WPC contracted with social scientists from the Eastern Research Group, Inc (ERG) to help identify stakeholders, key users, and core partners, along with their roles and needs for WPC information. WPC was especially interested in learning about what is required for partner decision-making purposes. The tasks included an inventory of WPC products and services, an assessment of the ways WPC products are accessed and used by partners in their decision making, focus group discussions, a web survey, and finally an in-person stakeholder engagement workshop in College Park, MD. This interactive workshop, attended by approximately 40 stakeholders from the National Weather Service (NWS), other Federal agencies, and the media, was an opportunity for WPC to receive constructive feedback on how our customers and partners use and interact with the center’s products, and an opportunity to influence WPC’s future efforts.
WPC will use the information gathered from this research to scope potential product and service improvements and pursue deeper engagement for future innovation. Some early emerging themes include a desire for more intuitive graphics that are easier to find on NWS websites; more products on a GIS platform with open data; and value-added interpretations of complex forecast information.