Common measure: Website visitors

Sharing resources through our websites is an essential form of dissemination for our programming. Investing resources into NOAA’s educational online presence allows programs to increase their reach to people of all ages by connecting them with opportunities and resources and meeting the needs of people who are learning and teaching science online. The lesson plans, activities, opportunities, web stories, reports, tools, videos, and other materials support many educational activities and provide critical information to the nation. This common measure captures the number of website visitors to NOAA Education websites. Having this information provides programs with feedback about the types of materials that people are using in the digital space.

Common measure

Output: Number of website visitors to NOAA Education websites.


Website visitor: A visit is a sequence of requests to the server, all made from the same IP address, having the same agent string, and with no gap between requests of more than 30 minutes.

  • A visitor may come to the website repeatedly through the month, for each visit they would be counted as a separate visitor. This is consistent with the definitions for the number of visitors to informal education institutions. Removal of web-crawling robots varies by analytics package.
  • This measure is equivalent to the metric of Sessions in Google Analytics.

NOAA Education website: Collections of webpages that are hosted on NOAA servers and provide educational products, services or information to external audiences. A website is defined here as either complete domain or a section of a website that support a broad spectrum of educational activities, that involves one or more NOAA science, NOAA data, or NOAA asset, and that provide critical information to the nation. 

Data collection and reporting

Administrative Records: Each Education Council member is responsible for maintaining administrative records that document the number of website visitors. 

  • Web log analysis reports (e.g. Web Operations Center (WOC) Summary) or Google Analytics are allowable, but should be reported consistently year over year whenever possible. 

Unified Data Call: An annual collection of output measures, disaggregations, and outyear estimates data from each Education Council member seat. Data collected in the Unified Data Call is used for both internal NOAA reporting purposes, which includes the Annual Operating Plan (AOP), and for external reporting purposes, including NOAA Education Annual Accomplishments Report and Congressional briefings.


  • FY2010: This output measure was first reported.
  • FY2011: The following measure was reported as: Number of unique visitors accessing online education resources that integrate NOAA sciences, data and other information.
  • FY2012-2013: The following measure was approved by the Education Council on August 31, 2012 and reported as: Number of visitors to NOAA Education websites that support a broad spectrum of educational activities and provide effective services and critical information to the nation.
  • FY2014: The measure was modified on March 24, 2014 to align with annual accomplishments for FY13.
  • FY2017: The definitions were revised for clarity and publication on the NOAA Education website.