A proposal for rapid model development system using existing open data services


Janne Ropponen ja Janne Juntunen

Suomen ympäristökeskus


A new web-based top-down modelling system is proposed in which the full benefit of open data policy is realised. The system combines already existing georeferenced open data services with open source mathematical models and adds automatic data collection, processing and code generation capabilities. The system is meant for scientists, experts, consultants and the knowledgable public as a tool and interface to ease the tedious task of data collection and processing. Indirect benefits include introducing a lower threshold for modelling studies of environmental impacts.


In the first phase the system is introduced with aquatic modelling capabilities in Finland, but is designed to be easily expandable. Specifically, the system automates the generation of a) the computational grid from available bathymetry databases, b) the meteorological forcing from FMI databases, c) the open boundary conditions either from measured data or from data calculated by SYKE’s Watershed Simulation and Forecasting System (WSFS), and d) model code using available open source software.


As a concrete example, the system provides a first-guess 3D lake model code for any lake which has bathymetry and forcing data available from open data sources within Finland. The user can input additional measurement data, download the full code and forcing files, and continue working on the model locally. Models can also be easily connected within the system: For example, models for catchment, lake, river, health impact and economy can be linked to study the economic effects caused by harmful substances travelling all the way from the catchment to the sea.


The system is designed to utilise fully open interfaces which can enable interested parties to add more functionality, models and data into the system. Cloud computing options and a possibility for non-public entities to add proprietary data that can be licensed through the system for a fee are also envisioned.