data products; provision of algorithms, models, and forecasts that facilitate the integration of data across scales of space and time, as well as the generation of predictions and forecasts; and the timely dissemination of data and information in forms that can be readily discovered and used by scientists, educators, and the public. Realizing this vision will require significant advances in research and development. In particular, new approaches for data quality assurance and quality control, automated encoding of metadata with data, and algorithms that enable integration of data across broad scales of space (single-point sensors to regional-scale hyperspectral imagery) and time (fractions of seconds, in the case of some sensors, to days to weeks, in the case of some remotely sensed data products).

We propose several guiding principles that would facilitate the creation of the cyberinfrastructure needed to support environmental observation and forecasting. First, open architecture solutions are central to enabling the rapid adoption of new hardware and software technologies. Second, nonproprietary and, ideally, open-source software solutions (e.g., middleware, metadata management protocols) promote the modularity, extensibility, scalability, and security that are needed for observation and forecasting. Third, development and adoption of community standards (e.g., data transport, quality assurance/quality control, metadata specifications, interface operations) will more easily support system interoperability. Fourth, open access to data and information and the provision of customizable portals are key to meeting the needs of scientists, educators, and the public for timely access to data, information, and forecasts.

In this chapter we have discussed new opportunities for incorporating modeling and data communication into integrated hydrologic measurement systems, and summarized the elements that might go into such a system. In the next chapter we present summaries of case studies developed by the committee based on existing and proposed measurement systems. The purpose of these examples is to provide context for the ideas discussed above and to provide insight into the requirements and challenges associated with the development of integrated hydrologic measurement systems.

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