ARCHIVED CONTENT: In December 2020, the CZO program was succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net) ×

Highlights of CZO data resources and activities

Critical Zone cross-section. After Chorover et al, 2007. Catalina-Jemez CZO

22 Feb 2019

Examples of CZO data resources and activities. Includes information on the future migration of our data catalog to HydroShare

Image: Critical Zone cross-section. After Chorover et al, 2007. Catalina-Jemez CZO [Click image to enlarge]

Data highlights

For AGU 2018, we've assembled a two-page document with examples of CZO data activities.

On this page:



CZ science uses integrated, diverse data

Critical Zone scientists need integrated data to inform our theoretical frameworks, constrain our conceptual and numerical models, and test our hypotheses -- both within a CZO and across the CZO network.

  • Highly interdisciplinary data. 
  • Very wide range of timescales.
  • Many data types (sensors & samples).

Current data access

Start at
Search our centralized metadata catalog 

Browse 70+ main topics including Meteorology,  Soil Moisture, GIS/MapData, 
Streamflow/Discharge, Precipitation, Soil Temperature, LiDAR,  Stream Water Chemistry, and many more.

Access additional resources
Data catalogs at individual observatories.
  • Domain-specific, long-term repositories (i.e. LiDAR at



Network data products

Assembling cross-CZO datasets

In the past few years, CZO data managers have been synthesizing more of CZO’s common measurements into cross-network data products. Some products are complete and available on via the national/data webpage. Transfer of some of the datasets to CUAHSI's HydroShare repository is underway.

Example cross-CZO datasets


Tool development

Data management software

With our partners, CZO has contributed to a series of software projects that help structure and manage our diverse data. They include:

  • ODM2 - Robust data model for Critical Zone science.
  • ODM2 Admin - Management of sensor and sample-based 
data collected from a field site.
  • Clowder - Customized data catalogs in the cloud to help 
manage research data for groups and communities.
  • Dendra - Interface for sensor database, University of 
California’s SensorBase.



Improved data discovery across the CZO network, in one location

CUAHSI HydroShare enables groups and individuals to share data and models:
 storage, analysis, and publication

CZO is partnering with CUAHSI to migrate our data catalog from to CUAHSI’s repository later in 2019 

Partnering will provide a more sustainable data management solution for the CZO community.  Improvements to HydroShare made on behalf of CZO will benefit the entire HydroShare user community.

Central, long-term repository

Migrated data will have improved long-term viability and enhanced discoverability.

  • Our current storage is limited to individual CZOs and 
domain-specific repositories like
  • Migration is especially important for data at risk of 
becoming inaccessible (i.e. grad student research).
  • Completed data resources can be issued DOIs.
  • Using HydroShare infrastructure will reduce our
 dependence on hardware and software at all CZOs.

Note: Not all CZO data can be migrated to HydroShare in 2019.  Although we will migrate all the metadata, transferring all data is too large of a project for the short term.  We will start with easily accessible flat files.

Improved search & browse

We gain a metadata catalog with more functionality.

  • Current system has limited functionality derived from a 
standard Content Management System (CMS).
  • HydroShare is optimized for science metadata, i.e., 
automatic extraction of metadata from some file types.

More controlled vocabulary (CV) terms than before.

  • Yields better search results, improved data interoperability 
among CZOs and with outside organizations.
  • More standardization of terms, especially for variables.
 For example, instead of a half dozen ways to denote 
dissolved calcium, there will be one. 
  • Initial work condensed ~1900 variable names down to 
340 standard terms (within ODM2 information model).


Enhanced collaboration

CZO researchers can work together more easily and share more widely. 

  • Work privately with others on preliminary data. When 
ready, make data discoverable and/or downloadable. 
  • Explore data with others via the JupyterHub app, including online analysis & modelling.
  • Share all products of a study, including primary data, 
supporting data, workflows, and models.
  • Connect to the robust HydroShare API for data access 
and reuse by individuals and applications.


HydroShare + Clowder

CZO and CUAHSI are collaborating with the Clowder team (led by NCSA), with emphasis on authoring metadata and interoperability between HydroShare and Clowder.

  • Clowder is online software that helps communities manage research data via customized data catalogs and data 
processing tools.
  • Clowder has strengths in incrementally adding data and 
metadata, data visualization, & other custom functionality.
  • HydroShare has strengths in long-term data archival, 
publication, discovery, and connections to models via apps.

Migration of CZO data catalog to HydroShare


After Chorover et al, 2007. Catalina-Jemez CZO

Locations of our nine Critical Zone Observatories

CUAHSI HydroShare enables groups and individuals to share data and models:
 storage, analysis, and publication

Migration of CZO data catalog to HydroShare

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