NRIS Announces Web User Survey Results
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anastasia Burton
November 12, 2003 (406) 444-5357
(HELENA)---The Montana Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) today announced the results of its second annual web user survey, which was conducted on the NRIS website from mid-September though October.
The survey was designed to help NRIS evaluate its services. Over 34% of those who took the survey primarily represented the private sector, with the remainder representing government agencies. About 70% of respondents said they visit the NRIS website several times per month or more often; over 87% said NRIS services were essential or valuable to their business, agency, or personal needs. One survey respondent wrote, “NRIS is truly a gem within state government and fills a very necessary, yet fairly unique role in disseminating digital information. I have often heard people from other states lamenting that they don’t have something like NRIS.”
An overwhelming number of respondents (73%) said they primarily use NRIS web-based services, an increase of 5% over last year’s survey results. NRIS Director Jim Hill said, “We’re really pleased that people find our website to be such a valuable resource. This finding shows it’s been useful for us to devote the major part of our resources toward serving our data through the Internet. People have access to a wealth of data any time, any where – all they need is Internet access.”
Survey results revealed planning as the primary reason respondents use NRIS information, followed by research, resource management, and conservation. About two-thirds of users download geographic information system (GIS) data, such as stream and road information, which enables them to make their own customized maps.
NRIS responds to thousands of inquiries each month via its website. During the months of September and October, when the survey ran, NRIS’ web site served over 124,000 visitor sessions, which lasted approximately 12 minutes each. That translates to about 406 person-hours each day spent on the NRIS site.
Visitors to nris.state.mt.us will find a variety of data, reports, maps, and tools for searching and displaying information. These items help inform users about important issues facing Montanans, including: drought, wildfires, water quality, and plants/animals of concern. Website users can also learn more about fishing opportunities, bird watching, and wildlife management. The survey results can be viewed by visiting http://nris.state.mt.us/survey/2003/.
NRIS was established eighteen years ago by the Legislature. A division of the Montana State Library, NRIS acts as the state’s clearinghouse for natural resource information. Its staff provides expert assistance to link users with the best available information on natural resource issues.