HydroDesktop: Web services-based software for hydrologic data discovery, download, visualization, and analysis

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Environmental Modelling & Software



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Discovering and accessing hydrologic and climate data for use in research or water management can be a difficult task that consumes valuable time and personnel resources. Until recently, this task required discovering and navigating many different data repositories, each having its own website, query interface, data formats, and descriptive language. New advances in cyberinfrastructure and in semantic mediation technologies have provided the means for creating better tools supporting data discovery and access. In this paper we describe a freely available and open source software tool, called HydroDesktop, that can be used for discovering, downloading, managing, visualizing, and analyzing hydrologic data. HydroDesktop was created as a means for searching across and accessing hydrologic data services that have been published using the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) Hydrologic Information System (HIS). We describe the design and architecture of HydroDesktop, its novel contributions in web services-based hydrologic data search and discovery, and its unique extensibility interface that enables developers to create custom data analysis and visualization plug-ins. The functionality of HydroDesktop and some of its existing plug-ins are introduced in the context of a case study for discovering, downloading, and visualizing data within the Bear River Watershed in Idaho, USA.

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