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WaterML 2.0 becomes an official OGC standard

June 27, 2012

Interoperability is the goal of WaterML 2.0, whether it’s cross-department, cross-organization, or cross-boundary. Whenever it comes to exchanging data in a well-defined and manufacturer-independent manner, WaterML 2.0 provides the right set of features.

Public vote confirms the format as an official Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) open data standard for hydrological time series encoding.

Standard development

KISTERS has been actively involved in the OGC Hydrology Domain Working Group (HDWG) charged with the development of WaterML 2.0 for many years. The group is proud to see the long-term effort has paid out. HDWG was established to provide a venue and mechanism for technical and institutional solutions to address the challenge of describing and exchanging data that describe the state and location of water resources, both above the surface and underground. WaterML 2.0 pushes data interoperability to new dimensions. Although initially developed for use in the water world, the standard remains sufficiently generic to enable application in different industries.


Stefan Fuest, Web and GIS Manager for KISTERS, joined HDWG in 2009 because of the group’s global coverage and the well-defined standardization procedures within the OGC. He said, “I am excited WaterML 2.0 has become the new OGC standard for hydrologic data exchange. The interoperability experiments were critical to development, and we will continue to transfer the knowledge and experience gained as an OGC member to the market. WaterML has been implemented in our WISKI software for almost two years. I encourage people and organizations around the world to take advantage of the WaterML 2.0 format and continue to build upon it — to increase interoperability between all systems.”

The process of standardizing WaterML 2.0 started in 2009/2010 with a “Harmonization Paper,” followed by a “Specification Document” in 2011/2012. As an active long-term supporter of open standards, KISTERS has provided both its unique global experience in hydrology as well as specific expertise in time series data management during the development and testing phases of WaterML 2.0.

Other open data standards

Now that WaterML 2.0 has been chosen as a standard, other regional formats previously developed — like the Water Data Transfer Format (WDTF) in Australia, the WaterOneFlow and WaterML 1.0 developed by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) in the United States, the xHydro standard in Germany, and the EA XML standard in the United Kingdom — may soon be replaced.

“In my opinion, the standardization of WaterML 2.0 is truly a watershed event that stands to define the future of data sharing in the hydrology community,” says Fuest.