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hddtools stands for Hydrological Data Discovery Tools. This R package is an open source project designed to facilitate access to a variety of online open data sources relevant for hydrologists and, in general, environmental scientists and practitioners.

This typically implies the download of a metadata catalogue, selection of information needed, a formal request for dataset(s), de-compression, conversion, manual filtering and parsing. All those operations are made more efficient by re-usable functions.

Depending on the data license, functions can provide offline and/or online modes. When redistribution is allowed, for instance, a copy of the dataset is cached within the package and updated twice a year. This is the fastest option and also allows offline use of package’s functions. When re-distribution is not allowed, only online mode is provided.


Get the stable version from CRAN:


Or the development version from GitHub using the package remotes:


Load the hddtools package:

Data sources and Functions

The package contains functions to interact with the data providers listed below. For examples of the various functionalities see the vignette.

  • KGClimateClass: The Koppen Climate Classification map is used for classifying the world’s climates based on the annual and monthly averages of temperature and precipitation.

  • GRDC: The Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) provides datasets for all the major rivers in the world.

  • Data60UK: The Data60UK initiative collated datasets of areal precipitation and streamflow discharge across 61 gauging sites in England and Wales (UK).

  • MOPEX: This dataset contains historical hydrometeorological data and river basin characteristics for hundreds of river basins in the US.

  • SEPA: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) provides river level data for hundreds of gauging stations in the UK.


  • This package and functions herein are part of an experimental open-source project. They are provided as is, without any guarantee.
  • Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms.
  • Please report any issues or bugs.
  • License: GPL-3
  • This package was reviewed by Erin Le Dell and Michael Sumner for submission to ROpenSci (see review here) and the Journal of Open Source Software (see review status here).
  • Cite hddtools: citation(package = "rdefra")