The ITWS is a high-resolution weather information system designed to operate within airport terminal areas that have a Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR). The system was developed for the FAA by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL) Weather Sensing Group. The ITWS fuses data from NEXRAD, TDWR, Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-9), Low Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS), National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), AWOS/ASOS, and aircraft within the terminal area. Its products include windshear and microburst detection and prediction, wind fields, storm cells, gust fronts, tornadoes, lightning, hail, echo tops and mesocyclones. Since 1994 MIT/LL has operated demonstration ITWS systems, and a demonstration web site since 1997. Nearly all major airlines have successfully accessed the ITWS demonstration products in real time via Web browsers to improve safety and reduce delays. In addition to the ITWS safety benefits, airline dispatch benefits include assisting decision making in diversion avoidance, making early diversions, and improving hub operations. Web-based displays also offer access to smaller terminals in the coverage of an ITWS, flight service stations, and city/state emergency management offices.
The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA (Volpe) will host the ITWS data distribution and display system. Data from each operational ITWS will be relayed to a data server allowing users to connect to a raw data product stream, or to a web based interface for displayed products. The top-level web page will include a national scale overview of all operational ITWS's, showing operational status and alert and weather status. From this top-level interface users will then access a web-based situation display for a specific ITWS by selecting an airport. The web-based situation display will show all ITWS products, with the ability to change ranges, choose overlays, pan and zoom over the area of coverage, and will have very low latency time. The web interface will initially be available via the CDM network, and may be made available via the Internet.
* This work was sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration under Air Force Contract No. F19628-90-C-0002. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Government. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the U.S. Government.