CHaMP Workbench

Getting Started

Site Contents:

This page describes the steps to get up and running with the CHaMP Workbench software. All new users should perform these steps at least once to ensure that they have the latest reference CHaMP data and that the Workbench database is aware of where the topographic survey data are stored on their system.

Download the Workbench Software

  1. Check the downloads page to ensure that you have the pre-requisites installed.
  2. Download the Workbench software.
    1. Click the link to download the setup.exe file.
    2. Double click to run the setup.exe file. This will install the Workbench software.


  • Existing users can check for new versions and update the software at any time by choosing Check For Updates on the Help menu in the Workbench Software. See the download page for more detailed instructions.
  • You do not need administrative privileges to install the Workbench software because it installs into your user profile folder and not the C:\Program Files folder.

Create CHaMP Workspace

It is strongly recommended that you create a workspace for the data files related to the Workbench. This will be used as the home location for monitoring data and model inputs and outputs used by the Workbench. This workspace should be a folder on your computer, preferably at a high level (i.e. not nested inside too many other folders) and with no spaces in the path. Note that if you use a folder on your desktop or a folder inside your Windows profile, you need to ensure that your Windows user name does not include any spaces or periods! We recommend the following workspace folder structure:

C:\CHaMP                      <- main workspace folder
C:\CHaMP\MonitoringData       <- Raw CHaMP monitoring data (topo & hydro files from
C:\CHaMP\MonitoringDataZipped <- Download location for zipped data files
C:\CHaMP\InputOutputFiles     <- Model input and output files
C:\CHaMP\Temp                 <- Temp folder for model runs etc.

Using the folder structure shown above is strongly recommended. The Workbench possesses several features that help navigate and jump to data files on your computer and these features rely on this folder hierarchy. The Workbench will create and populate folders under MonitoringData and InputOutputFiles that mirror the CHaMP FTP site folder structure. In other words, once you have downloaded several datasets your folder structure might look like:


Create a Workbench Database

  1. Launch the Workbench Software. The easiest way to do this is to press the Windows key () and then type CHaMP. Your Windows start menu should filter to the CHaMP Workbench software with the blue CHaMP logo. Click the CHaMP Workbench item and the software will launch with no data loaded.Empty Workbench
  2. Click on the File menu and choose Create New Workbench Database…
  3. Select your workbench workspace folder that you created in the step above. This will create a new workbench database and save it inside your workbench workspace. Note that the path of the current database is shown in the status bar at the bottom of the Workbench.

This database stores information about CHaMP watersheds, sites, visits and channel units. In 2017, this database was converted from Access to SQLite to simplify deployment and improve performance. If you’re comfortable working with databases directly then you can open the workbench database directly using your preferred database software (e.g. SQLite Studio). Read the section on working with SQLite databases for more information.

Refresh CHaMP Data

The Workbench maintains a record of all CHaMP watersheds, sites, visits and channel units. Given that visits are occurring at CHaMP sites during the field season, the Workbench copy of these data can become stale, and so it’s important to refresh the contents of the Workbench database periodically. Outside of the field season you might refresh the database once a month, whereas during the field season you might perform this operation weekly.

In 2017, the Workbench was enhanced to refresh the workbench database contents by directly connecting to CHaMP Monitoring directly. (Previous versions required users to download several Access database exports from CHaMP Monitoring. This is no longer required.)

Follow the steps on the Synchronize CHaMP Data page to refresh the contents of your Workbench database.

Download CHaMP Data Option 1 - Many/All Visits

If you plan on working with lots of CHaMP visits (e.g. an entire watershed) then it’s recommended that you use an FTP software client such as WinSCP or FileZilla to retrieve the data. There are CHaMP-specific instructions for using WinSCP. You MUST download the ByYear version of the data and place the files inside the workspace MonitoringDataZipped folder created in the workspace step above.

Download CHaMP Data Option 2 - Selected Visits

If you intend to only work with a small number of visits, or if you already have a copy of all the data and you just want to refresh your files for one or more visits then use the Download CHaMP Data feature of the workbench to obtain the relevant files.

Unpack the CHaMP Data

The CHaMP data comes as a series of zip archives. Before you can use the data you have to unpack the various archives into the correct folders ready for use. Use the Unpack CHaMP Data Archives… feature of the Workbench to perform this operation.

Start Work!

At this point the Workbench, database and folder structure are all in a state ready to be used. You can use the Workbench features to search for visits, run models etc. Or simply use the database to perform your own research. A good next step is to read the page on basic navigation and how to work with the main Workbench visit information.