Near Real-Time Coastal Measurements and Predictions on Mobile Devices

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 9:00 AM
130 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Philipe Tissot, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, TX; and B. Koskowich, D. Stephen, and F. Picarazzi

Professional and recreational users including emergency and environmental managers, ship and barge captains often need access to coastal data while in the field. They require fast and easy access to information, particularly in emergency and dynamic operation situations. Recreational users including beach goers, fishermen, sailors, surfers are typically interested in only one type of data over a limited area or multiple measurements for one location. Additionally recreational users prefer a graphically pleasing and intuitive format and can find scientifically accepted presentation methods, such as graphs with axes, cumbersome and unnecessary. The Conrad Blucher Institute has been developing user-focused apps compatible with today's smaller, mobile devices that can quickly provide data with one or two touches or clicks. Given that modern mobile devices generally have geolocation services, the apps use this information to provide location-based conditions or predictions. The presentation will discuss examples of apps developed for recreational and professional users. The “Texas Coastal Winds” app (see Figure below) was designed for both types of users. The app presents wind readings along the Texas coast in an intuitive format. Arrows, with lengths proportional to the latest measured wind speeds, indicate wind directions. The wind speed is further presented within a circle indicating the location of the measurement. The Texas Coastal Winds app can be accessed as a website from a computer or smartphone (cbi-apps.tamucc.edu/tcw) or users can freely download the app from the Google Play store. Geolocation services allow users to view nearby wind speed and direction. These data are updated every six minutes and are available in miles per hour, knots, and meters per second. Another app provides information on beach conditions (http://cbi-apps.tamucc.edu/bhpwave/) for recreational users. The app combines a graphical presentation for significant wave height and typical wave period with a tabular presentation of other measurements available for the location including: water currents, water level, temperatures and winds. This latest app is designed for recreational users such as surfers, beach goers, and fishermen who are interested in easy access to all the latest available information for one location on one intuitive screen. An earlier app, the “Transit App” was designed for ship captains planning transit along the Houston/Galveston ship channel. The app extracts information from hydrodynamic model predictions from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) PORTS model, available online in the NetCDF format. The hydrodynamic predictions are combined with information from the mobile device (geolocation, speed) and/or information entered by the user such as the planned start of the transit and planned transit speed. The app then computes predicted locations of the vessel along the ship channel by combining present or planned speed with predicted currents. The app then provides a graphical display of the predicted currents and water levels along the channel at the predicted time of the ship's passage allowing for easy access for information presently available in netCDF or map formats. The presentation will also briefly share an overview of the technologies used to develop and implement the apps and experience in launching apps.

Supplementary URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cbiapps.TCW&hl=en