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A Comparison between WCS and OPeNDAP for Making Model Results and Data Products Available through the Internet

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Numerical models produce output with a large number of variables, grid cells and time steps. The same applies to algorithms that produce gridded datasets from sparse or abundant raw data. Further use of the resulting data products has been challenging, especially for dissemination outside the institute of origin. Due to the gradually increasing size of data products, simply downloading copies of them is becoming impossible. A gradual transition from traditional download methods to web services is therefore observed. Web services allow for on‐the‐fly access to subsets of data that were hitherto considered as indivisible granules. Here we compare the most mature candidates to serve gridded data through the web: the Open‐source Project for a Network Data Access Protocol (OPeNDAP) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) protocols. In the framework of the new Dutch National Model and Data Centre ( a distributed data storage has been created by coupling OPeNDAP servers. A WCS service layer is provided for the same data. This allows us to compare OPeNDAP and WCS. Using several use cases, we compare the usability, performance and features of the two protocols.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Deltares, Delft and Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands 2: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, The Hague, The Netherlands 3: Deltares, Delft, The Netherlands 4: Van Oord Dredging and Marine, Contractors, Rotterdam and Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands 5: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, The Bilt, The Netherlands

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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