11.3 A Revolutionary Approach to Multi-Dimensional Data Access of Gridded Datasets using Current and Proposed OGC Web Service Standards

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 9:00 AM
Conference Center: Skagit 2 (Washington State Convention Center )
Paul R. Hershberg, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and S. R. Olson, G. Zylstra, and P. Trevelyan
Manuscript (582.7 kB)

     The Web Coverage Service (WCS) is a standard created by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) that defines the request and response model for geospatial information known as ‘coverages’, or digital information representing spatial and temporal varying phenomena. The legacy WCS Version 1.0 offers consumers access to horizontal data grids (x/y) for a single time (t) at specific altitude levels (z).  In 2012, the OGC adopted WCS Version 2.0 Core, offering web services consumers greater flexibility to access multi-dimensional data sets (e.g. x/y/t/z/ensembles/*). In four dimensions, this allows the changing nature of weather, not only over geography and time, but also altitude, to be easily represented and referenced. Moreover, access to even higher dimensional weather characteristics such as emergent forecast probability, based on an ensemble forecast, can be used to understand the likelihood of certain weather conditions happening.

     One of the inherent limitations of the WCS to date is the inability to extract more complex multi-dimensional data shapes or patterns.  From an aviation perspective, for example, high level data retrieval along a flight pathway would be vital to aircraft inflight.  Recently, the UK Met Office, the National Weather Service, and OGC’s Met-Ocean Domain Working Group have collaborated on the next set of enhancements to the OGC WCS, called the Met-Ocean Application Profile, an extension to the WCS 2.0 Core.  These additional requirements  encompass several OGC standards and address access to complex multi-dimensional data sets. These include the efficient retrieval of specific meteorological data subsets such as vertical profiles, cross sections, time series, polygons, trajectories, and corridors. Furthermore, coordinate reference system re-projection is supported. Finally, a companion concept ‘Coverage Collections’ is presented, which allow coverages to be grouped in a hierarchical way and by a common theme, to better associate them with “real world” services such as the example above.

     As we move to an era of increased global cooperation and cross-domain utilization of information, harmonization between disparate gridded data sets, prevalent between nations, will be needed. Thus, true global interoperability will require international standards. In the near future, for example, it would be possible for the Single European Sky Air-Traffic-Management Research (SESAR) and the Next Generation Air Transportation System (Nextgen) to leverage the Met-Ocean Application Profile as the best standard to improve interoperability between the OGC, WMO and ICAO global domains (including ICAO weather data models such as I-WXXM).  The Met-Ocean Application Profile enhances harmonization via complex data access to the new blended multi-dimensional data sets, demonstrating a possible best practice for data exchange among seamless global data sets.

     The paper will outline the underlying principles of the Met-Ocean Application Profile, and identify a path for adoption as an OGC standard. It will also illustrate a real-time example scenario of an international flight from Europe to Denver Colorado, USA, using data patterns of corridors and trajectories and an event of encountering moderate to severe turbulence.  This scenario will highlight how future web services can provide decision support tools that could be used in Single European Sky Air-Traffic-Management Research (SESAR) and NextGen Web Services.

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