Core of the OpenEarth philosophy on tools is that by systematically storing, maintaining and disseminating data I/O routines, engines, applications and programs at a central location, slowly but surely a toolbox emerges that acts as a collective memory to which analysts and end users naturally gravitate regarding their basic information needs.
The long term focus of the approach promotes collaboration and the exchange of ideas (across the artificial boundaries of projects and even companies) which is beneficial for the hydraulic and environmental research and engineering community as a whole.
The idea to collect, maintain and disseminate data, models and tools used by and developed at Delft Hydraulics was first put forward in 2003 by Mark van Koningsveld as quantitative support for, and in fact as an extension of, the Frame of reference method he developed during his PhD research. The initiative quickly merged with the similar intiatives by Gerben de Boer and Robin Morelissen that emerged at roughly that same time.
Related initiatives (which OpenEarth does not intend to compete with, but to share with and to learn from):
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