HydroShare: Online, Hydrologic Collaboration Environment

HydroShare: Online, Hydrologic Collaboration Environment

The sharing of water-related data facilitates collaboration and promotes efficiency when it comes to water quality, extreme event prediction, or ecosystem science.  As research trends more and more towards “team science,” the ability to share resources between team members and across institutions is more valuable than ever.  To facilitate the sharing of water-related data, a team of FWI researchers at the University of Washington has received a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue the development of an online, collaborative environment called HydroShare.

First launched in 2015, HydroShare is an online, collaborative repository operated by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science Inc. (CUAHSI) that already boasts more than 1500 users.  It enables researchers, water resource professionals, students, and citizen scientists to upload, manage, and share a wide variety of hydrologic data types, models, and code in a high-performance computing environment.  Users may share resources with colleagues, manage who has access to their content, and obtain a citable digital object identifier (DOI) for all of their resources from a single platform.

While the project is led by a team at Utah State University, Dr. Christina Bandaragoda, a senior research scientist at the University of Washington in Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Bart Nijssen, associate professor in Civil Engineering, are leading the charge when it comes to enhancing user experience and using HydroShare for computational modeling.

“We want people to have access to the best tools and data, so they can use it to work on the most critical water problems,” says Bandaragoda.  “Imagine a system where it’s easier to collaborate across institutions on a project.”

Indeed, the HydroShare platform has already been integrated into research projects across the country and data-intensive workshops at the University of Washington, such as Geohackweek.  Held annually at the University of Washington eScience Institute, Geohackweek is a 5-day workshop designed to introduce participants to open source technologies used to analyze geospatial datasets.  The week culminates in small group projects where students learn to apply new analytical data skills to real freshwater research questions.

Freshwaterhack included the subset of Geohackweek projects that are related to hydrology, hydrologic modeling, and water resources.  HydroShare has been used prominently in small group work flows to facilitate the sharing of water-related data, code, and models between group members.  In this way, students learn the value of open source tool development and data sharing, which catalyzes water research that can be translated to national and global scales.

Water researchers are invited to share and reproduce water and earth surface research studies on HydroShare, where they may join the Freshwater group initiated by FWI researchers.