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REINAS Instrumentation and Visualization

Alex Pang and Dan Fernandez

Baskin Center for

Computer Engineering & Information Sciences

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA 95064 USA


This paper gives a brief system overview of REINAS (Realtime Environmental Information Network Analysis System) and some details on the instrumentation and visualization aspects. REINAS is a continuing engineering research and development system with the goal of designing, developing and testing an operational prototype system for data acquisition, data management, and visualization. As such, it includes a growing web of networked remote and in-situ instruments, a federated geographical database, and an extensible visualization interface. REINAS focuses on the needs of both oceanographers and meteorologists who monitor realtime data or analyze retrospective data that has been collected in the Monterey Bay area. This system is designed to be portable, extensible, and fault tolerant. Among the collaborators on this project are researchers from the UCSC Computer Engineering and Computer Information Sciences Departments and environmental scientists from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Keywords: realtime, advanced instrumentation, environmental visualization,

1 Overview of REINAS

REINAS is a multi-year effort of the Baskin Center for Computer Engineering and Information Sciences of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), in cooperation with environmental scientists from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). It is currently in its fourth year, out of a five year development plan. We have gone through the steps of problem and concept identification, requirement specification, system design and implementation, and are currently in the midst of experimentation and evaluation as well as transitioning to an operational version. These stages are documented in the following reports [1, 2, 3, 4] and are summarized below.

The goal of this project is to bring modern technologies to bear upon the problem of realtime environmental (oceanographic and meteorological) data acquisition, management, and visualization/analysis. As an area of focus, we are looking at the phenomena within the regional scale of Monterey Bay. Since physical changes happen at much smaller time scales within our region of interest (compared to global or climate studies), the main challenge of REINAS is to provide realtime environmental information of the physical parameters. The tools that are being used to help realize this goal are a combination of wireless, networked instruments, land and water based mobile platforms, remote instrument steering and control, spatial/temporal database management, artificial intelligence, flexible tool-based visualization, multimedia, collaboration software, and data assimilation of field measurements into numerical models.

While the main driving requirement for REINAS is the realtime measurement and access of field data, it also has to support the needs of three classes of users. These are: operational users, scientific users, and developers/instrumentation engineers. Operational users include forecasters who need the most recent measurements to produce short-range forecasting or nowcasting, policy makers or planners who need a bird's eye view as well as the ability to zoom in an areas of interest, disaster control planners who need current measurements as well as models to compare the impact of various remedial alternatives, and finally a growing list of recreational users who are interested in the current surf, sail [5], or ski conditions. Scientific users include retrospective researchers who need synoptic views for historical analyses, experimental researchers who need to combine current measurements into model runs, and sensor scientists who need to control instruments as the need arises { e.g. adjust sampling rate or point instrument at certain directions as a front approaches. The third class of users are system developers and instrumentation engineers who need to add, recalibrate, or remove instruments from the field, add or remove instruments from the network of instruments without