Solar Forecast Arbiter Data Access Control Workflow

This guide descibes how to use the the Solar Forecast Arbiter’s role based access control system to manage access to data on the system.

Account Creation

New framework users will need to sign up through the Solar Forecast Arbiter dashboard. The signup form can be found by following the ‘Log in’ link on the front page of the dashboard and clicking on the sign up tab. New users will need to verify their email before they will be able to access data in the Solar Forecast Arbiter.

Upon account creation users are granted access to view only the reference data set, but may not contribute data. Users will need to be part of an organization that has signed the Data Use Agreement to contribute data, generate reports, or access data shared by an organization.

Establishing or Joining an Organization

After creating an account, users should contact the framework administrators at help@solarforecastarbiter.org to establish a new organization or join an existing organization. To establish a new organization, the framework administrators will provide the user with a non-negotiable Data Use Agreement, the user will review the Data Use Agreement and return the Data Use Agreement signed by an authorized representative of the organization. A point of contact will be established to verify future updates to the organization. To join a previously established organization, framework administrators will verify with the organization’s point of contact that the user is authorized to join the organization.

An organization administrator will be appointed to manage data access, this will typically be the user who initiated the request for an Organization. Organization administrators are privileged users that can grant and revoke access to data that their organization owns. An organization administrator may grant administrative privileges to other users. Organization administrators will use the data access controls described below to grant access to data in the organization. To remove a user from an organization, an organization admin should contact framework administrators. When a user is removed from an organization, they will lose access to all organizations’ data but retain permission to view the reference data set.

Data Access Controls

Organization administrators will use the Solar Forecast Arbiter’s data access controls to grant users access to their data or to allow users to submit data on their organization’s behalf.

The Solar Forecast Arbiter uses a Role Based Access Control System to control access to data. There are four main components in the access control system:

  • Organizations

    Organizations are groups of users. All data submitted by users within an organization will belong to that organization. An organization’s administrators will control access to all of the data belonging to the organization.

  • Users

    Framework user accounts determine what actions an end user can perform within the framework. A user is granted access to data through the roles they are assigned.

  • Roles

    Roles are a collection of permissions that may be assigned to a user. A user’s roles typically only grant permissions necessary for their job function or title. For instance, an organization administrator’s roles will have permissions to create new roles and permissions, while a non-administrative user’s roles may only have permission to view and write data to the organization’s forecasts. Roles may also be created to share data with users outside of the organization.

  • Permissions

    Permissions allow a user to perform an action on a piece of data or pieces of similar objects in the framework. For instance, a permission may allow a user to view the metadata of an observation or post values to all forecasts. Permissions are added to roles to enable users with that role to perform the permission’s action. A permission can only allow actions on data owned by the organization in which it was created.

Default Roles

When a new organization is created, a set of default roles will be created for the organization.

The default roles are described below:

  • View all data and metadata: Access all of the metadata and values in the organization. This includes observations, forecasts, probabilistic forecasts, sites and reports.

  • Write all values: Allows a user to submit data within the organization e.g. adding measurements to an observation.

  • Create metadata: Allows a user to create new sites, observations, forecasts and probabilistic forecasts. Also allows the creation of reports.

  • Delete data and metadata: Allows a user to delete sites, observations, forecasts, probabilistic forecasts as well as any associated values.

  • Administer data access controls: Granted to organization administrators, this role allows:

    • Create and delete new roles and permissions.

    • Add and remove permissions from roles.

    • Add or remove data objects from a permission.

    • Grant and revoke roles on a user.

These roles are intended for use within the organization as they permit actions on all existing and future data in an organization. For sharing data with users outside their organization, organization administrators are advised to create roles with specific permissions that apply to only the data they would like to share.

Sharing Data With Other Organizations

An organization administrator may grant roles to users outside of their organization. These roles allow organizations to share data with users of other organizations. Roles granted to users outside of the organization may not contain administrative permissions that allow users to perform an update, create or delete action on roles, permissions or users. Similarly, a permission allowing such actions may not be added to a role that is currently shared with a user outside the organization.