A Public Cloud-Based Prototype NOAA Data Processing and Dissemination System to Support Precision Marine Navigation

John G.W. Kelley and Jason Greenlaw

Coastal Marine Modeling Branch
Coast Survey Development Lab
NOAA/National Ocean Service

Friday, Jun. 12, 2020, 3:00pm
Chase 130

Precision marine navigation is the ability of a vessel to safely and efficiently navigate waterways and operate in close proximity to the seafloor, bridges, narrow channels, or other marine hazards. For large vessels entering a seaport, where space is limited and time is critical, mariners analyze NOAA’s near-real-time observations (e.g. water levels, currents, waves, winds, air gap), tide predictions, marine weather forecasts in addition to nautical charts to anticipate oceanographic and weather conditions and their impacts. Mariners obtain and display these datasets using more than one device (navigational systems, tablets, cell phones) to make critical decisions.  Presently, NOAA datasets are encoded in different data formats and spread across various websites and data servers. This poses a challenge to manufacturers of navigational systems to properly ingest and process the data for distribution to their maritime customers. These challenges will grow in the coming years as the number of data sources and sheer amount of navigational information increases.  To address these challenges, NOAA is an active participant in the development, testing, and implementation of the International Hydrographic Organization Universal Hydrographic Data Model otherwise known as S-100. The use of this standard will provide a consistent integration of hydrographic, bathymetric, meteorological, and oceanographic datasets.

NOS/CSDL has begun designing and testing a data processing and dissemination system to provide a single location for users to access NOAA’s hydrographic, oceanographic and weather datasets via NOAA S-100 compliant products and OGC-compliant web mapping services. A prototype dissemination system has been developed and is being tested on a public cloud (AWS) using open source software and cloud native tools and services.  The initial datasets that will be available from the prototype are high-resolution bathymetry (S-102) for NY harbor and New England coastal waters and forecast guidance of surface water currents (S-111) from NOS’ 3-D operational numerical oceanographic forecast modeling systems for U.S. coastal waters, estuaries, and the Great Lakes.


John G.W. Kelley is a 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 M.S. in Meteorology and M.P.A. from Penn State University. He is involved in the development. testing, and implementation of NOS's operational numerical ocean forecast modeling systems  for estuaries, the coastal ocean and the Great Lakes. He is the project manager for nowCOAST, a GIS-based web mapping portal to real-time coastal observations, warnings, and forecasts. Dr. Kelley  is also working with JHC/CCOM's  visualization laboratory to improve the display of  real-time oceanographic forecast guidance from NOS and NWS oceanographic and weather prediction forecast modeling systems. Dr. Kelley teaches the marine weather section of the Seamanship class for graduate students in ocean mapping. Before joining NOS, Dr. Kelley was a postdoctoral scientist with the Ocean Modeling Branch at the NWS' National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Maryland.

Jason Greenlaw was originally part of CCOM's IT group but now works full time with John Kelley on further development of the nowCOAST project. Jason is a native of Madbury, NH. In 2006, he graduated from UNH with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in French.