Developed jointly by CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and the Bureau’s Water Division, the Water Data Transfer Format (WDTF) provides the Bureau with the means to more efficiently collect and process the 6 million data files of water resource information supplied by more than 200 organisations over the past 12 months.
The Bureau is mandated to collect, process, compile and deliver water data from around Australia. Data providers currently use a variety of methods ranging from mature data management systems to ad hoc spreadsheets to manage this information.
“Thanks to the WDTF, water data from across the nation can now flow freely to the Bureau,” CSIRO researcher, Dr David Lemon, said.
“To streamline the collection and use of this data, the Bureau required a standards-based information model and transfer format to accept water information submitted electronically.
“The web-based WDTF has been developed to allow data providers to efficiently deliver water observations data to the Bureau in a format that is more easily loaded into the Bureau’s Australian Water Resources Information System.”
The format specifies a standard encoding for information about groundwater observations, transfers of water between storages, observation sites and samples, water quality, channel profiles and time-series streamflow observations, as well as conversion tables.
More importantly, it includes an information model that can capture business rules associated with the data. This provides a powerful mechanism to support validation of data provided to the Bureau.
The Bureau’s Assistant Director Water Data Services, Tony Boston, said the WDTF is now the Bureau’s preferred format for water data delivery and is being promoted as the standard format for data transfer.
“A number of commercial companies have already embraced WDTF by including data input and export functions in their water information software,” Mr Boston said. “This is allowing organisations that use the software to more easily export data in WDTF to the Bureau.
“These tools will help streamline water data delivery by organisations, while providing the assurance and confidence that their data delivery solution is commercially available and supported by the water IT industry.”
This project is part of the water information research and development alliance between the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and is an excellent example of where research innovation has helped solve a real world challenge and been rapidly embraced by industry.