3.1 Developing a Web-Based National Weather Service Hydrologic Decision Support Service

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 1:30 PM
Ballroom E (Austin Convention Center)
Gregory P. Shelton, NOAA/NWS, Fort Worth, TX; and P. W. McKee, C. Pieper, and T. Clark

Over the past decade, National Weather Service (NWS) River Forecast Centers (RFCs) have developed informational maps for publication on their Web sites. Each RFC produces a variety of spatial data products published as static graphics updated on different cycles, with the result that each graphical product is independent of the others. This has limited the ability to overlay several products on the same map for analysis. Many customers have also expressed a need for maps that extend beyond a single RFC boundary, as reported in recent flood-related NWS Service Assessments.

The RFCs have noted an increase in stakeholders using RFC Web products to make critical water management decisions, most notably during the 2011 Lower Mississippi River Flood. To address unique water management decisions throughout the Flood, a prototype Web page was developed to provide services not previously offered. Customer feedback regarding the page was very favorable, justifying the development and implementation of an RFC Decision Support Map for use in the NWS Southern Region. The goals of this service were to consolidate RFC spatial data products into an easily accessible Web interface and to provide a collaboration and decision making tool that allows stakeholders to easily navigate and view products across RFC boundaries.

In response to customer requests for a consistent Web presence at all the RFCs, a nationwide expansion of the current Southern Region project is planned. This expansion will include data layers that are currently not available in a consistent geospatial format. With the provision of additional national level technical resources, a more robust and customer-centric geospatial data services catalog will be available to stakeholders. Ultimately this RFC Decision Support Map will address the goals of the Weather-Ready Nation and Integrated Water Resources Science and Services initiatives. Those initiatives seek to improve access to NWS hydrologic products and forecast services that support critical water resource and flood hazard decisions.

This presentation will describe the development process and include a demonstration of the service as it currently exists.

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