A sustainable interaction between mankind and the dynamic natural system provides a great number of hydraulic and environmental engineering challenges. The paradigm to confront these challenges one-project-at-a-time, while attractive from a budget management perspective, results in grave inefficiencies in the development and maintenance of the basic elements that are invariably involved: data, models and tools.

Hardly any project is by itself of sufficient scale to comprehensively develop easy accessible high quality data archives, state-of-the-art model systems and well tested practical analysis tools under version control. As a result research and consultancy projects commonly spend a significant part of their budget to set-up some basic infrastructure, most of which dissipates again once the project is finished.

OpenEarth is the open source initiative to archive, host and disseminate Data, Models and Tools for marine & coastal scientist and engineers. It aims to remedy the above-described inefficiencies by providing a project-superseding approach.

To facilitate steady and continuous development and growth of these building blocks even beyond the man-made boundaries of projects Subversion repositories are utilised for storage, back-up and version control of raw data, scripts and source code. Products are shared freely via various web based tools. As a result research and consultancy projects no longer need to waste valuable resources by repeatedly starting from scratch. Rather they can build on the preserved efforts from countless projects before them.

The following paper describes the OpenEarth approach in more detail.