Interactive Visualization Using NOAA's Earth Information Services and TerraViz
E. Hackathorn1, J. Lynge2 and J.Q. Stewart3
1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305; 303-497-6831, E-mail: Eric.J.Hackathorn@noaa.gov
2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309
3Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80521
The NOAA Earth Information Services (NEIS) is a framework of layered services designed to help the discovery, access, understanding, and visualization of data from the past, present, and future. It includes a visualization component named TerraViz that is a multiplatform tool, running on desktops, web browsers, and eventually mobile devices. The goal is to ingest "big data" and convert that information into efficient formats for real-time visualization. Designed for a world where everything is in motion, NEIS and TerraViz allow fluid data integration and interaction across 4D time and space, providing a tool for NOAA’s vast collection of information.
TerraViz is built using the Unity game engine. While a game engine may seem a strange choice for data visualizations, the philosophy is to take advantage of existing off-the-shelf technologies. Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, and represent an ideal choice for pushing millions of points of data to a user in real-time. We will provide a hands-on demonstration and exhibit of TerraViz visualizing a variety of NOAA's global data sets and regional information including sea level rise in the Washington DC area and exploring the ocean floor in a submarine.