Managing/Repackaging Recent Analyses from the Global Network of Fixed Stations: US National Data
Buoy Center (NDBC)
In this exercise you'll learn about the international network of fixed
buoy and shore locations where the US National Data Buoy Center (NDBC)
and similar international and national agencies maintain moored buoys
and shore stations where meteorological and oceanographic measurements
are made. These are a major part of the growing international
operational system being developed under the Integrated Ocean Observing
System (IOOS). The data formats available do not readily lend
themselves to rapid use in Integrated Data Viewer or Saga, but the
excellent graphical products can easily be captured for local use.
This exercise includes information about how you can incorporate
("republish") these products into local websites to create Current
Condition-type presentations. THIS LESSON IS PROVIDED FOR
EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. NO ONE SHOULD ATTEMPT TO RELY ON THESE
ANALYSIS PRODUCTS FOR NAVIGATION OR FOR ANY OPERATIONAL PURPOSES AT SEA.
Preliminary Reading (in
OceanTeacher, unless otherwise indicated):
Open the main NDBC website and take some time to read through all the
resources here. It covers NDBC-sponsored sites and many other sites of
Check out the menu of major-programs on the left. Some are very large
stand-along projects, and some are ongoing international cooperatives.
3. Above the site map you'll see these
selection controls for 10 major programs
and over 100 individually sponsored ("Owner Filter"). Leave
it untouched if you want to see everything, otherwise make any selections
you want. For the exercise below, check RECENT DATA.
4. This is a closer look
at the site map. Bright yellow diamonds are of prime interest to us
for operational data, and especially large diamonds for tsunami indications.
You can use the usual PAN method to move the map, and SHIFT key should be
used with the cursor to ZOOM.
Just to show you how the map works, here we've clicked on a diamond near
India. It directly reveals a water-level graphic. Notice the
VIEW DETAILS control just below it. This is the universal way to get
to data or products on this map. [The direct graphics are actually
Here we've clicked on on another diamond to show the most common response:
- Current conditions data
- Another VIEW DETAILS link (try it if
Let's move on to another area to explore
Here we've used the SHIFT plus cursor to zoom into the Liberia area.
Click on the diamond closest to Liberia and you'll see these data.
Click on the VIEW DETAILS control to see what's there.
And here's the typical station page, showing more information and with links
to data or products. Take the time to read over it and see what's
NOTE: These data cover only
the most recent 5 days. There are often menu selections just below for
longer periods. You have to do your own explorations to find the best
products for your purposes.
10. Before you do anything else, COPY the
URL of this station page and save it in a scratch file:
Before you use any data or products from this page, change the UNITS OF
MEASURE to METRIC, and the TIME ZONE to the appropriate location for this
exercise or for your personal project, as necessary.
Click SELECT to apply the choices.
Along the left side of the station page you'll see little "graphics" symbols
(as in Panel 9, above).
Click on the
AIR TEMPERATURE symbol to see this graphic.
13. Also find the URL for this graphic,
and save it:
Here is the WATER TEMPERATURE product.
15. Here is the URL for that graphic,
which should also be saved:
And the WIND SPEED
17. Save its URL:
And finally, here is the WIND DIRECTION
19. And its URL to save:
20. Now you have the URLs for the station
page and for 4 of the major products (there are others, so don't forget them
when you make your own designs). We're going to show you how to
combine this information to make a nice Local Conditions page.
21. Here is a sample Local Conditions
page...everything within the red border. It has the map copied from the NDBC website,
and graphics freshly downloaded from NDBC whenever it is opened (or refreshed). The station of interest can
be highlighted by a label, as you see here. But it is not easy to make
an "arrow" connector from the data products below to the point (probably due
to the self-sizing nature of HTML text). You are welcome to come up
with something better; make sure to tell me about it.
Below the site map are the 4 graphics,
presented in different widths so you can see the effects of getting smaller
and smaller. The first one (AIR TEMP) is 600 pixels wide, and the
others are 500, 400 and 300. Obviously you don't want to go too small,
and either 600 or 500 seems to be best.
You can click on the links in the
left-side margin to see the original graphics in their native
22. How are the images "repackaged" from
their original URL source to the above page:
- Insert just about any image, as a
dummy, into the page, with the size set to your preference (probably 600
or 500 pixels wide)
- In your HTML website editor, change the
location/name of the image to the URL you saved above (in this case, the
URL for AIR TEMP)
23. You are very lucky that the URLs
above are perfect for showing the most recent 5 days of data, and the
figures will automatically update every time your users look at the page.
This is not always the case, and you will find graphics that you want to
"repackage" that contain specific time ranges that might cause problems.
We deal with this below in an easy case. You need to look closely at
any situations like this to fix the problem. Perform some experiments
to see if your "fix" actually works.
Here is the sea level graphic you saw above in Panel 5. If you use the
URL for it by just copying it into the new HTML page, it will only work for
5 days and then it will be empty. Why?
25. Here is the URL for this graphic, as
originally copied from the source (first bullet) and edited to fix the
problem (second bullet)
The first URL contains the actual dates of
the desired times; this will cause the image to be empty on the 5th day
after 20140416. You have to delete the string from the & sign.
Then you'll have the second URL, which works fine.
26. For another example of the
"repackaging" you can do, here is a map of the southern Brazil coast (simply
copied from the NDBC website). You can make "hot spots" over the
symbols, and give them the same links as the original NDBC website map.
Click on any of the 3 station symbols below to see the results. This
provides a really nice "local" interface for institutional users, for
example. If you're lucky enough to be in Parana, then here's the
weather at the beach today.
27. Final Note: You must
cite the sources of your data and products, explicitly, as you see above. Even if you
think your website sufficiently identifies the original source, it's your
responsibility to make this crystal clear in an explicit citation.