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Easier access to scientific data
   
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ERDDAP

ERDDAP is a data server that gives you a simple, consistent way to download subsets of gridded and tabular scientific datasets in common file formats and make graphs and maps. This particular ERDDAP installation has oceanographic data (for example, data from satellites and buoys).

Easier Access to Scientific Data

Our focus is on making it easier for you to get scientific data.

Different scientific communities have developed different types of data servers,
for example, OPeNDAP, WCS, SOS, OBIS, and countless custom web pages with forms. Each is great on its own. But without ERDDAP, it is difficult to get data from different types of servers:

  • Different data servers make you format your data request in different ways.
  • Different data servers return data in different formats, usually not the common file format that you want.
  • Different datasets use different formats for time data, so the results are hard to compare.

ERDDAP unifies the different types of data servers so you have a consistent way to get the data you want, in the format you want.

  • ERDDAP acts as a middleman between you and various remote data servers.
    When you request data from ERDDAP, ERDDAP reformats the request into the format required by the remote server, sends the request to the remote server, gets the data, reformats the data into the format that you requested, and sends the data to you. You no longer have to go to different data servers to get data from different datasets.
     
  • ERDDAP offers an easy-to-use, consistent way to request data: via the OPeNDAP standard.
    Many datasets can also be accessed via the Web Map Service (WMS).
     
  • ERDDAP returns data in the common file format of your choice.
    ERDDAP offers all data as .html table, ESRI .asc and .csv, Google Earth .kml, OPeNDAP binary, .mat, .nc, ODV .txt, .csv, .tsv, .json, and .xhtml. So you no longer have to waste time and effort reformatting data.
     
  • ERDDAP can also return a .png or .pdf image with a customized graph or map.
     
  • ERDDAP standardizes the dates+times in the results.
    Data from other data servers is hard to compare because the dates+times often are expressed in different formats (for example, "Jan 2, 1985", 2 Jan 85, 02-JAN-1985, 1/2/85, 2/1/85, 1985-01-02, "days since Jan 1, 1900").
    For string times, ERDDAP always uses the ISO 8601:2004(E) standard format, for example, 1985-01-02T00:00:00Z.
    For numeric times, ERDDAP always uses "seconds since 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z".
    ERDDAP always uses the Zulu (UTC, GMT) time zone to remove the difficulties of working with different time zones and standard time vs. daylight saving time.
    ERDDAP has a service to convert a numeric time to/from a string time.
     
  • ERDDAP has web pages (for humans with browsers) and RESTful web services (for computer programs).
    You can bypass ERDDAP's web pages and use ERDDAP's RESTful web services (for example, for searching for datasets, for downloading data, for making maps) directly from any computer program (for example, Matlab, R, or a program that you write) and even from web pages (via HTML image tags or JavaScript).

For a quick introduction to ERDDAP, watch the first half of this YouTube video (external link). (5 minutes)
In it, a scientist downloads ocean currents forecast data from ERDDAP to model a toxic spill in the ocean using NOAA's GNOME software (external link) (in 5 minutes!). Thanks to Rich Signell. (One tiny error in the video: when searching for datasets, don't use AND between search terms. It is implicit.)

Find out more about ERDDAP.

Data Providers: You can set up your own ERDDAP server and serve your own data.
ERDDAP is free and open source. It uses Apache-like licenses, so you can do anything you want with it. ERDDAP's appearance is customizable, so your ERDDAP will reflect your institution, not NOAA. The small effort to set up ERDDAP brings many benefits. If you already have a web service for distributing your data, you can set up ERDDAP to access your data via the existing service or via the source files or database. Then, people will have another way to access your data and will be able to download the data in additional file formats or as graphs or maps.


Start Using ERDDAP:
    Search for Interesting Datasets

 


Converters
In addition to serving data, ERDDAP has some handy converters:

Metadata
ERDDAP has Web Accessible Folders (WAF) with FGDC (? (external link)) and ISO 19115-2/19139 (? (external link)) .xml metadata files for all of the geospatial datasets.

RESTful Web Services
You can bypass ERDDAP's web pages and use ERDDAP's RESTful web services (for example, for searching for datasets, for downloading data, for making maps) directly from any computer program (for example, Matlab, R, or a program that you write) and even from web pages (via HTML image tags or JavaScript). documentation


 
ERDDAP, Version 1.54
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