Implementation of model data interoperability for ioos successes and lessons learned
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Implementation of Model Data Interoperability for IOOS: Successes and Lessons Learned. Rich Signell USGS Woods Hole, MA / NOAA Silver Spring USA. Model Data Interoperability is Low-Hanging Fruit!. US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS ® ). IOOS ® Plan defines: Global Component

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Implementation of Model Data Interoperability for IOOS: Successes and Lessons Learned

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Implementation of Model Data Interoperability for IOOS: Successes and Lessons Learned

Rich Signell USGS Woods Hole, MA / NOAA Silver Spring USA

Model Data Interoperability is Low-Hanging Fruit!

US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®)

  • IOOS® Plan defines:

  • Global Component

  • Coastal Component

    • 17 Federal Agencies

    • 11 Regional Associations

DMAC approved services for Gridded Data and Model Outputs


HF radar




Table of









Data Values




CF Metadata

The Problem: Stovepiped Model Access

ChesROMS Model Wen Long, UMaryland


Result: Inability to compare and assess model results & underutilization of model products

The GoMOOS Nowcast/Forecast Circulation Model (University of Maine)

Issue: Ocean grids are not regularly spaced!

Curvilinear orthogonal horizontal coordinates

Stretched surface and terrain following vertical coordinates

Climate and Forecast (CF) Metadata Conventions

Groups adopting CF:

GO-ESSP: Global Organization for Earth System Science Portal

IOOS-DMAC: Integrated Ocean Observing System

ESMF: Earth System Modeling Framework

OGC: Open Geospatial Consortium (via WCS netcdf encoding)

CF-Compliant Ocean Model File

NetCDF Java Library

NcML XML markup language for NetCDF

Data Interoperability Model

NJ Toolkit for Matlab

  • Objective: Make it simple to access CF data

  • Example function:

  • [t, geo]=nj_tslice(URI,’temp’,1);

  • t = 22x120x180 single

  • geo =

    • lat: [120x180 single]

    • lon: [120x180 single]

    • z: [22x120x180 double]

    • time: 733582 (matlabdatenum)

  • nj_tslice works identically for ROMS, POM, ECOM, WRF, Wavewatch3

  • URI can be: local NetCDF, remote NetCDF, NcML, OpenDAP Data URL

  • Coding by Sachin Kumar Bhate MSSTATE

Comparing Models with Data in Matlab



Data: SST 2008-Sep-08 07:32

Buoy_comp.m: Model/Data comparison of Wave Height

Browser-based Mapping with ncWMS/Godiva2

3D Visualization with the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV)

Single Point of Access Catalog:GEO-IDE => IOOS Regions

Working with Data in ArcGIS using the NOAA/ASA Environmental Data Connector

14 Different Ocean Forecast Models Spanning CONUS Waters in IDV

OOI-CI OSSE (Sep-Oct, 2009)

Models being used for BP Spill


  • Existing Unidata technology allowed for standards-based delivery of aggregated geospatial data from native model grids that put little or no effort on the data provider

  • Demonstrated interoperability with 17 THREDDS servers in 11 IOOS Regions

  • What did we get?

    • Single point of access for regional model results

    • Interoperable software

    • More eyes on the model results

    • More usage of model results

    • Faster feedback to modelers

    • Improved models

    • Increased community support for standards-based access

What Next?

  • Continue work on a high-level scientific toolbox for standardized access to model data. (Matlab toolbox based on NetCDF-Java)

  • Develop unstructured grid support: Common Data Model implemented in NetCDF-Java with methods comparable to structured grid

  • Applications need to be modified to read standardized data via OPeNDAP instead of home-grown files

  • Work on discovery and documentation

Lessons Learned

  • Honor the existing practices

  • Users are best served by developing infrastructure for Developers

  • Focus on success: find something that works, clone it, and build off it

Questions, Feedback?

Dr. Richard P. Signell+1 (508)

Role of Regions

  • Develop customized THREDDS catalogs for regional users

  • Report status of services (e.g. NetCheck)

  • Assess and help with gridded data standards compliance following UAF-developed techniques

  • Develop end-user applications that access gridded data, using CF-compliant OPeNDAP

  • Help educate regional scientists, developers, consultants that standardized services, libraries and tools are available

Late Breaking News


  • When people say “THREDDS”, they can mean a catalog or a data server

    • THREDDS Catalogs are XML files that define metadata, datasets and services

    • THREDDS Data Server is a Java data server application developed by Unidata, a simple and flexible way for delivering CF-compliant data via OPeNDAP


  • When people say “OPeNDAP”, they can mean protocol, a server, or an organization

    • OPeNDAP (or just DAP) protocol: a remote data access service protocol with multiple responses

      • DDS – describes the format of the data

      • DAS – describes associated attributes

      • DDX – XML response containing the DDS & DAS

      • DODS – the actual data

    • OPeNDAP server: a server capable of serving the DAP protocol (e.g. THREDDS Data Server, Hyrax, Pydap, GrADS Data Server)

    • OPeNDAP organization: Defines and maintains the DAP protocol, develops servers and clients, provide custom OPeNDAP solutions

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