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Database. Database. Database. NIC Sea Ice Mapping System. Satellite Imagery Processing and Analysis System (SIPAS). Kelly Taylor Paul Seymour. Ice Analyst Application. Browser Interface. Archive. Ingest. Production. Distribution. Henrik Steen Anderson. Database. Database.

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NIC Sea Ice Mapping System

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NIC Sea Ice Mapping System

Satellite Imagery Processing and Analysis System (SIPAS)

Kelly Taylor

Paul Seymour

Ice Analyst








Henrik Steen Anderson





  • System Development History

  • System Overview

  • Ingest and Ingest Production

  • Ancillary Data

  • Database

  • Browser Interface

  • Analyst Application

  • Chart Production

  • Dissemination

  • Archive and On-line Access

  • Lessons Learned

  • Summary       

Module From Virtual

SIMS Architecture

Ice Analyst








Henrik Steen Anderson

SIPAS System History

  • Paper Transitioned to Paper Replicated

    • GRASS, NSIPS, Terascan

      • Public Systems – except Terascan: from Navy METOC

  • Transition to ESRI Software


    • COTS but not so COTS: ESRI and Remote View

      • Too much custom coding – Vendor, not applications developer of imagery analysis or GIS software


    • Remote View, ESRI and ESRI Developed Scripts

      • COTS with interface developed by ESRI contractor

      • Ongoing investment is to maintain ESRI custom scripts

  • RISK: Un-funded or ESRI Will Not Support Us 

  • Mitigating Factor: There Are Lots of ESRI Programmers and the System Is Almost Entirely Standard ESRI Applications     

SIPAS System Overview

  • Hardware

    • Mixture of Solaris UNIX, Linux and Windows Servers

    • Remote View and ESRI on PC’s with dual processors

    • Dual Monitors

    • Laptop Version

  • Workstations - Windows Operating System on PCs

  • Custom Ingest Software

    • Imagine and Terascan are available

  • Sensor Systems’ Remote View Imagery Analysis Application (COTS)

  • ESRI GIS Software




(Under Development)

SIPAS –Phase I Data Ingest


  • Ice Analysts have no time to do custom ingest

  • What Software? – Little In-house Expertise

  • Imagine, Terascan, Both Or Something Else?

  • Requirements: Modular And Upgradable

  • Solution:

    • Custom Modules By ACT And Custom In-house

    • All Modules Planned to be Written By ACT Soon

    • Still Retain ERDAS Imagine And Terascan License

  • Summary: Processing the 57 Gigs Per Day of Incoming Data To a Standard Format Used By Applications Was the Single Hardest Hurdle and We Are Not Over It Yet

Ancillary Data

  • Met, Ocean, Ice Model Fields into SIPAS

  • Goal Is To Have the Data in the Same Format as the Imagery and Spatial Data

  • Ongoing Process

  • Not Fully Documented

  • Point of Contact

Banks Island




Satellite-Derived Ice Motion

  • PIPS 2.0 and 85Ghz SSM/I

  • Scatterometer and radiometer data complement each other in estimating ice motion

    • Where radiometer has difficulties, scatterometer does well and visa versa

    • Enables complete coverage motion maps

Weather Data into SIMS

Temperature and pressure contours created in ArcInfo from FNMOC gridded data. Shapefile can be used as a layer in chart production.

Weather Data Process

  • Data is received from FNMOC in GRIB, cut into N and S

    • Hemispheres

  • Registered in TeraScan and Sent to ArcInfo with a header

  • Re-projected to Polar Stereographic

  • Contours produced

*Automated process is command line driven

Sea Ice Thickness Data from the Gerson Ice Model

Database and Browsing

  • ARCGIS Geodatabase


  • Spatial Data Engine (SDE) Front End

  • ARCIMS To Produce Maps

  • RemoteView Has A Browser With Thumbnails

  • Draw a Box on a Map and Retrieve Available Data

Analysis Module

  • Sensor Systems’ Remote View

  • Improved By Vendor For Us

  • Improvement Based On Our Requirements

  • Still COTS – Not A Custom Package

  • File Formats Completely Compatible With ESRI GIS Applications

Remote View - Sensor Systems

  • Remote View Pro - Version 2.4

  • Easily integrates with ARCView

  • Create, import, display and edit vector overlays (Shapefiles)

  • Supported formats:GeoTIFF, JPEG, ERDAS img, MrSID, RSAT, ESRI Shapefiles, DTED, etc.

SIPAS Phase II Analysis

The Analysis System contains 3 Parts

1- Query of Available images based on

AOI selection

2- Image Analysis

3- Attributing

Create 2 shape files

1- Ice lines

2- Egg attributes

Chart Production

  • Currently Use ESRI GIS Package and Old Custom Avenue and ARC AML Scripts To Produce .jpegs

  • Legacy Method Based On Old Technology

  • Moving Towards New Code Based On ARC/GIS – VISUAL BASIC

  • Eventually; Automatic Chart Production Using ESRI Geodatabase, ARC/MAP, IMS, SDE

  • Deploying “Zip and Ship” of Shapes Based on International Color Codes This Year

SIPAS Phase III Dissemination

The Dissemination System :

1- On Demand

2- Subscription

3- On-the-Fly Ice chart

Archive and On-line Access

  • Online Access

    • NIC: 1995-Current on WWW Site

    • NSIDC

      • Weekly or Bi-weekly “Sea” Charts

        • JPEG, .e00 Transfer Format,

        • International Color Standard

      • Every Two Weeks Arctic/Antarctic Hemispheric Coverage

        • .e00 Transfer, SIGRID 3 Archive Formats

  • Deep Archive

    • Hemispherics to NCDC in .e00 format

Sea Ice Mapping SystemLessons Learned

  • No Turnkey Systems

    • Rapid Prototyping with user participation

    • Custom Software by Applications Vendors

  • It is not easy to adopt a new system

    • Resistance for changes from users

      • Users participate in development/requirements

      • Must be obviously more accurate, better, faster

      • Find a champion

    • Difficulties of the learning curve

      • Vendor training using YOUR DATA

      • As little customized code as possible in a de-facto standard language

Sea Ice Mapping SystemLessons Learned

  • Overwhelming complexity

    • Modular Design

    • Documentation

  • Transformations, Conversions, Re-formats . . .

    • Insist on the same format for imagery analysis and spatial data files

    • Insist on using standards

      • Spatial data, imagery, graphic, archive, colors, attributes etc

  • Business Resumption and Portability

    • Ability to function as a stand alone

    • Laptop Version


  • COTS

  • Modular Design

    • Ingest, Analysis, Production, Dissemination

  • Same file formats throughout

  • User input in development

  • Training Using Actual Data

  • Availability of programming assets

  • Ability to upgrade with legacy support

  • Use Standards

  • Networked or Stand-alone


NOAA Satellite Operations Facility

Opening September 2005

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