CBI-TCOON: An Integrated Observations and Operational Predictions System for Gulf of Mexico Coastal Waters
Starting in the mid-nineties CBI developed highly automated software to manage all aspects of the observation network The software and procedures were developed on the principle that all user interaction with the data management system takes place via web-based interfaces. The software is based on open source technologies such as Linux and Perl such that CBI is not subject to changes in proprietary systems and has the flexibility to replace software components as new technologies become available or as the needs of CBI evolve. Most software is available under the General Public License. During the past 10 years CBI systems have been expanded to take advantage of flow of real-time data from the entire Texas coast and design and implement real time models based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Techniques such as Artificial Neural Networks and Random Forests. When time series encompass most encountered conditions such models can be trained to quantify relationships between past observations and future outcomes for the variable of interest. Advantages of this approach include the ability to model non-linear relationships and the implicit inclusion of the boundary conditions and forcing functions. Also once the models are trained AI based predictions are computed virtually instantly. CBI has developed and implemented models to predict water levels including storm surges, water temperatures and currents. Predictive models also include atmospheric predictions provided twice daily by the National Weather Service. The design of the models will be briefly presented and their use in situations such as low water level events or providing guidance for the closure of waterways will be discussed. Lessons learned while working with and interacting with CBI user based will also be discussed.