32nd Conference on Broadcast Meteorology/31st Conference on Radar Meteorology/Fifth Conference on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes

Friday, 8 August 2003: 8:50 AM
nowCOAST: A Web Mapping Portal to Real-Time Observations and NOAA Forecasts for the Coastal U.S.
John G. W. Kelley, NOAA/National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, MD; and E. M. Kennedy, M. Wengren, and M. Westington
Poster PDF (764.3 kB)
A spatially-referenced Web portal called nowCOAST has been developed at the National Ocean Service (NOS) to provide oceanographic modelers and the coastal community with the ability to view all real-time observations and forecasts which are available on the Web for major U.S. seaports, estuaries, and the adjacent coastal regions, and the Great Lakes. This information includes meteorological, oceanographic, and river data including water quality data; forecast guidance from National Weather Service (NWS) and NOS models; and NWS marine and weather text forecasts. Such data and forecasts are useful for coastal monitoring and prediction, hazard assessment, and ecosystem assessment, and marine education.

The Web portal was constructed using commercial off-the-shelf GIS software Arc Internet Map Server (ArcIMS) and several software languages such as HTML, JavaScript, and Perl. The ArcIMS software allows the portal to serve two general classes of users: those less familiar with GIS such as oceanographic modelers, recreational boaters and weather enthusiasts, and experienced GIS users. The former class of users usually prefers not to spend time specifying map backgrounds, but rather to concentrate on displaying the real-time information. These users can view real-time data by selecting from three ‘pull-down menus': (1) location (i.e. an estuary, seaport, or coastal region), (2) type of observation or forecast (i.e. weather, ocean, river, or air/water quality observations or forecasts), and (3) variable (i.e. water level, air temperature, wave height, etc.). Users then click on the observation and forecast location symbols on the map to view the data or predictions. More experienced GIS users can use common ArcGIS tools to display the same data and forecasts.

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