ESRL Global Systems Division

GSD's INSITE Tool Completed

INSITE, INtegrated Support for Impacted air-Traffic Environments, was created and developed during the spring and early summer of 2013 by the Forecast Impact and Quality Assessment Section (FIQAS)/Aviation, Computing, and Evaluation (ACE) Branch of ESRL's Global Systems Division (GSD), under the sponsorship of the NWS NextGen Program. OB is intended to bridge the gap between weather information and its use for air traffic management decisions. The key output of OB is a collaborated, event-driven forecast product known as the Aviation Weather Statement (AWS). INSITE was designed to assist in the creation of the AWS.

INSITE incorporates weather information from observations as well as from five forecast models (Corridor Integrated Weather System [CIWS], High Resolution Rapid Refresh [HRRR], Localized Aviation MOS Program [LAMP], Short Range Ensemble Forecast [SREF], and Collaborative Convective Forecast Product [CCFP]). It displays the raw weather product, as well as a translation of the product that is a combination of the constraint on air traffic flow due to weather and air traffic density in that location. For example, a line of thunderstorms near New York City at a time when a high volume of air traffic is expected will result in a much greater constraint value than that same line of storms in a rural location (where there are fewer planes, in general). Further, INSITE provides a weighted average of the five translated forecasts, considered a "synthesis" of the products. All translated forecasts include a measure of confidence of those forecasts, or in the case of the synthesis, a measure of the consistency of the five member forecasts.

Another key feature of INSITE is that users can draw a polygon of their choosing to highlight a region of interest, in order to determine the severity of constraint within that region. More detailed constraint information can also be viewed for this region with respect to airways or Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) that intersect it.

INSITE relies on a processing system to produce, in near-real time, both constraint data and associated image files for the raw and translated forecast products. The Flow Constraint Index (FCI) algorithm for the translation component is written in Java and is applied to raw forecasts and air traffic data to derive the constraint field. Storage of intermediate information uses a combination of a MySQL database and netCDF files. Process control and image generation are written in Python. The User Interface (UI) was developed in Python as well, using the Sencha development tools, and is deployed to an Apache Web server using Django Web framework.

FIQAS (creators and developers of the INSITE tool) is an interdisciplinary team of meteorologists, mathematicians, and engineers who develop impact-based quality assessment techniques and provide independent comprehensive analyses to interpret and communicate the accuracy of weather forecasts for improving services to the public. Through cutting edge and innovative research, FIQAS provides operational agencies with technology and tools for improving the accuracy and use of weather information at critical decision points.

INSITE is designed to provide forecaster guidance in creating the AWS by highlighting areas of potential impact and providing detailed information on the effects of weather on operations. It is aligned with several of the service concepts that are part of the NWS vision for a Weather Ready Nation, including:

  • supporting a shift from product focus to product interpretation and consultation;
  • communicating on-demand forecast confidence information; and
  • delivering information in a way that conveys potential impacts and supports good decision-making and planning.

Contact information
Name: Melissa A. Petty
Tel: 303-497-4850