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Technology and Code ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Environ. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00158

Hydrologic Modeling as a Service (HMaaS): A New Approach to Address Hydroinformatic Challenges in Developing Countries

  • 1Brigham Young University, United States
  • 2Aquaveo, LLC, United States
  • 3International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Nepal

Hydrologic modeling can be used to aid in decision-making at the local scale. Developed countries usually have their own hydrologic models; however, developing countries often have limited hydrologic modeling capabilities due to factors such as the maintenance, computational costs, and technical capacity needed to run models. A global streamflow prediction system (GSPS) would help decrease vulnerabilities in developing countries and fill gaps in areas where no local models exist by providing extensive results that can be filtered for specific locations. However, large-scale forecasting systems come with their own challenges. These New hydroinformatic challenges can prevent these models from reaching their full potential of becoming useful in the decision making process. This article discusses these challenges along with the background leading to the development of a large-scale streamflow prediction system. In addition, we present a large-scale streamflow prediction system developed using the GloFAS-RAPID model. The developed model covers Africa, North America, South America, and South Asia. The results from this model are made available using a Hydrologic Modeling as a Service approach (HMaaS) as an answer to some of the discussed challenges. In contrast to the traditional modeling approach, which makes results available only to those with the resources necessary to run hydrologic models, the HMaaS approach makes results available using web services that can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. Web applications and services for providing improved data accessibility, and addressing the discussed hydroinformamtic challenges are also presented. The HydroViewer app, a custom application to display model results and facilitate data consumption and integration at the local level is presented. We also conducted validation tests to ensure that model results are acceptable. Some of the countries where the presented services and applications have been tested include Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Peru, Nepal, and the Dominican Republic. Overall, a HMaaS approach to operationalize a GSPS and provide meaningful and easily accessible results at the local level is provided with the potential to allow decision makers to focus on solving some of the most pressing water-related issues we face as a society.

Keywords: cyberinfrastructure, data visualization, hydroinformatics, Hydrologic modeling, XaaS

Received: 31 May 2019; Accepted: 30 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Nelson, Souffront, Shakya, Edwards, Roberts, Krewson, Ames and Jones. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Michael A. Souffront, Aquaveo, LLC, Provo, Utah, United States, msouffront@aquaveo.com