2002 Annual

Tuesday, 15 January 2002: 4:30 PM
Reviving the Synoptic Lab with Unique Digital Display Systems
David Wojtowicz, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and M. K. Ramamurthy, K. Mueller, and A. Tubbs
Poster PDF (124.6 kB)
At one time, a synoptic laboratory in a university meteorology program was the most frequented location in the building...it was the only place one could obtain the latest weather data and was frequently the site of highly beneficial interaction and discussion between students and faculty. However, the old paper maps have been replaced by nearly ubiquitous access to detailed weather data via the web and gone is the synoptic lab's purpose and useful side benefits. We intend to revive the concept of a synoptic lab at the University of Illinois with a unique digital display system as one of several enhancements.

Central to the new lab facility is a display wall consisting of fifteen flat panel LCD screens arranged in a 5x3 array. Intended to dislay discrete images rather than a single composite image, these are an electronic version of the rows of paper maps once central to a synoptic lab. The displays feature a wide variety of meteorological analysis, plots, maps, images and forecasts. Each can be customized and animated. A default configuration of images of general weather interest, (current radar, satellite, surface obs, etc) is normally presented. A touch panel screen in front of the array allows a user to switch into alternate predefined configurations for forecasting, severe weather monitoring and so forth. For further customization, a more advanced user can individually customize each display on the fly including the ability to derive fields by using the touch screen menus and save their preferences for later use.

The preprint text addresses the construction of this system, including the components and configuration used and the customized software developed to operate this system.

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