12.1 NOAA's Plans for Disseminating Precision Navigation Datasets

Thursday, 16 January 2020: 10:30 AM
158 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
John G. W. Kelley, NOAA, Durham, NH; and J. Greenlaw, A. M. GIbbons, and E. Nagel

Precision navigation is the ability of a vessel to safely and efficiently navigate and operate in close proximity to the seafloor, bridges, narrow channels, or other marine hazards. For large vessels entering a seaport, where space is limited and time is critical, mariners analyze NOAA’s near-real-time observations (e.g. water levels, waves, winds, air gap), tide predictions, and marine weather forecasts in addition to nautical charts to anticipate oceanographic and weather conditions and their impacts. Mariners obtain and display these NOAA datasets often using more than one device or system such as Portable Pilot Units (PPU), Electronic Chart Systems (ECS), Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), and/or cell phones to make critical decisions. Currently NOAA datasets are encoded in different data formats such as NetCDF, GRIB2, plain text, and GeoTIFF, and are spread across various National Weather Service, National Ocean Service and National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service websites and data servers. This poses a challenge to navigation system manufactures to properly ingest and process the data for distribution to their customers. These challenges will grow in the coming years as the number of data sources and sheer amount of marine navigational information increases.

To address these challenges, NOAA is an active participant in the development, testing, and implementation of the International Hydrographic Organization’s (IHO) Universal Hydrographic Data Model otherwise known as S-100. The S-100 framework defines a geospatial data standard that can support a wide variety of digital marine navigational datasets in alignment with other international specifications (e.g. ISO 19100 series of geographic information standards, Open Geospatial Consortium [OGC] Web Map Services). The use of this standard will provide a consistent integration of hydrographic, meteorological, and oceanographic datasets that will enable precision navigation at major U.S. seaports.

In addition, NOAA has begun designing and testing a prototype dissemination system to provide a single location for users to access NOAA’s hydrographic, oceanographic and weather datasets through an initial suite of S-100 products and OGC-compliant web mapping services (e.g. Web Map Tile Service). The prototype dissemination system is being developed and tested in a commercial cloud environment, which will provide the high reliability and scalability required to support 24/7/365 operations.

The overarching Precision Navigation Dissemination System will be composed of several distinct subsystems including data acquisition, processing, ingest, and distribution. The loose-coupling of these subsystems will allow individual components to be supported and upgraded independently, providing maximum flexibility for the future as new technologies emerge and as dataset formats and access methodologies change.

The data acquisition subsystem will be comprised of NOAA data providers pushing their datasets to the cloud as well as automated utilities downloading & transferring data from upstream FTP and HTTP servers to cloud storage. Once these datasets arrive in cloud storage, they will flow through a data processing pipeline to convert them into optimized formats according to their target distribution mechanism. Once optimally formatted, the data ingest subsystem will read file metadata, update internal database catalogs (if necessary), and stage the data for dissemination. Finally, the distribution subsystem will provide public web-accessible endpoints where users will be able to access the data using various machine-readable protocols, including OGC-compliant web services, flat file downloads, and an S-100 Exchange Catalog that will provide metadata to allow users to discover and obtain updated S-100 datasets of interest.

The initial datasets available from the NOAA Precision Navigation Dissemination System in 2020 will be high-resolution bathymetry (S-102) and surface current (S-111) for New England coastal waters as well as water level (S-104) forecast guidance from NOS’ 3-D operational numerical oceanographic forecast modeling systems for U.S. coastal waters, seaports, and the Great Lakes. As the various S-100 standards are developed, tested, and approved by IHO and are adopted by NOS and NWS, additional S-100 datasets will be made available on the dissemination system. It is anticipated that by FY2021, the NWS weather and wave hazards overlay (S-412) product will be available for dissemination as well as high-definition charts for priority seaports.

The Precision Navigation Program is a coordinated effort across several NOAA offices, including the Office of Coast Survey (OCS), the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), and the National Weather Service (NWS).

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