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Recap of CWRA NASH Workshop

June 5, 2012

Hydrographers working group discusses common data access within Canadian Water Resources Association.

KISTERS recently wrapped up a successful week at the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) national conference in beautiful Banff, Alberta. KISTERS North America helped organize exhibitors and sponsors in addition to participating in workshops and delivering presentations on topics related to hydrologic data management.

A workshop, held by the North American Stream Hydrographers (NASH) working group on Common Data Access within the CWRA, was quite interesting.

The workshop “Filling the gaps: Are we ready for a quantum leap in hydrometric data availability?” was intended to develop a community-led initiative on hydrometric data sharing in Canada, establish a common vocabulary among participants through focused panel discussions, advocate for reciprocity, and compile notes to report to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Discussions about state-of-the-art hydrological data sharing concluded that information exchange involves many complexities owing to the number of systems, formats, and organizations as well as the perception that an all-encompassing “big tent” approach to centralized data management may be difficult to achieve. Formats for data sharing like WaterOneFlow and WaterML 2.0 represent consistent, standardized methods for exchanging hydrological data. But to date, hydrologists and water resources professional have often encountered hurdles in finding data, assessing its fitness for purpose, retrieving data, and translating formats.

A panel discussion about the main barriers to data sharing involved participants from the Foothills Research InstituteNational Research Council of CanadaWater Survey of CanadaUniversity of Saskatchewan, and BC Hydro.

A diversity of perspectives were shared: academic, end-user, data provider, and corporate. Though many points were raised, a common concern that was voiced centered around the lack of consistent data sharing policies among all organizations. Consensus was achieved about the fact data should be valued and its quality should be measured in a consistent manner across all organizations.

Due to KISTERS’ long term involvement in the OGC Hydro Domain Working Group (HDWG) and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) and now recently in the European Union GEOWOW project, KISTERS was able to provide valuable insight on the topics of standardization, data QA/QC, and data sharing. Projects like the Central Texas Hub and World Water Online web portals prove beyond a doubt that KISTERS web interoperability services is currently the only commercial solution available for filling data gaps through open access to shared hydrological data in multiple standardized formats.

KISTERS clients who use WISKI have been able to ingest data in standard formats like WaterOneFlow and WaterML for almost two years. Now, with the addition of web services to Hydstra or WISKI, data from any KISTERS’ clients around the world need only to make a small leap to instantly share data with the global hydrologic community.