An Architectural Overview of Hydroshare, A Next-Generation Hydrologic Information System

J. Heard
David G. Tarboton, Utah State University
R. Idaszak
J. S. Horsburgh
D. Ames
A. Bedig
A. M. Castronova
A. Couch
P. Dash
C. Frisby
T. Gan
J. L. Goodall
S. Jackson
S. Livingston
D. Maidment
N. Martin
B. Miles
S. Mills
J. Sadler
D. Valentine
L. Zhao

Paper 311,


HydroShare is an online, open-source, collaborative system being developed for sharing hydrologic data and models as part of the NSF’s Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) program. The goal of HydroShare is to enable scientists to easily discover and access hydrologic data and models, retrieve them to their desktop, or perform analyses in a distributed computing environment that may include grid, cloud, or high performance computing. Scientists may also publish outcomes (data, results or models) into HydroShare, using the system as a collaboration platform for sharing data, models, and analyses. HydroShare involves a large distributed software development effort requiring collaboration between domain scientists, software engineers, and software developers across eight U.S. universities, RENCI, and CUAHSI. HydroShare expands the data sharing capabilities of the Hydrologic Information System of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc. (CUAHSI): It broadens the classes of data accommodated, enables sharing of models and model components, and leverages social media functionality to enhance collaboration around hydrologic data and models. The HydroShare architecture is a stack of storage and computation, web services, and user applications. A content management system, Django+Mezzanine, provides user interface, search, social media functions, and services. A geospatial visualization and analysis component enables searching, visualizing, and analyzing geographic datasets. The integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS) is used to manage federated data content and perform rule-based background actions on data and model resources, including parsing to generate metadata catalog information and the distributed execution of models and workflows. A web browser is the main interface to HydroShare, however a web services applications programming interface (API) supports access through HydroDesktop and other hydrologic modeling systems, and the architecture separates the interface layer and services layer exposing all functionality through these web services. This presentation will describe key components of HydroShare and discuss how HydroShare is designedto enable better hydrologic science concomitant with sustainable open-source software practices.