Developing applications for real-time environmental data

22nd–23rd February 2005

General information

The value of real-time environmental data produced by the Met Office, the Environment Agency and similar bodies, would be greatly enhanced if they could be accessed through secure Web and Grid Services. This would enable the development of models and user service tools, which could immediately provide downstream predictions for a whole range of purposes, for research, for regulatory bodies and government departments and potentially for commercial exploitation. A number of projects already exist giving access to some Met Office data products online, eg. the NERC-funded GODIVA project, and the Met Office is committed to greatly expanding the delivery of data via Web Services through its ongoing re-engineering program.

Similarly the Environment Agency is extending its data services following on from its high profile program What’s in my backyard. There is great potential for making these data services more widespread, more quantitative and more useful to the research and other user communities.

Aims of the course

This workshop will explore the interest from the Research community in building eScience demonstrators using Met Office and Environmental Agency data sets. Representatives from both agencies will be present and the aim will be to identify a number of potential projects to go forward to produce suitable demonstrators in the near term. The workshop will therefore try both to identify projects to take forward and also to discuss a longer-term vision of how the environmental research community can interact more with agencies to their mutual benefit.

This event is being organised by Keith Haines (Reading eScience Centre) and Ag Stephens (BADC).


22nd February


Registration and coffee/tea


Welcome and Introduction to Workshop Objectives (Keith Haines Reading, Ag Stephens BADC)


What is a Web Service? [ppt] (Bryan Lawrence, BADC)


Real time data dissemination at Met Office [ppt] (Chris Little, Met Office)


Plans for the re-engineered Met Office IT architecture [ppt] (Bruce Wright, Met Office)


Web Service provision of Met Office Marine data at ESSC (Keith Haines, Jon Blower, Reading)




Data dissemination at the Environment Agency: Real Time Environment Monitoring (Nick Holden Environment Agency, Bath)


Universities Facility for Atmospheric Measurement (Alan Blyth, Leeds)


Real time instrument observations [ppt] (Geraint Vaughan, Manchester)

Real Time Ocean Data - some experiences with end-users (Peter Rasch, DHI Water & Environment)




Breakout Session 1

1. Data Provision through Web Services. Leaders:- Jon Blower (ReSC)

  • Review current Web Service Activities.
  • Review Services via Workflows
  • Review delivery requirements
  • Review potential range of downstream services
  • Compile list of activities and any needed Actions

2. Instruments in the field and data delivery. Leaders: Geraint Vaughan, Alan Blyth

  • Review current field instruments and current dataflows
  • Review standards for real-time data protocols from field instruments
  • Interfacing data to databases and computational Services in the Lab.
  • Compile list of useful actions developments


GLACSWEB: A glacial (real time) environmental sensor network (Jane Hart, Southampton)


Adaptive sampling using a network of ocean gliders [ppt] (David Smeed, Southampton)




Drinks reception


Workshop dinner

23rd February


Use of Web Services in Operational Environmental Forecasting- DTI project [ppt] (Paul Hardaker, Met Office)


Advances in environmental decision support systems [ppt] (Jonathan Williams, Southampton)

9.50- 10.15

Portable Unified model and adapting to real time data feeds (Robert Watson, Bath)


Forecasting trajectories of air masses [ppt] (John Methven, Reading)


The pattern of Phosphorus movement from Agricultural fields through overland flow (Ghasem Rahimi, Reading)




Breakout Session 2

3. Met Office Data: Pilot proposals. Leaders: Keith Haines and Ag Stephens

  • Review current Activities
  • Identify current activities that could be improved with standard protocols such as Web Services
  • List and discuss data wish list from participants
  • Discuss how to take new projects forward

 4. Environment Agency Data: Pilot proposals. Leaders:

  • Review current Activities
  • Identify current activities that could be improved with standard protocols such as Web Services
  • List and discuss data wish list from participants
  • Discuss how to take new projects forward




Plenary Discussion of Breakout Sessions


Coffee/Tea and Close

Speakers and participants: please see notes for speakers.


The main meetings of the workshop, lunches, and conference dinner will be held in Emmanuel College.

Details of the location of the meeting, including travel plans, can be obtained here.

Because the event is being held in term time, accommodation will need to be privately arranged, but reasonable costs can be reimbursed. A conference dinner will be held in Emmanuel College on the evening of 22nd February, to which all delegates are invited. Hotel booking information is available from Visit Cambridge or on 01223 457 581 (but please do not be extravagent!).


It is anticipated that the workshop may generate interest in some follow-on activities. We will discuss the sort of follow-on activities that can be arranged, such as visits to NIEeS to demonstrate some of the escience/grid technologies and to provide help with installation and usage.


There is no registration charge, and lunches and dinner will be provided free. Registration is essential and must be done using our on-line form. The NIEeS will refund reasonable accommodation and travel expenses.

Please book early to ensure that you are able to obtain a place.

In the event of any difficulty in booking, including not receiving an email confirmation within 24 hours, please email the NIEeS office.

Contact and further information

For information about registration, and all other types of queries, please contact the NIEeS office in the first instance.

Last update:Wed, Feb 23, 2005