Environmental data allows US Navy to make faster decisions than adversary

Geocent has been supporting the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (COMNAVMETOCCOM) organization since 1999 in the architecture, design, development, testing, and operations of data integration, dissemination, and visualization capabilities for complex 4-D Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) data information for decision support, mission planning, and operational support of systems. Using our expertise in understanding METOC data, Geocent supported the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) in software development efforts on the Navy Integrated Tactical Environmental System-Next Generation (NITES-Next) system, which utilizes METOC data to help the warfighter with mission planning and execution, critical decision making, and situational awareness.



The Challenge

Environmental factors significantly impact the planning and effectiveness of missions undertaken by our armed forces.  High winds and seas, the position of the moon and illumination, or cloud cover and significant weather at a location and at a particular time can either help our warfighters succeed or expose them to the enemy if not planned accurately.  The ability for our submarines to detect or hide from adversarial submarines is greatly dependent on oceanographic factors such as the depth and salinity of the ocean at a particular location, all of which helps or hinders how sounds travel under the water.  Being able to anticipate when the tides will be high or low can determine when and where a high-risk rescue mission may occur.  These are just a few examples of how weather and oceanographic factors are used to maximize the success of our military operations. These information products are critical to help Naval and Joint forces operate more safely and effectively and make better decisions faster than the adversary.

The Solution

Geocent was tasked to develop software components for the NITES-Next system, which integrates numerous environmental data products into a common viewing platform allowing dynamic mashups and analytics of METOC data. Disseminating the data using industry standards allows clients to view data coming from many different formats and sources for mission planning and execution. NITES-Next followed Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) standards by utilizing Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) design principals, standardized services and service discovery, enterprise collaboration, and integration enterprises. NITES-Next followed SOA design principles creating agnostic reusable services and utilizing vendor-neutral industry standards such as Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant services. We followed the NIWC guidelines using Agile development processes, automated Selenium User Interface/Integration tests, Continuous Integration (CI), automated deployments, and multiple releases. This ensured each release to the Integrated Testing Lab (ITL) was functional, tested, and documented. Geocent worked closely with the Human Systems Interface (HSI) to reduce rework on the user interface (UI) and reduce defects found in User Acceptance Testing.

This project allowed for complex data integration and visualizations for complex 4-dimensional ocean and weather data using modern web and net centric components. This included integrating real-time sensor data collected on ships in a GIS environment so that they could be overlaid with other weather data to visualize various conditions at a particular point in time to help with mission planning. We leveraged open standards and open source technology to accomplish this including using the Ozone Widget Framework (OWF) for component integration and User Defined Operating Picture (UDOP), OGC standards for GIS integration, JavaScript and AngularJS for UI development, and D3 and Three.js to visualize 3-D data in a web-based environment.

The Results

  • 17 OWF Widgets
  • Integration of over 20 different METOC data sources
  • Interactive 3D Visualization

The Outcome

Due to Geocent’s work on NITES-Next, warfighters and mission planners are able to more easily integrate ocean and weather data into their mission planning and command operations. Providing models of the battlespace operational environment and assess environmental impacts help the warfighters be more prepared, make faster and better decisions, and ultimately save lives.