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Standard Hydrometeorological Exchange Format
Decoder Software and Documentation

The Standard Hydrometeorological Exchange Format (SHEF) is a documented set of rules for coding of data in a form for both visual and computer recognition. It is designed specifically for real-time use and is not designed for historical or archival data transfer. All the critical elements for identification of data are covered. Station identifiers, parameter descriptors, time encoding conventions, unit and scale conventions, and comment fields are all part of the code.

SHEF was designed for inter- and intra-agency sharing of data,visual and machine readability, and compatibility with anticipated receiving databases. The widespread implementation of SHEF allows the same decoding software to process data from various agencies. New data sources can easily be added as they become available. The visual nature of SHEF allows users quickly to become familiar with it. SHEF fully qualifies the data so that receiving databases have all the necessary information to describe the data.

Current SHEF specification

How to install the software

How to use the software

Download the source code (using .gz).


  1. There are no known bugs.
  2. The decoding software handles the full range of SHEF syntax.

Contact for information on the SHEF code form

Contact for information on SHEF decoding software

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Page last modified: September 25, 2013
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