HydrOffice framework

Rationale

HydrOffice represents a collaborative effort led by the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping to develop a research software environment with applications to facilitate all phases of the ping-to-chart process: facilitate data acquisition, automate and enhance data processing, and improve hydrographic products.

The environment, by minimizing the efforts to kick-start and by easing the configuration management, facilitates the creation of new tools for researcher, students and in the field; and, potentially, it eases the industrialization of some of these tools. The overall goal is thus to speed up both algorithms testing and Research-to-Operation (R2O).

HydrOffice’s wide scope is structured in three research themes:

  • Facilitate Data Acquisition.
  • Automate and Enhance Data Processing.
  • Improve Hydrographic Products.

These themes drive the creation of a collection of hydro-packages, each of them dealing with a specific issue of the field.

HydrOffice has open licenses and encourages free contribution, and can facilitate development with an existing infrastructure and interface. Individual tools within HydrOffice are built in contained, modularized structures, such that they can be easily updated and maintained.

One of the main HydrOffice requirement is easiness in its extension. This goal is achieved by natively supporting a plugin architecture:

  • Base packages provide with common boiler-plate code.
  • Several hydro-packages where each one ship a few task-specific algorithms and can access common code from the base packages.

Furthermore, a skeleton package is provided with a base GUI to speed up and to ease the focus on the targeted weakness.

Finally, the individual tools in HydrOffice are usually also provided as “frozen”, standalone, click-and-play solutions that require no installation on behalf of the user.

All of the HydrOffice applications are made available within Pydro (an in-house hydrographic environment developed and maintained by NOAA Office of Coast Survey's Hydrographic Systems and Technology Branch), to facilitate delivery to (and feedback from) NOAA users.