Management issues in many sectors of society demand integrated analysis that can be supported by integrated modelling. Since all-inclusive modelling software is difficult to achieve, and possibly even undesirable, integrated modelling requires the linkage of individual models or model components that address specific domains. Emerging from the water sector, the OpenMI has been developed with the purpose of being the glue that can link together model components from various origins. The OpenMI provides a standardized interface to define, describe and transfer data on a time basis between software components that run simultaneously, thus supporting systems where feedback between the modelled processes is necessary in order to achieve physically sound results. The OpenMI allows the linking of models with different spatial and temporal representations: for example, linking river models and groundwater models, where the river model typically uses a one-dimensional grid and a short timestep and the groundwater model uses a two- or three-dimensional grid and a longer timestep. The OpenMI is designed to accommodate the easy migration of existing modelling systems, since their re-implementation may not be economically feasible due to the large investments that have been put into the development and testing of these systems.

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