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KISTERS and Open Standards

Technology & Trends

KISTERS and Open Standards

Water data management processes many different data structures. It requires a combination of point location, spatial data, tabular data, sparse observations and continuous measurements to derive results and find conclusions. Open Standards help to describe all these different data structures according to a publically available specification and hence -when it comes to data sharing and data integration- open standards make your water data transparent.

Working with the Hydrology Domain Working Group of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC): The Standardisation of Water Data Exchange

Since 2009, KISTERS is an active member of the OGC Hydrology Domain Working group. KISTERS worked out collaboratively with members such as the Australian Bureau Of Meteorology, CSIRO, Natural Resources Canada, USGS, CUAHSI, NOAA and DELTARES the standardisation of water time series, ratings, gaugings and cross sections to an open standard called “WaterML 2.0”. WaterML 2.0 is a standard information model for the representation of water observations data, with the intent of allowing the exchange of such data sets across information systems. Today WaterML 2.0 comprises of:

  • Part 1: Time Series
  • Part 2: Gaugings, Ratings and Cross Sections
  • Part 3: Hydrological features
  • Part 4: Groundwater ML

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Commission of Hydrology (CHy) adopted WaterML 2.0 as an official WMO/ISO Standard

Maps, features and catalogs

Next to WaterML 2.0 the OGC published a series of standards that are complementary applicable sharing and integrating water data and information.

  • WMTS: Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) for sharing map tiles across the web for use as basemaps
  • WMS: Web Map Service (WMS) for sharing maps on top of base maps through the web
  • WFS: Web Feature Service (WFS) for sharing geospatial information across through the web.
  • CSW: Catalog Service for the Web (CSW) for sharing water data metadata through the web.

Water Quality Standards

The Hydro Domain Working Group published a best practice document that outlines how to integrate sampling results into WaterML2.0. However, samplings are much more complex and not all relevant information fits into WaterML2.0. The US EPA standardised the exchange of water quality samplings in a national format for Water Quality Exchange (WQX). WQX -as xml based framework- is in use to share water quality monitoring data through the web. It is optimised for the communication with the national US water quality data warehouse STORET.

The KISTERS Water Quality Solution is fully compliant to WQX and is able to act as web node in the distributed framework of WQX and STORET.

Till date the community of best practise and the OGC Hydro Domain Working Group are in preparation to develop a global open standard for the exchange of water quality samplings.

Model integration

Initially triggered by the EU funded project HarmonIT the modeling community evolved to define an Open Modeling Interface (OpenMI) that is designed to link hydrology related models. In 2014 OpenMI has become an OGC Standard and can be used to interchange model parameters, states and results between models from different vendors and developers. After making the KISTERS Solution OpenMI compliant, KISTERS received the OpenMI Award in 2010.

Within the climate and weather forecast domain the netCDF-CF has become a widely used standard to describe spatial and temporal data in a self-defining data model. As a binary format netCDF/CF is optimised to communicate and store multidimensional mass data as a set of related arrays that are generated from comprehensive atmospheric and oceanic models. With the adoption by the OGC, netCDF/CF can be served through the OGC WebService Standards such as WCS, WFS and SOS. Alternatively, the community of Earth Scientist widely uses the protocol OpeNDAP to transport large data collections in NetCDF or even in HDF.

The KISTERS Solutions uses netCDF/CF as a complementary data store to access and process large data sets

The KISTERS Web Interoperability Solution

KISTERS integrates open domain standards and service into the KISTERS Web Interoperability Solution (KiWIS). KiWIS provides a single, open and mature access point for the online collation and publication of hydrological data in realtime. Its fast and efficient processes for data requests and distribution make KiWIS the ideal tool for providing large volumes of hydrological data to the cloud, and to all interested parties.

Water Authorities and Agency all over the world uses KiWIS as a single HTTP API on top of their KISTERS Solution to share their data within their communities.

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