GSD has been investigating the feasibility of displaying a wide variety of NOAA data on a common user interface. Several software visualization packages were reviewed. A number of factors were considered when reviewing the software packages including portability, cost, web-connectivity, geo-referencing, user interface, display capabilities, and performance. The freely available Google Earth software proved to be the most capable in our review. With a modest amount of effort, we were able to navigate, display, and overlay sample data products from nearly every branch of NOAA including weather, oceans, coral reef, fisheries, satellite, and coastal services.
A parallel activity focused on accessing current data sources from all of NOAA's branches using existing NOAA web sites and commodity Internet services. This investigation revealed that a rich variety of data is already available, but not necessarily easily accessed or mapable to a common user interface. However, with some enhancements we were able to take an existing sample data set and incorporated it into Google Earth. This paper will discuss these preliminary development activities and proposed future plans for expanded capabilities.