About WDTF

What is WDTF?

WDTF is an XML format for transferring water information. Over 240 organisations are required to give specified water information to the Bureau under the Water Regulations 2008.

Flood warning and forecasting data is transferred to the Bureau using the HCS (Hydrological Comma Separated) format. HCS does not support the full range of data required by the regulations. Over the coming years the Bureau will designate WDTF as the required format in which to transfer this information.

WDTF has been developed by the Bureau and CSIRO (see WDTF initial development). New versions of WDTF are released periodically.

The current version of the WDTF (v1.2) supports data for Regulations categories 1–7 and 9.

WDTF initial development

Industry representatives and the Bureau reviewed the Water Regulations to establish data transfer requirements. CSIRO, Greenspan, Kisters, Rubicon and SRA Information Technology contributed in workshops to define WDTF concepts and relationships needed to convey water information. The agreed content was then encoded into XML through the WIRADA project.

The XML encoding for WDTF is based on a GML Simple Features (GML– SF) implementation of the Observations and Measurements (O&M) standard. GML– SF is a profile that only uses a subset of GML, reflecting the most common WFS (Web Feature Service) use of GML3.

See also: Walker, G. , P. Taylor, S. Cox and P. Sheahan (2009). Water Data Transfer Format (WDTF): Guiding principles, technical challenges and the future. In Anderssen, R.S., R.D. Braddock and L.T.H. Newham (eds) 18th World IMACS Congress and MODSIM09 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand and International Association for Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, July 2009, pp. 2377-2383. ISBN: 978-0-9758400-7-8. This document is also included in each WDTF download package

WDTF versions and validation

The Bureau's policy on WDTF versioning states that versions are classed as Major, Minor or Bug-fix releases.

  • Major or Minor versions will not be released in less that 12 months of the previous version release,
  • Major and Minor releases may include extensions to the schema or structural changes,
  • Bug-fix releases address errors,
  • Bug-fix releases do not extend the schema or make structural changes,
  • Bug-fix releases are backwards compatible and may be released at any time

Each version of the WDTF Download Package contains: detailed documentation, WDTF file examples, and schemas.

The Bureau also maintains a WDTF Validation Service

Future directions

Components of WDTF address similar requirements to other existing standards. Work is being completed to harmonise these efforts using a standards–based, model–driven approach. The design of WDTF is compatible with this model–driven approach. WDTF data requirements are a superset of those being considered in the harmonisation activity. Once completed, the harmonised components will be integrated into WDTF. It is anticipated that this work will be the basis for future versions of WDTF.

The harmonisation work is being completed through the OGC's hydrology domain working group (Hydrology DWG). The Hydrology DWG is a forum for collaboration and development of standards for hydrological data. The purpose of the Hydrology DWG is to provide a venue and mechanism for seeking technical and institutional solutions to the challenge of describing and exchanging data describing the state and location of water resources, both above and below the ground surface. The path to adoption will be through OGC papers and standards, advanced to ISO where appropriate, and also through the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) and its Commission for Hydrology (CHy) and Water Information Systems (WIS) activities.

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