Monday, 10 February 2003
A Study of Modernized Graphic Display Usage Patterns in National Weather Service Forecast Offices
Over the past few years, the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) has been upgraded with enhanced software for the field operations at National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the nation. AWIPS integrates and streamlines data and meteorological applications into a comprehensive workstation display. The Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS), a graphical forecasting tool, is being integrated into the forecast process at various stages nationwide. The primary goal of IFPS is to enable forecasters to prepare digital forecasts of weather elements from which routinely issued forecast products can be automatically composed and formatted. One component of IFPS is the Graphical Forecast Editor software suite (GFESuite) that runs the IFP database, the database server, model initialization, and the GFE graphics editor.
The impact to NWS forecasters of these modernized tools is significant. This paper will summarize how forecasters are responding to these advanced technologies. An analysis of product usage logs generated by workstations at NWS sites will be included in the paper. These logs record nearly all forecaster actions on the AWIPS workstations' graphics devices as well as the GFESuite, including product retrieval, image manipulation, and graphical editing. Log files will be evaluated to determine which products and workstation capabilities and graphical editing tools are used by the forecasters to perform routine shift duties and conduct severe weather operations. In addition, the paper will discuss results from a survey that forecasters will use to rate and comment on the advanced workstation technology. When appropriate, the results will be compared to previous AWIPS workstation studies in which the usage log data were analyzed.