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An analysis of water data systems to inform the Open Water Data Initiative

April 8, 2016

Improving access to data and fostering open exchange of water information is foundational to solving water resources issues. In this vein, the Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Water and Science put forward the charge to undertake an Open Water Data Initiative (OWDI) that would prioritize and accelerate work toward better water data infrastructure. The goal of the OWDI is to build out the Open Water Web (OWW). We therefore considered the OWW in terms of four conceptual functions: water data cataloging, water data as a service, enriching water data, and community for water data. To describe the current state of the OWW and identify areas needing improvement, we conducted an analysis of existing systems using a standard model for describing distributed systems and their business requirements. Our analysis considered three OWDI-focused use cases—flooding, drought, and contaminant transport—and then examined the landscape of other existing applications that support the Open Water Web. The analysis, which includes a discussion of observed successful practices of cataloging, serving, enriching, and building community around water resources data, demonstrates that we have made significant progress toward the needed infrastructure, although challenges remain. The further development of the OWW can be greatly informed by the interpretation and findings of our analysis.

Publication Year 2016
Title An analysis of water data systems to inform the Open Water Data Initiative
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12417
Authors David L. Blodgett, Emily K. Read, Jessica M. Lucido, Tad Slawecki, Dwane Young
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Index ID 70170185
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Water Information