Improving Understanding and Use of NOAA Observing Systems on Societal Benefit

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 4:30 PM
226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Matthew L. Austin, NOAA/NESDIS, Silver Spring, MD; and C. Louis Jr.

NOAA relies on Earth observations from more than 200 observing systems. As the size, complexity, and cost of these systems increase, the question of which systems or combinations of systems add the greatest value becomes foremost. Motivated by an increasingly austere budget environment, NOAA leadership identified the need to analyze NOAA's observing system architecture in an integrated way, such that the relative contributions of each system to the system-of-systems as a whole could be more clearly understood and used to inform investment decisions. The NOAA Observing System Integrated Analysis project (NOSIA II), is an attempt to capture and tell the story of how valuable observing systems are in producing products and services that are required to fulfill the NOAA's diverse mission. NOAA's goals and mission areas cover a broad range of environmental data; a complexity exists in terms and vocabulary as applied to the creation of observing system derived products. Since communities such as data producers, data service providers and users have individual data needs, datasources and products are defined differently amongst communities. The NOSIA data collection focused first on decomposing NOAA's goals in the creation and acceptance of Mission Service Areas (MSAs) by NOAA senior leadership. Products and services that supported the MSAs were then identified through the process of interviewing product producers across NOAA organization. Product Data inputs including models, databases and observing system were also identified. Information was collected on overall product creation satisfaction, product data source satisfaction and the impact of a product datasource if lost. The next steps included population of an investment impact model using software called Portfolio Analysis Machine (PALMA) Tool developed by the MITRE Corporation, updating observing system cost information and running the model to produce a rank list of most import observing systems for NOAA. The NOSIA model contains over 20,000 nodes each representing levels in a network connecting products, datasources, users and desired outcomes. An immediate need became apparent that the complexity and variety of the data collected required data management to mature the quality and the content of the NOSIA model. The NOSIA Analysis Database (ADB) was developed initially to improve consistency of terms and data types to allow for the linkage of observing systems, products and NOAA's Goals and mission. The ADB also allowed for the prototyping of reports and product generation in an easily accessible and comprehensive format for the first time. Web based visualization of relationships between products, datasources, users, producers were generated to make the information easily understood This includes developing ontologies/vocabularies that are used for the development of users type specific products for NOAA leadership, Observing System Portfolio mangers and the users of NOAA. Data driven user centered design is a key component of the ADB data model development. Much of NOAA's data accessibility is dependent on a user's understanding of the NOAA organization structure. The ADB will allow users to find data based to topic rather than having to know who produces the data. Integration with the NOAA data catalog which is a discovery service for all NOAA environmental data with the NOSIA data is planned to enhance data access and use.