19th Conference on IIPS


Web-based dissemination and visualization of mesoscale weather models for business operations

Lloyd A. Treinish, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY

Visualization is critical to the effective analysis, dissemination and assessment of data generated by numerical weather prediction. In that regard, consider two aspects of our previous work. First is the need to develop appropriate mapping of user goals to the design of pictorial content by considering both the underlying data characteristics and the perception of the visualization. The second is the adaptation of these ideas from workstation or PC/game-class 3d graphics systems with sufficient bandwidth for timely access to the model data to remote access via the world-wide-web. In this situation, the limitation in bandwidth is the primary bottleneck since desktop systems can support interactive visualization of typical model data. To begin to address these problems, visualizations are presented on a web page as a meta-representation of the model output and serve as an index to simplify finding other visualizations of relevance. To provide consistency with extant interactive products and to leverage their cost of development, the aforementioned applications are adapted to automatically populate a web site with images and interactions for an operational weather forecasting system. Previously, we discussed specific meta-representations such as an interactive 3d image spreadsheet and utilization of specialized MPEG-compressed video sequences to enable products with time sampling consistent with model time steps. These efforts have been extended in two ways. First, they have been adapted to address the coupling of specific business processes and mesoscale simulations. To enable effective assessment and appropriate decisions, focused visualizations are designed to integrate business and weather model data, yet still be driven by user goals. Thus, the resultant visualizations may not show forecasts of weather phenomena directly but the derived properties, which are influenced by weather, and are of direct relevance to the decision maker or industry specialist. Such focused visualization may involve two-dimensional or three-dimensional strategies. The other extension is a response to the artifacts introduced by significant data sampling imposed by the bandwidth constraints. A specialized compression has been developed, based upon task-specific abstractions of underlying components of a visualization scene, which are represented by higher-order descriptions of the geometry. Such abstractions are extremely compact (several KB per time step) and thus, animation sequences can be transmitted and decoded cheaply at a client for interactive viewing. Results to be presented will include but not be limited to applications in surface transportation, emergency response and electricity distribution, where local agencies are using these products for operational decision making.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (3.0M)

Supplementary URL: http://www.research.ibm.com/weather/NY

Thursday, 13 February 2003, 8:30 AM-1:45 PM

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