How to encode data

The best way to integrate with the GCW Data Portal at the data level is to serve data (observational or analysed/simulated) through the Open-source Project for a Network Data Access Protocol (OPeNDAP). OPeNDAP and the Network Common Data Format (NetCDF) both use the Common Data Model which simplifies data handling. When serving data through OPeNDAP, data must be encoded according to the Climate and Forecast convention (CF). Starting with version 1.6 of the CF conventions, standardised approaches to encoding:

  • gridded data
  • timeseries at stations
  • profiles at stations
  • trajectories
  • trajectories of profiles

have been developed. In the upcoming 1.8 version, support geometries (e.g. KML or Shapefiles) may be added as well as better descriptions for satellite swath data. When not serving gridded data it is important to add the global attribute featureType to identify the proper type of the data.

It is worth noting that GCW does not care about how data are stored. Data may be stored in a different form (e.g. a relational database), but transformed into the appropriate form when shared. A number of open source tools facilitating data sharing using OPeNDAP is available and some listed below:

When serving data through OPeNDAP it is recommended to keep datasets simple. I.e. do not collect many stations in one dataset. Specifiy one station per dataset for observational data.

Further information to be provided...