About the Exchange Network

The Exchange Network (EN) is a secure Internet- and standards-based approach for exchanging environmental data and improving environmental decisions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State environmental departments, and U.S. tribes and territories are partnering to build the Exchange Network to increase access to environmental data, address the myriad of problems associated in exchanging data and make the exchange of data more efficient.

The EN uses extensible Markup Language (XML), web services and data standards to achieve interoperability between formerly incompatible systems.  The security of the network allows for safe, automatic exchange of data.

The EN is made up of web servers called Network Nodes that are managed by individual partners and securely connected to the internet. The node serves as the exchange point for data requests and submissions. Network Nodes automatically listen for and submit requests for data from other information trading partners and then deliver or publish the data based upon pre-described methods. Trading partners submit and retrieve data through the nodes using secure authentication. Network Nodes can be configured to communicate with other nodes on the network to access data directly from a trading partner or state node.

The language of the network Is XML – an open standard that describes data through simple but rigid syntax rules.  Each data exchange configures to a particular XML schema, defined and described by the parties involved in its development. On the EN, these schemas are known as flows. Incorporating data standards developed by the Environmental Data Standards Council, trading partners develop XML schemas and Data Exchange Templates (DETs) that standardize and identify the way information is shared, so partners can obtain and understand the data they need when they need it. There are several standard flows used by many state and federal agencies as well as unique custom flows developed for specific data exchanges.  The Network Node is then configured to understand particular flows and parse the data into a database for delivery to the EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) or to respond to a data request from an individual or another network node.

Trading partners map their data to a flow schema, generate the XML, and then submit the XML via node client software. This can be automated for partners with continuous monitoring data that is frequently updated. Partners with less frequent updates can manually submit the formatted data.

Data exchanges on the EN are defined and managed by trading partner agreements (TPA) that define the data being exchanged, format, business rules, frequency and other specific details. The TPA is developed by the partners and is signed by each active trading partner.

For more information on the Exchange Network:



Exchange Network Node