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Inter-Regional Integrated Services Data Base (IRISdb). Paul Flatt Warning Coordination Meteorologist WFO Boise, Idaho. IRISdb - Vision. IRISdb is an agency-wide database foundation for managing all aspects of partner and customer information at the local, regional, and national levels.

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inter regional integrated services data base irisdb

Inter-Regional Integrated ServicesData Base(IRISdb)

Paul Flatt

Warning Coordination Meteorologist

WFO Boise, Idaho

irisdb vision
IRISdb - Vision

IRISdb is an agency-wide database foundation for managing all aspects of partner and customer information at the local, regional, and national levels.

IRISdb is a GIS enabled Relational Database and the Enterprise Architecture needed to populate, update, and retrieve the data in the database.

irisdb background
IRISdb – Background


  • Each NWS Unit collects contact information and customer needs in a format that works best with the Unit’s technical abilities.
    • Some WFOs with great technical abilities have a database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSAccess, etc.) with a web interface.
    • Some WFOs have Excel spreadsheet, MSWord files, embedded in contact information in Outlook, etc., and print the data when it changes
irisdb background4
IRISdb – Background


  • Two WFOs using the same method is either rare or non-existent.
  • For backup purposes, sharing information is difficult.
    • Even when contact information is shared on a regular basis, it is rarely if ever done on a real time basis.
irisdb without a common platform
IRISdb – Without a common platform…
  • Duplication of effort to provide applications that store and display information in each unit.
  • Information is not efficiently shared laterally (WFO to backup WFO), or vertically (WFO to Region, Region to HQ).
  • HQ is not aware of the many customer needs at the local WFO level
  • Backup WFOs do not have critical customer needs information in real time.
irisdb how did we get here
IRISdb – How did we get here
  • StormLog (Eric Lenning WFO LOT)
    • A web (map based) display of spotters and other emergency contacts from a MySQL database.
  • Panda (Mike Seaman WFO SLC)
    • A web display of spotter reports and warnings issued. Not map based, only data entry and instant verification of warnings.
irisdb how did we get here7
IRISdb – How did we get here
  • StormLog and Panda - The underlying data was identical, how it was stored was not compatible. (spotters, events)
  • A small team was formed to integrate these two programs into one WFO neutral program, first called StormLog1.
irisdb how did we get here8
IRISdb – How did we get here
  • Searching for other solutions to the “contact” database problem, SevereClear is noted as a related application
irisdb common data storage
IRISdb – Common Data Storage




Other Future Apps


HQ Customer Contacts

irisdb technical d
IRISdb – Technical D

IRISdb– What is it?

  • PostgreSQL database (v8.2 or greater)
    • With PostGIS capabilities
  • Server will be located in every location that has data to manage (every WFO, each Region, each division in HQ, etc.).
  • Data is shared on an as needed basis through Java EE technology.

IRISdb– What is in it?

  • Contact information (name, phone, email, address (geocoded), interests) for…
    • Spotters
    • Emergency Managers
    • Transportation Department Officials
    • Media
    • Other customer contacts (HQ customers, Regional contacts, RFC contacts, etc.)

IRISdb– What is in it?

  • Customer decision support information.
    • e.g. Transportation Department interest in notification of sub-warning snow amounts.County officials in need of QPF estimates ahead of a rain event.
  • Real-time preliminary verification information.

IRISdb– What is in it?

  • Tracking public events (e.g. Boston Marathon) that could have a serious life safety threat from adverse weather.
  • Track outreach events sponsored by all levels of the NWS. (NOEES)
  • Tracking Fire Weather IMET dispatches
irisdb the foundation that links projects
IRISdb – The Foundation that links Projects
  • IRISdb holds that data that can be used by many diverse projects
    • SevereClear
    • RIDGE
    • WWA Maps on office webpages
    • StormData reporting
    • AHPS
    • Others?
  • Provide consistent geographic data for each project
  • Leverage our investment in time, money, training
  • Re-use code and tools instead of re-inventing

IRISdb and the Strategic Plan

  • Improved partnerships and better coordination
    • With sister agencies in NOAA, plus other Federal, state, and local agencies.
    • With research community and private sector.
  • Improved services focused on customer needs
    • Tracks specific needs of (and interactions with) those affected by our services.
    • Provides collective picture of service requirements for agency as a whole.
  • Improved observations
    • Greater accuracy of storm reports contributes to nation’s climate record.
    • Verification of Polygon Warnings for improved performance measures.
    • Datasets can support research into a wide variety of weather effects.


nws customer relationship fragmentation drowning in data starved for information
Today - Across NWS Offices

Basic type of data collected is identical

The Format of the data is highly variable(e.g., MySQL, Excel, Word, Access, GIS, etc.)

Access and usage of the data is restricted

Level of documentation is poor

What is the Impact

Unequal sharing of information – Keeping some units in the dark

Limitations in situational awareness

Tenuous connection of user needs, feedback, and impact information between HQ and field

Degraded support during office backup

Difficult to measure inclusiveness with stakeholders

NWS Customer Relationship FragmentationDrowning in Data, Starved for Information

Critical Impacts and

Uncertainty Thresholds

Contacts (EMs, private sector, academia, Government, Int’l)

WCM Interactions & Outreach

Partner/Customer Feedback

& Needs Information

Weather Spotters/Reports


irisdb developed outside awips
IRISdb – Developed outside AWIPS

Is directly transportable into AWIPS2


IRISdb – Brings it all together