-end system means that data providers and end users all benefit from this novel framework. Through an iterative process combined with stakeholder engagement, the WebCR has been made to specifically target the needs of a broad audience, including resources managers, educators, academic researchers and the general public. The WebCR’s design is fully realized across a range of habitats and ecosystems, and can be applied broadly to disparate use cases. Here we describe the motivation for the WebCR, elements of its framework, a suite of examples for reuse elsewhere, the WebCR for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and next steps in a development pathway.

Key Words

webenization, condition report, status and trends