2012 CWRA NASH workshop recap



KISTERS recently wrapped up a successful week at the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) national conference in beautiful Banff, Alberta.  KISTERS staff helped organize the event's exhibitors and sponsors, as well as participated in workshops and gave presentations on topics related to hydrologic data management.

One workshop, held by the North American Stream Hydrographers (NASH) working group on Common Data Access within the CWRA, was quite interesting and is the main topic of this news item.

The workshop was titled, 'Filling the gaps: Are we ready for a quantum leap in hydrometric data availability?'  The goals of the workshop were to develop a community-led initiative on hydrometric data sharing in Canada, develop a common vocabulary among participants through focused panel discussions, advocate for reciprocal altruism, and compile our notes to report to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Discussion about the 'state of the art' in hydrological data sharing concluded that data sharing involves many complexities owing to the number of systems, formats, and organizations, and that the 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 format translation.

A panel discussion about the main barriers to data sharing involved participants from the Foothills Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Water Survey of Canada, University of Saskatchewan, and BC Hydro.  A wide array of perspectives were shared - Academic, End-user, Data Provider, and Corporate.  Although many points were raised, a common concern that was voiced centered around the lack of consistent data sharing policies in all organizations.  Concensus was achieved about the fact that 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 and CUAHSI, and now recently in the European Union GEOWOW project, KISTERS staff was able to provide valuable input into these discussions on the topics of standardization, data QA/QC, and data sharing.  Projects like the www.centraltexashub.org and www.worldwateronline.org portals prove beyond a doubt that the KISTERS Web Interoperability Solution (KiWIS) is currently the only commercial solution available for filling the data gap through open access to shared hydrological data in multiple standardized formats.

KISTERS WISKI 7 clients have been able to ingest data in standard formats like WaterOneFlow and WaterML for almost 2 years.  Now, with the addition of KiWIS to a Hydstra or WISKI installation, data from any one of KISTERS' many clients around the world need only to make a small 'leap' to instantly share data with others in the global hydrologic community.

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