September 15, 2021: The NWS Implementation of the OGC API - Environmental Data Retrieval


Pangeo Showcase talk by Shane Mill and Steve Olson, NOAA - National Weather Service


Shane Mill has been an Application Developer within the Weather Information and Applications Division of the Meteorological Development Lab of the National Weather Service since September of 2018. Since joining MDL, Shane has prototyped ways that existing standards can enhance operational capabilities. More recently, he has contributed to the OGC Environmental Data Retrieval API Standards Working Group and OGC MetOcean Domain Working Group and has helped lead the development of the National Weather Service’s implementation of the EDR-API. In addition, Shane contributed to the development of the NWS National GIS Map Viewer.


An Environmental Data Retrieval (EDR) API provides a family of lightweight interfaces to access Environmental Data resources. Each resource addressed by an EDR API maps to a defined query pattern. This specification identifies resources, captures compliance classes, and specifies requirements which are applicable to OGC Environmental Data Retrieval API’s. This specification addresses two fundamental operations; discovery and query. Discovery operations allow the API to be interrogated to determine its capabilities and retrieve information (metadata) about this distribution of a resource. This includes the API definition of the server as well as metadata about the Environmental Data resources provided by the server. Query operations allow Environmental Data resources to be retrieved from the underlying data store based upon simple selection criteria, defined by this standard and selected by the client.

The National Weather Service’s implementation of the EDR-API makes use of open source software such as ZARR, Xarray, and Dask to enable optimized access to large environmental datasets through the use of N-Dimensional indexed arrays. The use of these technologies allows for a flexible and scalable backend of data that can be modified to fit different use cases. The NWS is investigating how the EDR-API can enhance existing operational web services.

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