What is WestMap?

WestMap is the Western Climate Mapping Initiative, a collaborative effort being undertaken by the WestMap Consortium. The WestMap Consortium is a group of stakeholders from public and private sectors who share a common interest in regional climate variability and fine-scale mapping of this climate.

Climate can vary dramatically across short distances and over small elevation changes as can the response to such variation. Through the investigations of the NOAA Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) programs and climate services outreach efforts such as the Regional Climate Centers, it has become quite apparent that stakeholders are increasingly requiring:

            1) finer-scale climate data time histories

          2) Intuitive, efficient interactive applications tools that do not require extensive expertise or special software to use

          3) Knowledge support resources

to better understand and manage interactions between climate and their areas of responsibilities.

Stakeholder Community

The intended stakeholder community for the WestMap Initiative includes such entities as:

o       Public and private agencieso       Engineers  
o       Recreation interests
o       Natural Resource management
o       Climate variability and change research
o       Drought response & relief planning
o       Community planners
o       Hydrologists
o       Climate and weather forecasters
o       Financial interests
o       Agricultural interests
o       Ranching interests
o       Transportation
o       Utilities
o       Public health

All of these stakeholders groups, and many more, are asking for fine-scale spatial climate time series and the ability to acquire specialized time histories within user-specific spatial configurations

What is the WestMap Climate Mapping & Analysis Toolbox?

The WestMap toolbox is an interactive web-based interface developed in response to findings that stakeholders from a wide range of sectors require new forms of data, intuitive tools, and support resources to understand climate variability and to be able to incorporate this understanding into specific planning and management efforts.  Specifically, stakeholders ask for lengthy time series of fine-scale (~1-4 km) gridded climate data that can be aggregated to user-specified domains, and accompanying user-friendly resources.

Three Primary Interwoven Segments

 1) data development and operations

 2) error assessments, data analyses and diagnostics

 3) data access, visualization and educational resources.

How was the toolbox constructed?

Several specific programming languages have been used to generate both the web site and the products that the website will deliver.  PHP (PHP:  Hypertext Preprocessor) andjava_script are the main technologies behind creating dynamic, user-friendly web pages.  PHP is used to generate the web pages, site security and retrieving and processing form data (such as user feedback). java_script is used in mouse-over effects, map labels that follow the mouse, and the drop-down menus for site navigation to start (it will undoubtedly be used throughout the site).  The portions of the site pertaining to “on-the-fly” map and data requests are in design phase but will likely involve PHP,java_script or Java, and open source webGIS software, modified for use here.  A dedicated server is  devoted to generating the “canned” products and the user-requested, “on-the-fly” maps, graphs and data.  Software utilized to generate these maps and retrieve information from the PRISM database is a combination of C, FORTRAN, perl, unix/linux scripts and potentially graphical software such as GrADS or NCL (NCAR Command Language).  Development design is not limited to the languages listed to allow for flexibility in design, development, and operations.

What types of climate time series are available through this site?

The initial fundamental data is monthly PRISM temperature (maximum, mean, minimum) and precipitation at 4km resolution. Period of record is 1895-present. Currently, WestMap supports gridded PRISM climate data for the Western United States.  The interface has been designed to allow expansion of this domain to the continental United States in the future.



What can I do with the West Map Toolbox?

Where do I go if I need help?