Water Resource API List and Development

Hi everyone,

Currently California is experiencing a recorded setting drought and I thought that it might be a good idea to start working on a few API packages that connect to water resource information. Tomorrow I’ll start to compile a list of existing packages and post them here. There isn’t a whole lot I can do to directly help the people affected by this but I hope that if we can make the tools available to access the data for researchers and the general public it might make a difference. This topic is kind of personal to me because I grew up, live, and go to school in the San Joaquin Valley.

Here are a couple links to articles about the drought


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Hi Kyle. Good idea! Anything ropensci can do to help?

@kylehamilton hows it going with this, much progress yet?

:+1: for this!

@kylehamilton a good place to start might be with USGS. Jordan Read and colleagues put together a nice site using a lot of different data sources on the drought - http://cida.usgs.gov/ca_drought/ .

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Given the resources I list below, the major missing things (in my view):

  • good api wrapper for California Data Exchange Center. there are some efforts in other languages: an in-progress project called calidrought (search github) and a mature looking python wrapper called ulmo
  • A good, focused list of water-specific data sources. As I said,
    many of these are in the WebTech task view and some editing / adding
    there might be a good first goal

Some resources in R

  • R package IHA (Indicators of Hydrologic ALteration) package (search rforge not maintained recently but has a simple function to download from waterdata(dot)usgs(dot)gov

  • I used a modified version of that function for a project in 2012 (benefit tools repo on my github)

  • we also used function from R package hydroTSM (on CRAN) package for hydro modelling (no data retrieval in that package)

  • had it been available at that time, I would have used CRAN pkg waterData authored by folks at USGS

  • another effort from USGS that may or may not supersede waterData is dataRetrieval (on CRAN) which promises Retrieval Functions for USGS and EPA Hydrologic and Water
    Quality Data

The waterData package and many related resources, including precip and other climate data, are listed at webtech task view. For other data packages from USGS specifically check out their GitHub org called USGS-R

PS: not trying to be curt by saying ‘search github’ etc, but can only post 2 links as a new user

This post flagged something that bugged me about the WebTechnologies taskview when I ran across it before. It’s a great collection of data resources, but its name and description don’t highlight that fact.

I’ve filed an issue to discuss splitting it into 2 or 3 views. @kylehamilton you should join the discussion there too