An advanced web application for issuing storm reports

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Matthew W. Davis, NOAA/NWS, La Crosse, WI

Handout (432.8 kB)

Over the past five years, web programming technologies have evolved rapidly. The convergence of asynchronous Javascript and XML (AJAX), open source geographic information web services, and geographic database technology now provide a conduit for the development of meteorological web applications. Previous generations of web programming allowed the visualization of meteorological datasets; the newest technologies allow manipulation of data and interaction using web applications.

This paper describes the preliminary development of a web application allowing the issuance of Local Storm Reports by National Weather Service offices. This application is built on a completely open source infrastructure using PostGIS and the PostgreSQL database, the Geoserver web map server, the Openlayers web mapping display package, and customized Javascript and PHP controls. Users experience a seamless web application with radar data over a Google map background, and the ability to enter precise storm reports graphically or via address lookup.

This application can be used to provide more accurate storm reporting in a variety of formats, while decoupling the user from mandatory hardware platforms. This application also illustrates a possible new development path, where web based hydrometeorological applications can allow complete interaction for the user, while providing centralized configuration and backup capabilities for the National Weather Service.