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A container-based approach for sharing environmental models as web services

, Zhiyu Li, Fengyuan Zhang, Daniel P. Ames, , E. James Nelson, Rohit Khattar
International Journal of Digital Earth pp 1-20; doi:10.1080/17538947.2021.1925758

Abstract: As researchers globally work towards a fully digital representation of the earth and its processes – i.e. a true Digital Earth – the need grows for software and systems to link disparate computer simulation models of various parts of the earth in a reliable and highly functional way. Web services have been demonstrated as an effective way to share and reuse models as they enable communication and interoperation among applications via the Internet. However, even using well-designed software tools, it remains a daunting process to publish heterogeneous environmental models as web services and provide long-term maintenance in response to changing computational environments. We present an approach that enables environmental models to be published as long-term functional web services on the same platform regardless of execution mode, programming language, and computational environment conflicts. The approach adopts the OpenGMS Wrapper System (OGMS-WS) for service publishing and Docker containers for model isolation. A streamflow prediction service is developed using this approach and is applied to analyze historical streamflow trends in Bangladesh. We demonstrate that this approach can lower the barrier to deploying heterogeneous environmental models as long-term functional web services, contributing to the development of a Digital Earth.
Keywords: Environmental models / container / OpenGMS platform / web service

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