Key contact:
Andre Bouchard

Hydrological data are collected by many organizations across multiple jursidictions to support decision making for a variety of issues that touch our daily lives (water use, commercial shipping, hydroelectric production, regulation, flood forecasting, etc). These data are processed and managed using different technologies with a relative absence of standardisation such that access to the data by the various stakeholders who need it can often pose a number of challenges. These include varying formats, parameter coding standards, metadata content standards, data processing, quality standards and policies. The current trend towards more real-time data and products has led to the recognition that the challenges presented above must be addressed in a coherent manner.

The common data access frameworks working group will attempt to analyse the current state of industry standards with respect to the processing, management and distribution of hydrological data with the objective of promoting the standardisation of the different elements required to facilitate that access and use of such data.

Filling the gaps: Are we ready for a quantum leap in hydrometric data availability?
(Discussion document by Stu Hamilton)
Stuart Hamilton
David Maidment
Phil Turnipseed
Janice Fulford
Ted Yuzyk
Al Pietroniro
Mike Miles
Russell Boals

Hydrology is a place-based science. There is a gap between theory and reality in our ability to adequately describe and explain the role of landscapes in modifying the hydrological cycle. Filling this gap will require data that are informative of the spatial-temporal variability of runoff processes at a wide range of scales. We are, mostly, dependent on National Hydrometric Programs to provide the needed data. Agencies charged with the responsibility for collecting data at a national scale are obligated to spread their limited resources strategically. This strategic placement of monitoring effort provides a framework of isolated point locations of reliable data separated by large data voids. Substantially filling these gaps may be possible if we could mine the data that are collected at regional, local, and site-specific scales to inform watershed management, engineering design, academic research and other activities.

The vision:
Emerging inter-operability standards will ensure that all relevant and useful data are available to support evidence-based hydrological problem solving and decision-making. Information from private, public and academic data producers will be searchable by descriptive, meaningful, metadata queries. The results of these queries will be marked with interpretive encoding linking to methods used, traceability to source, uncertainty, and quality management standards of the data provider.

The challenges:
  • Consensus: agreement on, and implementation of, a comprehensive framework of data standards.
  • Tragedy of the commons: public, private and academic data producers all have legitimate reasons for withholding data. Arguments about public good pale against risks of liability and loss of competitive advantage.
  • Quality dilution: multi-sourcing can confound interpretation and analysis of hydrological information.

The responses:
  • Ted Yuzyk: public policy perspective.
  • Taha Ouarda: hydrological analysis perspective
  • David Maidment: enabling technologies and international cooperation perspective
  • Al Pietroniro: NHP data provider perspective
  • Mike Miles: private sector data producer perspective
  • Phil Turnipseed: data standards perspective
  • Russell Boals: hydrometric training and accreditation
  • Janice Fulford: measurement of uncertainty perspective

The introduction to the data sharing workshop by Stuart Hamilton is attached (into the void.pptx)

The preliminary synthesis of the data sharing workshop is attached (NASH data sharing workshop_heres what I heard.ppt)

Synopsis of the Data Sharing workshop presented at the BC Branch CWRA conference Vancouver BC March 2013.