Sensor Observation Service

The goal of this project is to establish a Sensor Observation Service serving time-series data from the New Zealand National Climate Database providing online access to public climate data.

The NIWA National Climate Database (CliDB, listed in the Nationally Significant Databases & Collections) holds a wealth of climate data. To provide researchers, regional councils and the general public access to these time-series datasets through a standardised web interface, the implementation of a Sensor Observation Service (SOS) server on top of the CLIDB is envisaged. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of government agencies, universities and companies participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available and interoperable geo-spatial interface standards The OGC Sensor Observation Service is such a standardised Web Service specification using Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) technologies for delivering time-series observation data e.g. in the OGC and ISO standardised Observations & Measurements (O&M, ISO 19156) data encoding over the internet. NIWA is seeking to establish an instance of this Service serving NZ climate data, as well as developing a simple client demonstrating the capability and use of the service. The client application should demonstrate the server capabilities, much like this video and the demonstration web site by CSIRO

All development will be using open source tools and libraries. The results of this project will also be released under an open licence, to enable all potential users of climate data to have free and unemcumbered use of the ouputs of this project.

Students should be familiar with Oracle databases, timeseries data management, OGC Web Services specifications and standards, in particular the SOS version 1.0.0 and the O&M encoding. Programming experience in Java, and the construction of web sites intended for data delivery and exploration is required. Further advantage would be familiarity with existing Open Source SOS server implementations like the 52°North SOS server.

The benefits of the project include well managed freshwater use & potential impacts of climate change are critical for any country to plan & manage its natural resources. One of the foundations of any effort in these domains is ready access to climate (including rainfall) information.

NIWA intends that SOS services become the primary delivery mechanism of its climate, hydrometric and other time-series data to internal research staff, and also central, regional and local government, businesses, NGO's, utilities and the general public via appropriate SOS web clients. Such services provide a database independent, standards compliant approach to data discovery and delivery. Furthermore the NIWA National Climate Database (CliDB) contains a Nationally Significant Database.

This capability is critical to complying with NIWA's statement of Core Purpose, in particular: “transfer technology and knowledge from domestic and international sources to key New Zealand stakeholders, including industry, government and Māori”

NIWA is collaborating with a wide range of New Zealand and international agencies to determine strategies and appropriate standards to provide interoperable discovery and delivery facilities for data managed by NIWA, as well as to develop systems to implement those strategies. These include: CSIRO, BOM (Bureau of Meteorology), AODC (Australian Ocean Data Centre), IMOS (Integrated Marine Observing System) in Australia. Iquest and Kisters (New Zealand and internationally), 52o North.

Furthermore collaboration with GNS Science in the NZ-EU cooperative groundwater project SMART (, is intended, to support those who seek to incorporate climate data for their research towards characterizing New Zealand’s aquifers.

Submitted by Tim McNamara on