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Geospatial World Award for the Bureau’s forecasting system

Geospatial World Award for the Bureau’s forecasting system

The Bureau’s NexGenFWS system and its web-based map viewer, MetEye, gain global recognition in Geneva

2014 is shaping into a huge year for the Bureau’s state-of-the-art Next Generation Forecast and Warning System (NexGenFWS) and its geospatial weather viewer MetEye, which last night received the prestigious Geospatial World Technology Innovation Award (Meteorology) at the 2014 Geospatial World Forum in Geneva.

The award caps an eventful few weeks for the developers of NexGenFWS, which on April 8th also received the Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Award for Technical Excellence and the J K Barrie Award – the most significant award within the Australian and New Zealand spatial industry.

NexGenFWS is a highly sophisticated digital system that enables Bureau forecasters to analyse the findings of multiple weather prediction models and use them to fine-tune detailed forecasts for 6x6km grids across Australia – which can then be accessed through MetEye. NexGenFWS and MetEye will cover the whole of Australia by the end of this year, when the Northern Territory comes online.

The Geospatial World Awards are presented by the publishers of Geospatial World magazine to institutions or entities that develop innovative geospatial tools and products for analysing and delivering location-based data to the community. From a worldwide call for nominations, around 200 entries were received for this year’s awards, which were judged by a panel of external experts.

Snap shot of the Bureau's progression in forecasts

The Bureau of Meteorology’s online weather forecasts and warnings have become one of the most widely used services of the Australian Government. While today’s users expect reliable local forecasts to be available 24/7 through their smartphones, this is in fact only a very recent development.

“Despite enormous advances in the science of meteorology, until recently most weather forecasts were still text-based and limited to a modest number of locations,” explains NexGenFWS Project Director Terry Hart. “NexGenFWS was designed to meet the growing demands for forecasts for more locations, and critically, to give regional and rural communities the same level of service as those in the capital cities.”

Today, NexGenFWS and MetEye enable users across Australia to customise forecasts for their specific locations – selecting the weather elements that concern them and then zooming in to their location to see how those aspects of the weather are evolving. By the end of the NexGenFWS project, detailed seven-day forecasts will be available for more than 650 locations across Australia.

Since the NexGenFWS rollout began in late 2009, the project has scooped a number of awards in several categories, including technology, eGovernment, government leadership, project and risk management, and innovation in service delivery (see full list below).

The Bureau’s Director of Meteorology, Dr Rob Vertessy, said the awards recognised the commitment and skill of the project team.

“These awards demonstrate that we have produced something very robust and useful that touches a very large part of the community,” Dr Vertessy said. “NexGenFWS would not be what it is today without the considerable skill and knowledge of our weather forecasters who use it every day to prepare our weather forecasts and warnings.

“Without the diverse technical skills across the Bureau, it would not have been possible to deliver this project to such a high standard. I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished for the Australian community and industry that rely on our weather intelligence.”

Some of the NexGenFWS project awards to date

  • Australian Government Leadership Network Victoria Award 2010 – for the delivery of weather information to the community
  • Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management 2012 – for the implementation of NexGenFWS
  • Australian Excellence in eGovernment Award 2012, recognising the most outstanding initiatives in eGovernment across five ICT disciplines, for NexGenFWS and the geospatial framework for MetEye
  • The Australian Institute of Project Managers Project Achievement Awards 2012 (Victoria) – Judges’ Commendation for the design and implementation of the NexGenFWS project
  • IPAA Victoria Leadership in the Public Sector Awards 2012 – Innovation in Service Delivery Award for the NexGenFWS project and MetEye
  • Victorian Spatial Excellence Awards (VSEA) 2013 – Technical Excellence award for NexGenFWS and MetEye and the development of their underlying Geospatial Service Orientated Architecture
  • Resilient Australia Awards – Highly commended in the National Commonwealth Attorney General’s Awards 2013 for national contributions to disaster management and building safer communities
  • 2013 Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA) – Winner in the Technical Excellent category and overall winner of the J K Barrie Award for Excellence, conferred to the category winner exhibiting the highest level of overall excellence
  • Geospatial World Awards – Winner of the Geospatial World Technology Innovation Award (Meteorology) for NexGenFWS and the geospatial systems framework.

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