83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 3:55 PM
An ArcIMS-based web portal to real-time observations and forecasts for estuaries and the coastal ocean
John G. W. Kelley, NOAA/National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, MD; and M. Kennedy and M. Westington
Poster PDF (209.5 kB)
An estuary, as well as the people who live within its watershed, is affected daily by changes in weather, ocean, and river conditions. The physical changes within many estuaries are monitored in real-time by NOAA and other federal, state, and educational observing networks, and are forecast by NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) and National Ocean Service (NOS). A spatially-referenced Web portal called nowCOAST has been developed at NOS’ Coast Survey Development Lab (CSDL) to provide oceanographic modelers and the coastal community with the capability to view all real-time observations and forecasts which are available on the web for major U.S. estuaries and also seaports, adjacent coastal regions, and the Great Lakes. This information includes meteorological, oceanographic, river, and water quality data, forecast guidance from NWS and NOS models, and also marine and weather forecasts. Such data and forecasts are needed for coastal activities such as coastal monitoring and prediction, and hazard and ecosystem assessment.

The web portal was constructed using the commercial off-the-shelf GIS software Arc Internet Map Server (ArcIMS) and several software languages such as HTML, JavaScript, and Perl. The ArcIMS software allowed the portal to serve two general classes of users: those less familiar with GIS such as oceanographic modelers, recreational boaters and weather enthusiasts, and also experienced GIS users. The former class of users usually prefer not to spend time specifying map backgrounds, but rather concentrate on displaying the real-time information. These users can view real-time data by selecting from three ‘pull-down menus’: (1) location (i.e. an estuary, seaport, or coastal region), (2) type of observation or forecast (i.e. weather, ocean, river, or air/water quality observations or forecasts), and (3) variable (i.e. water level, air temperature, wave height, etc.), and then click on the observation and forecast sites on the map to view the data or prediction. Those experienced with GIS can use common ArcGIS tools to display the same data and forecasts.

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