Case Study Fukushima: Open Source Data Discovery in Disaster Management

Session Type: 
Tech Session
David Neufeld, CIRES/NOAA
Rich Signell

There are a variety of open source catalogs available that can assist GIS users with quickly identifying spatially referenced data sets during a disaster. A key component to effectively using these catalogs is the availability of high quality metadata associated with these data sets. In this case study, we examine the use of Thematic Realtime Environmental Distributed Data Services (THREDDS), ncISO, and GI-Cat and Geoportal as open source tools that can be used to document and facilitate access to ocean forecast data during disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

Many atmospheric and oceanographic spatial data sets are stored in a Network Common Data Form (netCDF) file format and served through THREDDS. While netCDF and THREDDS are still unfamiliar to many GIS analysts, the recent adoption of netCDF as an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard will likely to continue to increase the visibility and availability of this key data source for modelling applications. One important source for ocean based data sets is the result of a NOAA wide clearinghouse for gridded data sets known as the Unified Access Framework (UAF) which serves gridded data sets through THREDDS. This large catalog which contains over 3000 netCDF data sets makes browsing through the data holdings for data discovery a practical impossibility. However, by harvesting the data holdings available in THREDDS using the ncISO service, we can extract the metadata using the ISO 19115-2 standard into GI-Cat. From there other OGC Catalog Service (CSW) compliant portals like Geoportal an access the data holdings providing search capabilities to GIS end users.

This presentation will demonstrate the use of these tools to quickly locate and access ocean data and forecasts in the area near the Fukushima nuclear power plant in a wide variety of modeling and visualization tools.

Speaker Bio: 

David Neufeld is a web applications developer focusing on geospatial
technologies at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Previously, David has worked on enterprise GIS systems for ESRI and the CU Museum of Natural History. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer prior to graduating with a Master of Science degree from Colorado State University.

Schedule info