8.10 Applying FX Connect to the Prototype Aviation Collaborative Effort at the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center Dennis M. Rodgers* NOAA OAR Forecast Systems Laboratory, Boulder, CO Thomas Amis National Weather Service, Center Weather Service Unit Fort Worth, TX 76115 1. Introduction decision makers. Adverse weather conditions, especially those Further progress toward achieving a more weather- associated with thunderstorms, contribute responsive air traffic system depends upon a joint significantly to disruptions in air traffic operations FAA and NWS commitment that places increased within the National Airspace System (NAS). The emphasis on emerging science and technology effects extend to every sector of the aviation applied to aviation weather forecasting. The FAA is community and take the form of delays, re-routes, actively working toward establishing a more trip cancellations, and most importantly, a reduced definitive set of requirements for weather forecast margin of operating safety. When coupled with the information. Weather information needs of the dramatic growth throughout the industry, hazardous ARTCC Traffic Management Unit (TMU) are weather encounters are severely taxing an already described in a 1999 document (F.A.A., 1999), overburdened air traffic management system. forming the basis for a formal requirements Projections are for industry growth to outpace document anticipated to be completed by 2003. improvements to the traffic management system When completed and mutually agreed upon by the over the next five years. NWS and FAA, the resulting weather requirements document will provide a starting point from which In 1978, the FAA and NWS established the Center the NWS can launch appropriate initiatives aimed at Weather Service Unit (CWSU) Program, placing satisfying these requirements. NWS meteorologists in FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs). This program was 2. PACE initiated by the FAA as a result of an NTSB recommendation based on the findings from a The purpose of the Prototype Aviation Collaborative Southern Airways crash in north Georgia. This Effort (PACE) is to design an operational test for NWS meteorological support is designed to improve demonstrating and evaluating the effective aviation safety and enhance the efficient flow of air employment of developing science, technology and traffic by the continual forecasting and monitoring of computer communication interfaces (N.W.S., 2002). adverse weather. The effectiveness of this The PACE facility will initially develop a focused meteorological support is dependent upon the range of high-resolution forecast products CWSU forecaster maintaining a close coordination specifically tailored to the ARTCC air traffic with air traffic managers whose decisions affect the environment. PACE will build upon knowledge and flow of traffic through the NAS. FAA personnel experience gained from ongoing operations and need the best available weather information to testing, such as the Collaborative Convective facilitate their mission of supporting aviation Forecast Product (CCFP; A.W.C., 2002). It is operations. The CWSU program has developed anticipated that an initial suite of graphical products slowly, and not until the latter quarter of the 90's did will consist of convective forecasts followed by a the CWSUs begin to receive newer technology that phased approach to include icing, turbulence, would enable the meteorologist to provide higher ceiling and visibility products based on resolution forecasts and advisories to air traffic requirements to be outlined by the FAA. Fort Worth * Corresponding author address: Dennis M. Rodgers, NOAA/OAR/FSL, R/FS5, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3328; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ARTCC and FAA Southwest Region Headquarters display system with collaborative capabilities, and is officials have agreed to allow the use of their facility a main component of the PACE prototyping in the CWSU workspace to conduct PACE environment (F.S.L., 2002). A unique feature of activities, with the condition that PACE activities do FXC is that it can accommodate the interaction of not negatively impact CWSU operations. PACE, forecasters at different locations through a graphical initiated by NWS Southern Region Headquarters, is user interface. When connected to an AWIPS a coordinated interagency effort involving the Fort server, FXC allows the display of D2D data and Worth CWSU, Houston CWSU, NWS Southern imagery over which graphics may be created, Region Headquarters, FAA Southwest Region manipulated, and viewed by remotely located Headquarters, and the Forecast Systems collaboration participants. Although the AWIPS Laboratory. Additional participants may include database is the primary and most extensive source other adjacent CWSUs, and the Aviation Weather of data, FXC can also obtain data (in image form) Center (AWC). from Web servers and integrate data from other sources. The local data integration capability is The