Updating NOAA's nowCOAST to Provide Time-Enabled Web Map Services

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Thursday, 6 February 2014: 11:15 AM
Room C105 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
John G. W. Kelley, NOAA/National Ocean Service, Durham, NH; and J. Greenlaw, C. St. Jean, and M. Wengren

NOAA/National Ocean Service's nowCOAST (nowcoast.noaa.gov), a GIS-based web mapping portal, has provided the coastal community for the past 11 years with a centralized site to display and obtain maps of near-real-time surface observations, analyses, forecasts, model guidance, and selected warnings from across NOAA, as well as geo-referenced hyperlinks to thousands of observing sites, model forecast point guidance, forecast discussions, and weather and marine forecasts. Users have been able to access this information via an interactive map viewer and also from an ArcIMS Image Service and OCG-Compliant Web Map Services (WMS). nowCOAST is used by a variety of users involved in different activities including recreational boating, commercial shipping, emergency management, search and rescue operations, coastal management, HAZMAT response, homeland security, and risk management. nowCOAST has an average of 30,000 visits per month and experiences up to 321,000 visits and 27 million hits per month during months with active tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic.

Recent enhancements in map server software have enabled the use of the time dimension when interacting with map services, which provides an opportunity for nowCOAST map services to provide their time-varying data in a time-aware format. The present version of nowCOAST is based on legacy software, including ArcIMS, ArcSDE, ArcGIS Engine, and also Oracle 11g. To take advantage of the capabilities of the latest products and geospatial web standards, nowCOAST has been migrated to use newer web mapping software and an open source database. The new nowCOAST system consists of the following: 1) an interactive web map viewer, based on HTML/CSS, ESRI's JavaScript API and the Dojo Toolkit (JavaScript library), 2) Java Servlet-based web services, and 3) ArcGIS Server-based web mapping services. The underlying components that provide this functionality are: 1) a PostgreSQL/PostGIS/ArcSDE database server, which is responsible for cataloging and storing the GIS datasets, 2) a custom Python-based data ingest system, which automatically downloads, processes, catalogs and stores the GIS datasets in the database, 3) ArcGIS Server 10.1 map server, which visualizes the GIS datasets and provides map service access to the generated products, and 4) an Apache web server, a Tomcat web server and servlet container, and an Apache-Tomcat Connector, which provides access to the website, web map viewer, and web services.

The new nowCOAST version will provide users with both time-enabled ArcGIS Server Representative State Transfer (REST) map services and time-enabled WMS. The new nowCOAST map viewer utilizes the time-enabled REST services, allowing users to display and animate observational data for the past few hours and forecasts and model guidance for several days into the future. The new version of nowCOAST is expected to be implemented into production by March 2014.