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Title: DotAGWA: A case study in web-based architectures for connecting surface water models to spatially enabled web applications

item Cate, Averill
item Semmens, Darius
item Guertin, D.
item Goodrich, David - Dave

Submitted to: Computer Simulation Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2007
Publication Date: 8/15/2007
Citation: Cate, A., Semmens, D., Guertin, D.P., Goodrich, D.C. 2007. DotAGWA: A case study in web-based architectures for connecting surface water models to spatially enabled web applications. Summer Computer Simulation Conference. In: Proceedings of the 2007 summer computer simulation conference. San Diego, California. p. 885-892.

Interpretive Summary: DotAGWA is an Internet based application that combines geospatial data and surface water models. End-users delineate a watershed and define a management plan for the watershed by drawing points, lines and/or polygons on a map. The input data are gathered from various databases built into the application or accessible through the Internet. The input data sets are extracted by using the delineated watershed and once created are passed to the hydrologic models. Users run the model(s) and are allowed to download the output data for further analysis and/or review. All of the features built into the web application are hosted on a server that making the application available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. This paper discuses findings and experiences that have emerged during the development process of the DotAGWA web application. This paper also discusses possible solutions used to address any technical problems that emerged during application development.

Technical Abstract: The Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool is a desktop application that uses widely available standardized spatial datasets to derive inputs for multi-scale hydrologic models (Miller et al., 2007). The required data sets include topography (DEM data), soils, climate, and land-cover data. These data are used to develop input parameter files for two USDA-ARS watershed runoff and erosion models: the Kinematic Runoff and Erosion Model (KINEROS2, Smith et al., 1995; and the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT, Arnold et al., 1994; AGWA has proved to be a useful tool for many different applications. Not all potential users, however, have access to the geospatial data or software required to process it and run tools like AGWA. In addition, some potential users recognized the value in being able to use the application, but did not have adequate technical training to gather and process the necessary data and run the application through a geospatial information system (GIS) software platform. A Web-based version of AGWA, DotAGWA, was developed to address these issues and cater to a wider potential user audience. This paper describes the design and structure of the DotAGWA application and discusses important findings related to issues and problems that emerged during application development. In particular, important issues emerged related to configuring a system that would connect surface water models, originally intended as desktop applications, to a spatially enabled web application. Some of these issues include input and output file management for model runs when models are executed from the web-client to the server’s operating system, configuring the systems spatial and non-spatial data requirements in a web server environment, and designing an extensible or at least re-usable system architecture.