primary goal of PACE is to establish restricted at this time to display of surface data that procedures to generate automated guidance has been stored in netCDF format. Details of FXC products, share common data sets among architecture may be obtained in Grote and Golden, operational units, and demonstrate how the 2002. employment of collaborative forecasting methodologies can lead to improvements in aviation The FXC system consists of two major forecast products. This process will begin with the components: the client component that allows the development of thunderstorm forecast products user to display and interact with meteorological formatted for use by the TMU. data, and the servers that are responsible to provide various types of data to the client. In some The specific objectives of PACE are 1) Define a special cases the client and servers reside on the methodology, and produce automated forecast same machine. products. 2) Establish a methodology for state-of- the-art collaboration technology, for promoting an The FXC server comprises a collection of servers: exchange of meteorological information among Depictable Server, Scribble Server, Chat Server, several operational elements. 3) Demonstrate the Baseline Server, Point Server, Dispatch Server, and utility of collaboration to achieve more accurate and File Monitor. The Depictable Server is responsible consistent forecast products. 4) Establish for interfacing with the AWIPS software and methodology for use of the collaboration technology exporting graphic products. It must therefore be from FX Connect. 5) Verify results of the forecast hosted on a machine that has direct access to the products for use in an air traffic management AWIPS database and is able to run the AWIPS 5.0 system. (or later) software. The Depictable Server satisfies all user requests for image or graphic products. Initial PACE exploratory development will be The location of the Scribble Server and other directed to prototyping graphical thunderstorm servers is more flexible and it is anticipated that in forecast products combining the National the future FXC may actually reassign these servers Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF; Mueller, et. automatically if the hosts fail. During a collaborative al., 2000), the Convective SIGMET, and the CCFP. session each server communicates with the clients The NCWF provides an analysis of convective independently, i.e., it does not broadcast the data to hazards with a 1-h forecast of storm positions all clients. As a result, some degradation in updated every 5 minutes; the Convective SIGMET performance may occur when a large number of is a 2-h forecast of significant thunderstorms clients are connected for a collaborative session. updated hourly; and the CCFP produces forecasts of significant thunderstorms at 2, 4, and 6 hours, FXC clients are usually located remotely. In order updated every 4 hours. By combining these for a client to connect to a server the user selects products in a graphical display, the TMU could be the desired server from the FXC menu. Once the provided with an automated, frequently updated 0-6 connection is made to the server, the client has hour thunderstorm forecast. access to most of the AWIPS database at the host office. Some menu item and table changes are 3. FX Connect necessary to add additional AWIPS products to the FXC user interface as required by the specific FX Connect (FXC) is a real-time meteorological application of FXC. FXC is a Java 1.3 application that incorporates FXC features include the conventional capabilities Remote Method Invocation (RMI) and is multi- of: threaded. FXC executes on PCs running Win95, • Display of diverse data sets (images, Win98, WinNT, Win2000, and Linux; and on observations, and text); Macintosh G3 Powerbooks running Yellow Dog • Interactive display manipulation (zoom, Linux. Recommended machine attributes include 1 pan, toggle overlays, overlay color); GHz cpu speed, 1 GB RAM, and 20 GB or larger • Interactive display generation (cross disk. A network connection (DSL, ISDN, or sections, time series, time/height, model Ethernet) is also necessary. FXC is able to retrieve soundings); processed data from an AWIPS database, web • Extensive manual graphic and annotation server, and local databases. The performance of tools; the software varies with the hardware configuration • Display procedures. and operating system. The Java VM implementation for Windows appears to be the Advanced capabilities of FXC include: most efficient and dependable. • Slide creation and presentation; • Chat capability; FXC has three basic operational modes: local, • Internet access to WWW products remote, and collaborative. • Display of radar data from any WSR-88D • Local Mode - In local mode, the client is not radar; connected to any AWIPS server. However, • Creation and display of JPEG images; the user does have access to selected data from remote Web servers and possibly • Local (independent) or collaborative mode some local data. This mode is useful for of