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Programmatic Retrieval of USGS Water Data: The Data Retrievals
USGS Baltimore , United States. email@example.com
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the largest providers of U.S. hydrologic data, which are used in informing policy, managing water resources, and countless scientific studies. Modern science is increasingly conducted by performing analysis on data that are first loaded from an online database into a local computational environment. To facilitate open and reproducible hydrologic science, the USGS has developed dataRetrieval (R), dataretrieval (Python), and DataRetrieval.jl (Julia): three packages providing multi-language access to hydrologic data from the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as the multi-agency Water Quality Portal. The Julia, Python, and R programming languages are open source, high-level (easy to program), have large communities of scientific users and developers. Notably, these three languages are the core languages supported by Project Jupyter, and run in the Jupyter Notebook, a popular web-based interactive computing platform.
These packages, collectively the “data retrievals,” allow scientists to programmatically access USGS hydrologic data in Julia, Python, and R. The “data retrievals” enable more than simply the retrieval of environmental data, they also provide tooling for data discovery, enabling users to find monitoring sites and identify what types of data are available at which locations. These functions represent foundational building blocks allowing for the creation of fully reproducible hydrologic workflows from data acquisition to output plots, tables, and reports.