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GCN : July 2013
8 GCN JULY 2013 • GCN.COM [BrieFing] Some historians argue that storms did more than the British eet to sink the Spanish Armada in 1588. Fully aware that accurate weather forecasts can be critical in military operations, the U.S. Navy has just adopted a new global weather fore- casting model developed by the Naval Research Laboratory. The Naval Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) went operational in March after three years of development. "It is a more complete physics pack- age," said Simon Chang, superinten- dent of NRL's Marine Meteorology Divi- sion. "Over the course of time we learn how to do things better. We understand the atmospheric processes better. We do the algorithms better. And we under- stand the sensor data better." The algorithms developed by the team of 15 meteorologists and pro- grammers at the NRL not only re ect a better understanding of weather, they are more ef cient than those employed by the previous model. "It will allow us to run NAVGEM at a higher resolution without requiring a large increase of computing resources," said Chang. The bottom line is that NAVGEM can resolve weather events at a resolu- tion of 35 kilometers, while the previ- ous model could only go down to 50 kilometers. The end result is better and more detailed forecasts. "It is capable of generating more accurate models of weather processes," said Chang. "You can resolve the intensity of cyclones better." According to Chang, the NAVGEM system is 99.9 percent automated. Real-time data feeds are received from the Global Telecommunications System, an international data collection and communication system operated by the World Meteorological Organization. The data is then run through an algorithm to make it acceptable to NAVGEM. "Then we run the model four times a day," said Chang. "So our supercomputers are going all the time." Although the NAVGEM model is a major improvement, according to Chang and others it is not the best. That honor goes to a system that was developed by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts. "They have a much bigger computer," explained Chang. • Navy's new NAVGEM sharpens its global weather forecasting BY PATRICK MARSHALL A partnership between The National In- formation Sharing Consortium and Esri could improve the sharing of geospa- tial information among federal, state and local government agencies during natural disasters or emergencies. Esri's ArcGIS Online for Organiza- tions (AGOL) will be deployed as a GIS platform to support the Homeland Security Department's Virtual USA Program (vUSA), which provides inter- active maps that display the location and status of critical assets, including helicopter landing sites, evacuation routes, shelters, gas supplies, water lines and power grids. AGOL is a cloud-based mapping portal that lets emergency manage- ment personnel share maps and data with each other and the general public from any device, Web browser or desk- top application. The deployment of an AGOL portal that is compliant with vUSA will signi cantly enhance state and local agencies' ability to partici- pate in the vUSA program, since AGOL has been widely adopted by these agencies. Esri of cials endorsed the vUSA initiative in 2010, expressing their com- mitment to make certain the geospatial company's technologies supported the goals of the program. The partnership with NISC will accelerate the establish- ment of shared situational awareness and information sharing capabilities. Six pilot projects involving over 35 states have been conducted since 2009 to demonstrate vUSA's ability to support near real-time information sharing. NISC, in collaboration with DHS' Science and Technology Directorate's First Responder Group and the rst responder community, are using pilot programs as the basis for transitioning vUSA technologies from prototypes to platform components that will be interoperable with existing systems as well as those information sharing ef- forts already in progress, of cials said. Other GIS-based public-sector IT sharing projects are in development. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the geospatial commu- nity are creating a cloud infrastructure to demonstrate how a coalition of organizations can share geospatial information as they respond to natural disasters around the world. • Partnership boosts geospatial data sharing with vUSA BY RUTRELL YASIN