NowCOAST is intended to provide a centralized, interactive source of information about the coastal environment. NowCOAST makes use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to store observing system and forecast product information in a geospatial database and expose this through a dynamic mapping interface that allows users to see as much or as little of the data as they choose. NowCOAST is custom designed to allow users to quickly select the observations or forecasts they want for their area of choice and also to provide an intuitive means of browsing this information once it is located. ESRI’s Arc Internet Map Server (ArcIMS) is used to create maps according to user specifications and to enable querying of nowCOAST’s geospatial data. Java Web programming technologies such as Java Servlets and Java ServerPages (JSP) are combined with ArcIMS to create nowCOAST’s custom functionality and deliver to users a unique and powerful tool to visualize observations and forecasts over the Internet.
Currently, nowCOAST provides hyperlinks to existing Web pages that display real-time observing network data or forecasts. Future plans include graphical display of weather forecasts from the NWS’ National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD), forecast point guidance from NWS’ numerical weather forecast models and NOS’ numerical oceanographic forecast models, and on-map display of current observations from selected observing networks. This will allow nowCOAST’s users to view both current conditions as well as gridded forecasts for any geographical area. In additon, nowCOAST’s GIS basis will provide functionality to perform basic spatial analyses of forecast data in nowCOAST’s database such as cross-sectional plotting as well as time-series depiction of forecast data at user-selected locations. This will provide the coastal community and weather enthusiasts with a new means of obtaining weather information online.
Supplementary URL: http://nowcoast.noaa.gov