Environmental model access and interoperability: The GEO Model Web initiative

Stefano Nativi, Paolo Mazzetti, Gary N. Geller
2013 Environmental Modelling & Software  
Keywords: Model Web Composition as a Service (CaaS) Model as a Service (MaaS) GEOSS Environmental Modelling Interoperability a b s t r a c t The Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Model Web initiative utilizes a Model as a Service approach to increase model access and sharing. It relies on gradual, organic growth leading towards dynamic webs of interacting models, analogous to the World Wide Web. The long term vision is for a consultative infrastructure that can help address "what if" and other
more » ... estions that decision makers and other users have. Four basic principles underlie the Model Web: open access, minimal barriers to entry, service-driven, and scalability; any implementation approach meeting these principles will be a step towards the long term vision. Implementing a Model Web encounters a number of technical challenges, including information modelling, minimizing interoperability agreements, performance, and long term access, each of which has its own implications. For example, a clear information model is essential for accommodating the different resources published in the Model Web (model engines, model services, etc.), and a flexible architecture, capable of integrating different existing distributed computing infrastructures, is required to address the performance requirements. Architectural solutions, in keeping with the Model Web principles, exist for each of these technical challenges. There are also a variety of other key challenges, including difficulties in making models interoperable; calibration and validation; and social, cultural, and institutional constraints. Although the long term vision of a consultative infrastructure is clearly an ambitious goal, even small steps towards that vision provide immediate benefits. A variety of activities are now in progress that are beginning to take those steps. A system of interacting models need not use Web services but could exchange information in a variety of ways including ftp, file sharing, and customized APIs. For example, for models exchanging large volumes of data, or with many cross-model iterations, other means of exchanging information may be more suitable. This "heterogeneous Model Web" is important but outside the scope of this paper.
doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2012.03.007 fatcat:emehd6dnjrhghk6amt7av3w7u4