OPeNDAP has developed a software framework that simplifies all aspects of scientific data networking, allowing simple access to remote data. Local data can be made accessible to remote locations regardless of local storage format by using servers. Existing, familiar data analysis and visualization applications can be transformed into clients (i.e., applications able to access remote served data).
Take a look at our answer to the question "What Will OPeNDAP Do For Me?".
The OPeNDAP Data Access Protocol (DAP) is a protocol for requesting and transporting data across the web. DAP 2.0 uses HTTP to frame the requests and responses. For details on DAP, see Data Access Protocol (DAP), version 2 which is a technical description of the Data Access Protocol. This was submitted to NASA's Earth Science Data Systems Standards Process Group and has been accepted as a Recommended Standard (submitted on 8/8/2004, accepted 10/8/2007). The official NASA ESE/RFC distribution point for DAP2 may provide a more up to date version and also has additional documentation regarding NASA/ESE's adoption of DAP2 as a community standard.
OPeNDAP supports a community of users working together to use, improve, and extend the DAP protocol and software.
The design of the OPeNDAP software was based on these two considerations:
This has resulted in a highly distributed system that allows users to control the distribution of their own data and the way they access data from remote sites.
OPeNDAP software is open-source and is intended to facilitate building community driven projects for developing end-to-end systems which can locate, understand, access, and use scientific data. OPeNDAP has already developed:
Although the OPeNDAP software was originally designed and developed by oceanographers and computer scientists for oceanographic data (as part of the DODS and NVODS projects), there is nothing in the design of the OPeNDAP software that constrains its use to oceanography. Indeed, it has been adopted by the High Altitude Observatory community and is being considered by segments of the meteorological and space science communities.
Once a user's data analysis application (or API) is made network-savvy with the OPeNDAP tools, the scope of an application's search for data is extended because remote data becomes as accessible as local data. A DAP-enabled application can:
The truly remarkable part: you don't have to rewrite the code to enable many applications to work as a DAP clients.