operation. preparing briefing displays that do not require real-time data. FXC will be used in PACE to explore methodologies for promoting an efficient exchange of • Remote Mode - In remote mode the user is meteorological information and collaboration in the connected to an AWIPS server that the development and production of new briefing user has selected from the FXC menu. This products for TMU decision makers. One of the key allows the user to access real-time features of FXC is the ability to annotate meteorological data at the remote server. meteorological displays. This feature will play a The user can display a variety of data and crucial role in enhancing communications between perform such functions as zooming, collaborators, as well as in supporting prototyping panning, changing colors, overlaying and routine briefing product generation. graphics, and animation on the client. The FXC server can accommodate a number of NWS Warning and Forecast Offices, CWSUs and concurrent and independent clients. The the AWC all have aviation forecast responsibilities, maximum number of clients is controlled yet utilize different operational workstations and from a menu on the server. data streams; AWIPS at the Forecast Offices, • Collaborative Mode - In collaborative mode, WARP (Harris, 2002) at the CWSUs, and N-AWIPS the user can perform all of the same at the AWC. Forecasters with overlapping or functions as in remote mode with the added intersecting regions of forecast responsibility will capability of simultaneously updating or gain a shared situational awareness through controlling the screen of other users. An collaborative analysis and diagnosis using FXC's extensive drawing capability is available collaboration capability. that allows the user to annotate the screen and share the annotation with the other Another advantage of FXC in PACE is that the collaboration session participants. There is Depictable Server and AWIPS data server being also a chat capability that allows users to used reside at AWC, outside of their operational exchange text messages. Only one firewall and local area network, and outside of the collaborative session can be held at a time. operational AWIPS configuration management All users connected to a common server system. This arrangement allows exploratory are part of the same session. The session development and prototyping to occur with no can remain active although all clients have impact to AWC's operational systems. It also disconnected from the server. This allows allows the display of new operational products users to rejoin the session at a later time. (NCWF and CCFP), which are not currently available on operational AWIPS displays. F.S.L., 2002: FXC Users' Guide. NOAA OAR Additionally, the FXC Client computer at the CWSU Forecast Systems Laboratory, 325 Broadway, is isolated from the ARTCC operational systems, Boulder CO 80305. with a commercial DSL connection to the Internet, http://www- thereby having no impact to that operational sdd.fsl.noaa.gov/FXC_UG/FXC_UG_TC.html environment. In this implementation, FXC meets or exceeds current government security standards. Grote, U.H., and C. Golden, 2002: Extending AWIPS to support remote collaboration. Preprints, 4. Acknowledgments Interactive Symposium on AWIPS, Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston, MA, 114-117. This research and development is in response to requirements and funding by the Federal Aviation Harris, 2002: Weather and Radar Processor. Harris Administration. PACE is a joint project between Corporation, 1025 West NASA Blvd, Melbourne, FL FAA Southwest Region Headquarters, NWS 32919. Southern Region Headquarters, NWS CWSU Fort http://www.govcomm.harris.com/environmental/pro Worth, NWS CWSU Houston, and NOAA FSL. grams/warp/ A version of this paper was presented at the Mueller, C.K., C.B. Fidalego, D.W. McCann, D. Interactive Symposium on AWIPS, in Orlando, FL Meganhart, N. Rehak, and T. Carty, 1999: (Rodgers, 2002). National Convective Weather Forecast Product. Preprints, 8th Conf on Aviation Range, and Thanks to Ed Tollerud for reviewing this extended Aerospace Meteorology, Amer. Meteor. Soc., abstract. Boston, MA, 230-234. 5. References N.W.S., 2002: Prototyping Aviation Collaboration Effort (PACE) concept of operations at the Fort A.W.C., 2002: Collaborative Convective Forecast Worth ARTCC CWSU. National Weather Service Product. Aviation Weather Center, Kansas City, MO Southern Region Hq, Fort Worth, TX, 22 pp. 64153-2371. http://ftb1.kc.noaa.gov/ccfp/index.php3 Rodgers, D.M., 2002: Applying AWIPS technology F.A.A., 1999: Decision-based weather needs for the to the Prototype Aviation Collaboration Effort Air Route Traffic Control Center Traffic (PACE). Preprints, Interactive Symposium on Management Unit. Federal Aviation Administration, AWIPS, Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston, MA, J326- Air Traffic Systems Requirements, Washington, J327 D.C., 21 pp.
Pages to are hidden for
"Applying FX Connect to the Prototype Aviation"Please download to view full document