The concept for OpenCDMS arose during work on the Climate Data Management System Specifications in 2014 and was formally proposed by the Expert Team for Climate Data Management Systems (ET-CDMS) the following year.

ET-CDMS Policy Statement

ET-CDMS notes that:

  • Currently, significant investment is needed to maintain a multitude of CDMS worldwide to generate data for national, regional and global analyses
  • These CDMS are not compliant with the new WMO-No.1131, Climate Data Management Systems Specifications
  • Significant investment will be required to conform to the requirements of WMO-No. 1131
  • It will be very expensive and wasteful of resources to develop the same functionality in many CDMS
  • There are several open source CDMS used by WMO Members
  • There is considerable potential to address this situation by rationalising these open source CDMS

Therefore ET-CDMS proposes that:

  • Open source CDMS should converge on one Reference Open Source CDMS, namely OpenCDMS
  • Investment is required to make this happen

The OpenCDMS project was adopted as an official project of the OpenWIS Association AISBL in May 2021.

The project originally encompassed two competing and conflicting approaches (previously referred to as “top-down” and “bottom-up”). The top-down approach aimed to begin by agreeing the necessary additional standards and design for a next-generation CDMS, with the system then being implemented as a new solution built on an entirely blank canvas.

The bottom-up approach aimed to begin with existing software and iteratively improve existing solutions to reach essentially the same outcome.

These competing approaches are now coexisting and stakeholders are collaborating on a common software core that can support both existing and future systems. This allows both approaches to proceed on different timescales. Furthermore, the common approach will improve interoperability and enable automated migration between systems.

The collaborative approach is illustrated in the OpenCDMS Architecture.