Image of water drops splashing.
Water data transfer standards
The Water Data Transfer Standards project has improved the way the Bureau of Meteorology receives and uses water data.
29 April 2009 | Updated 21 September 2012
Water scarcity is a major challenge facing Australia. The need to accurately monitor, assess and forecast the availability, condition and use of water resources is now more vital than ever.
A key component of the Water Information Research and Development Alliance has been the Water Data Transfer Standards project.
The project has developed and defined data transfer standards and procedures for the Bureau of Meteorology to input from existing water data providers, and subsequently for the Bureau of Meteorology to publish for water data users, including decision makers.
Water observations data is a key element of a water resources information system. Water data transfer standards provide standard encoding for data transfer to support:
- the input and update of data into databases and caches
- standard data delivery interfaces from databases and applications
- the development of applications with a standard data import/export mechanism.
Key research deliverables
The Water Data Transfer Standards project has delivered:
The need to accurately monitor, assess and forecast the availability, condition and use of water resources is now more vital than ever.
- a water data transfer format to be used by agencies providing data to the Bureau of Meteorology
- standard interfaces and standard encodings through which water resource applications both inside and outside the Bureau of Meteorology can access data.
These are designed to be:
- capable of integration with web services and data from related environmental sciences
- compatible with international best practice, and suitable for adoption by the World Meteorological Organization.
A significant outcome of the Water Data Transfer Standards project is the adoption of WaterML2.0, an international standard for the transfer of water information. CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology led the development of the new standard, which was adopted by the international standards body Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in August 2012.
WaterML2.0 will assist in understanding and management of fresh water resources by enhancing data sharing and exchange. Several international organisations, including United States Geological Survey, KISTERS, Deltares, San Diego Supercomputer Center (Uni of California) and GeoConnections - Natural Resources Canada, are already implementing the standard. In Australia, WaterML2.0 will be used to guide development of the second version of the Water Data Transfer Format, which is designed to help the Australian water industry share data to the Bureau.
Read the media release: Australia, setting the standard for water information exchange.
Apart from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, significant contributors to the development of WaterML2.0 include:
- San Diego Supercomputer Center (CUAHSI)
- Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada
- US Geological Survey
- KISTERS AG
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute
- disy Informationssysteme GmbH
- German Federal Institute of Hydrology
- International Office For Water - Sandre
Additional contributors include:
- Aquatic Informatics
- Global Runoff Data Centre
Download the OGC WaterML Version 2.0 Standard document [external link]
Find out more about the Water Data Transfer Standards project [fact sheet, PDF 1.5MB] and the Water Information Research and Development Alliance.