National Water Center – Geo Intelligence Division (GID)

Lynker leads the Geospatial Intelligence Division (GID) at NOAA’s Office of Water Prediction (OWP) National Water Center (NWC). GID is responsible for taking outputs from the new NOAA National Water Model (NWM) and visualizing these data to make them more useful to stakeholders, including NWS River Forecast Center (RFC) staff at regional forecast offices and Emergency Managers (EMs) on the ground. Both need to rapidly understand and use NWM outputs to save lives, so effective visualization of the NWM data is critical. The Lynker team also develops NWM data visualizations for water managers who are more interested in longer range (e.g. seasonal) water flow forecasts for water supply and planning, and drought monitoring. 

GID has developed an automated real-time system to acquire, post-process, stylize, and publish NWM output data in real-time. Cycling hourly and providing streamflow and land surface conditions forecasts at over 2.7 million locations CONUS-wide, the National Water Model produces billions of data points per day. Because users are unable to efficiently make use of this massive hourly data output without the aid of data post processing and enhanced map viewing, significant development was required for not only the automatic detection of important hydrologic activity across the country, but the visualization of these phenomena across the millions of forecasting locations. Through this project, the Lynker team has developed a variety of data post-processing and optimization techniques for the purpose of visualization. Dr. Graeme Aggett leads the GID team, and Brad Bates continues to be a key technologist supporting this complex data visualization effort.

NOAA’s new National Water Model (NWM) has allowed the National Weather Service (NWS) to expand its hydrologic prediction capabilities from ~3,600 river forecast points to over 2.7 million stream reaches, reaching many previously underserved locations.  However, deriving actionable intelligence from the NWM is challenging because it produces hundreds of gigabytes of data each day.  NWS forecasters need to be able to quickly analyze NWM data before issuing streamflow guidance, thus methods are needed to synthesize and present NWM data in real-time, in such a way that it can easily aid in the decision-support process.  Lynker scientists at the NOAA/NWS National Water Center, located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, have played a vital role in developing a series of real-time data services that process and visualize NWM output in such a way that it can be used by the NWS’s stakeholders to make quick, informed hydrologic decisions.

Over the past year and half, Lynker has worked with the National Water Center (NWC) to set-up an Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) that has the capability to host dynamic web data services, maps, and applications.  Further, our team at the NWC has implemented a workflow to: intercept the latest NWM data as it becomes available, post-process this data, and ultimately to create dynamic, interactive web-based GIS data services from post-processed NWM data.  These data services provide a diverse array of hydrologic information, for both current and forecasted conditions, about: high flow and floods, low flow and droughts, seasonal anomalies, soil moisture levels, the rate of change in streamflow conditions, and the timing and probability of extreme streamflow conditions.