Development and Operational Implementation of a Web-Based GIS for Real-Time Weather and Ocean Observations, Warnings, and Forecasts

John G. W. Kelley & Jason Greenlaw

NOAA/NOS/Coast Survey Development Lab & ERT, Inc.    

Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, 3:00pm
Chase 130

Developing a Web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) to provide access to near-real- time meteorological, oceanographic, and hydrological data with high reliability presents many technical challenges related to data acquisition and processing, graphical presentation, data delivery, monitoring and user interface design. These challenges are exacerbated by the high update frequency and time-varying nature of many of these datasets.

NOAA/NOS’s nowCOAST project aims to address these challenges by providing versatile GIS-based access to many of NOAA’s high-value real-time observations, imagery, analyses, guidance, forecasts and watches/warnings through a set of time-enabled Web Mapping Services and a GIS Web Mapping Application. Recently, a new version of nowCOAST ( was designed, developed, and implemented operationally in the NOAA Integrated Dissemination Program 24 x 7 infrastructure to provide high reliability for users and partners. As its user base grows, nowCOAST must continue to evolve in order to provide additional products, employ new visualization techniques, and improve scalability with minimal impact on performance or functionality.


John G.W. Kelley is an application meteorologist and coastal modeler with NOAA/National Ocean Service's Coastal Marine Modeling Branch within the Coast Survey Development Lab. He has a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the Ohio State University, and a M.S. in Meteorology and M.P.A. from Penn State University and did a postdoc at National Weather Service’s Environmental Modeling Center in MD. Dr. Kelley is involved in the development and testing of NOS's operational numerical ocean forecast modeling systems for the Great Lakes and other coastal waters. He is also the project manager for nowCOAST, a GIS-based web mapping portal to near-real-time coastal observations, warnings, and forecasts. Dr. Kelley is an affiliate assistant research professor at CCOM.

Jason Greenlaw is a software developer with Earth Resources Technology, Inc., working on contract for NOAA/National Ocean Service’s Coastal Marine Modeling Branch within the Coast Survey Development Lab. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire. Jason has contributed to various Office of Coast Survey projects, including support for the Great Lakes Operational Forecast System and development of the Precision Navigation Tool pilot project for the Port of LA/Long Beach. He has worked on the nowCOAST project for the past 10 years, leading the recent redesign and development of nowCOAST 5.0, as well as its transition to operations in the NOAA Integrated Dissemination Program hosting environment.