Status of the OGC's Water Resource Activities

There are several projects underway or already committed in the OGC related to water resources information systems, and because of the widespread and international nature of these activities it seems like a good time for a general update.

- The OGC WaterML 2.0 Standards Working Group (SWG) has just posted their final draft of WaterML 2.0 candidate standard for 30-day public comment period, prior to formal adoption. WaterML 2.0 is basically a profile of the OGC Observations & Measurements Encoding Standard. In parallel, it is being prepared for review and co-adoption by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Hydrology Commission (CHy).  WMO experts have played key roles in the OGC WaterML 2.0 development and co-chair the OGC Hydrology Domain Working Group (DWG). Other participants are hydrologists & IT folks from several different national meteorological agencies and from commercial hydrology and GIS vendors and consultants. This participant diversity exists in all the Interoperability Program initiatives.

- The OGC Hydrology Domain Working Group (DWG) is conducting a Surface Water Interoperability Experiment (SWIE) to work through semantics & institutional barriers for exchanging water information across agencies and national borders (US-Canada at the Great Lakes), using OGC web services and the candidate WaterML 2.0 standard for encoding. Hydrologists and IT professionals from Europe and Australia are also involved in the development, and plan to implement or adapt the results in their countries when practical.

- The OGC Hydrology DWG is also conducting a Ground Water Interoperability Experiment, now starting a second spiral (GWIE2), in which similar semantics & institutional issues are addressed as just mentioned, but using GroundwaterML from GeoConnections - Natural Resources Canada with different workflows and a different locale.

(These IEs have contributed greatly to the maturity of OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS) 2.0, which was open for editing and is now also nearing adoption.)

- The OGC Hydrologic Forecasting IE (ForecastIE) got underway at the OGC Technical Committee meeting in Boulder, Colorado, USA, June 2012. The main driver is to decide on best practices for handling and portraying multiple time dimensions in WaterML 2.0 and in OGC Web services. This is partly a WaterML schema issue, and could also result in change requests to OGC WMS, WFS, SOS, etc.  The meteorology community has similar needs for hosting forecast data with OGC Web services, so the OGC/WMO Met-Oceans WG will be watching this closely. This WG has co-chairs and other members who are experts within WMO CBS (Commission for Basic Services, i.e., operational meteorology)and national meteorological offices in several countries. 

- The OGC Hydro-climatology Information Sharing Pilot (HISP) is just now being organized, with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), GeoConnections - Natural Resources Canada / Environment Canada, and some other sponsoring agencies to be confirmed. This represents a migration from the current CUAHSI-based WaterML 1.0 system (huge central catalogue handling all queries and semantics mediation) to OGC WaterML 2.0 system with a scalable network of networks concept for federating the millions of time series datasets and associated metadata catalogues.  I will be leading this initiative for OGC.

- The GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot is starting its 5th iteration (AIP-5). This will have a water resources thread driven by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to help further institutionalize WaterML 2.0. It's in its early stages, just now getting the Request for Proposal (RFP) together for release in the next few weeks. George Percivall and Nadine Alameh from the OGC are leading this initiative.

(See the OGC Interoperability Program page for an explanation of the differences between OGC testbeds, pilots and interoperability experiments.)

- US National Science Foundation (NSF) EarthCube - Water resources informatics in a network of networks will be an essential theme of EarthCube, an NSF initiative "to greatly increase the productivity and capability of researchers and educators working at the frontiers of Earth system science." Scientists from dozens of research centers are preparing proposals this month for NSF. These submissions are for several short-term funding awards to form the organizational framework for federating data across all geosciences communities - really trying to break down the barriers to sharing data between research centers. There won't be funding from NSF to support international participation, but we already know of groups in Europe and Australia who want to coordinate with this using their own national funding. I'm also leading OGC's participation in this.

- Eye on Earth: Eye on Water Security (Special Initiative) – As per the recent OGC Blog posting by my colleague Steven Ramage, this was proposed for development by a global team of national agencies and commercial partners at the Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition last month in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The emphasis of the conference was on finding ways to coordinate the many environmental data networks in current use among UN agencies, GEOSS contributors, and national governments, in preparation for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.