KIT Climate and Environment Center

V-FOR-WaTer – Virtual research environment for water and terrestrial environmental research

The virtual research environment V-FOR-WaTer aims at simplifying data access for environmental sciences, fostering data publications and facilitating pre-processing and data analyses with a comprehensive toolbox. By giving scientists from universities, research facilities and state offices easy access to data, appropriate pre-processing and analysis tools and workflows, we want to accelerate scientific work and facilitate the reproducibility of analyses.
The prototype of the virtual research environment consists of a database with a detailed metadata scheme that is adapted to water and terrestrial environmental data. Datasets in the web portal originate from university projects and state offices. We are also finalising the connection of V-FOR-WaTer to GFZ Data Services, a repository for geoscientific data. This will ease publication of data from the portal and in turn give access to datasets stored in this repository. The compliance of the metadata scheme with international standards (INSPIRE, ISO19115) is key to being compatible with established repositories and other initiatives.
The web portal is designed to facilitate typical workflows in environmental sciences. Map operations and filter options ensure easy selection of the data, while the workspace area provides tools for data pre-processing, scaling, and common hydrological applications. The toolbox also contains more specific tools, e.g. for geostatistics and soon for evapotranspiration. It is easily extendable and will ultimately also include user-developed tools, reflecting the current research topics and methodologies in the hydrology community. Tools are accessed through Web Processing Services (WPS) and can be joined and saved as workflows, enabling more complex analyses and reproducibility of the research.