Project Description

About Dr. David Tarboton

Dr. David Tarboton
Utah Water Research Laboratory
College of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering

David Tarboton is the director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory and a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Utah State University. He has a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been on the faculty at Utah State University since 1990. His research is in the area of surface water hydrology, focused on developing hydrologic models that take advantage of new information and process understanding enabled by new technology.

He emphasizes collaboration and working across disciplines. He is principal investigator on the National Science Foundation project for the development of HydroShare, a hydrologic information system for sharing hydrologic data and models operated by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).

He has contributed to advances in terrain analysis for hydrology, terrain stability mapping and stream sediment inputs, geomorphology, stochastic and nonparametric statistical methods in hydrology, and snow hydrology. His group has developed and supports open source software packages implementing many of the research capabilities developed, notably the TauDEM software for derivation of hydrologic information from digital elevation models, and the Utah Energy Balance snowmelt model.

Hydrologic Information Systems: Enabling the Free Flow of Water Data

This presentation will describe work being done at the Utah Water Research Laboratory (UWRL) on the development of Hydrologic Information Systems. The increasing availability of data from a variety of sensors presents both a challenge and an opportunity for researchers in many fields, including hydrology. The data now available offers the potential for increased understanding through collaboration and by combining information from multiple sources, but the volume of data produced by researchers far outstrips our ability to effectively use it.

To help researchers manage and interpret data, technology has been developed in the form of Hydrologic Information Systems. HydroShare, a web-based system developed by UWRL researchers, enables researchers to more easily share data, computer models, and results from their research in a variety of formats to help manage, organize, and interpret the variety and volume of data now available.

By enabling the sharing of research results — not just the final journal article, but also the original data, computer code, and analytical steps used to arrive at the results — HydroShare enhances transparency and trust in research findings. It enables research that builds on the work of others, reusing data to develop a better and more comprehensive understanding of hydrologic processes and systems and to make decisions better informed by data.