Air Quality Demo and Session: 18th Federal meeting

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)


The air quality demo presented the use of interoperable web services to aid decision support pertaining to air quality events. The current challenges for air quality information systems include: delivery of air quality data in real time; characterization of air pollution through the integration of multi-sensory data and providing agile support to regulatory air quality management. The demo presents an interoperable web service architecture using standards based data access and processing can support air quality management. The demo highlighted a use case involving monitoring and analysis of a wildfire smoke event.
The wildfire use case is focused on major forest fires in Manitoba, Canada in late June and early July 2006 when smoke was transported eastward and south over the Northern Plains. The demo shows how an air quality analyst might use distributed data access, processing and analysis services to understand the impact of smoke on surface air quality.
Data used in the analysis include surface air quality and weather monitors, satellite observations and model forecast output. Data are used from:

  • NOAA (Fire occurrence, smoke plumes)
  • NASA (aerosol model, satellite observations of aerosol optical thickness and NO2)
  • EPA (air pollution concentrations)
  • and others.

All datasets are accessible through web interfaces; in some cases through Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications. DataFed is used for data visualization, integration, processing and analysis. A “third-party” GoogleMaps mashup illustrated how open, standard data access interfaces allow these data to be broadly used in a variety of tools and applications.
The demo presented processing services for data analysis. Spatial and temporal aggregation services allow pattern and trend analysis comparisons among data sources. A grid processing service is used to calculate ratios for analyzing differences between model forecasts and satellite observations.
The demo is intended as a starting point for future expansion with other data providers, mediators and users. The hope is that it serves as a foundation for creating more advanced demonstrations and implementations of interoperable web services supporting air quality research and management.

Demo Screencast Page and discussion
Smoke Impact on Air Quality

Breakout Session


As a follow-on to the demo, the cluster met to discuss ongoing activities and next steps. Participants: John Kozimor, Steve Young, Heidi Paulson, Rudy Husar, Meixa Deng, Brian Wilson, Carla McAuliffe, Peter Fox, Ben Domenico, Francis Lindsay, Phil Yang, John McHenry, Stefan Falke

Steve Young provided updates on Airnow, EPA Environmental Science Portal, and Remote Sensing Gateway. Mentioned a lot of focus on forecasting but a need to address AQ assessment and fundamental problems as well. Suggested analytical services as a gap that the cluster could help fill. Thought experience of meteorological community could help cluster as it moves forward.

Ben Domenico agreed with linking to meteorological community. Mentioned work in event characterization and automated detection. Suggested making connection with the LEAD portal.

Frank Lindsay provided update on NASA activities in making data products available and helping researchers use them. Suggested identifying focus areas to use products, perhaps in a analyst toolkit.

Rudy Husar provided an update on the technical track, in particular the architecture. (see slides) "Stars are aligned to build partnership between EPA, NASA, and NOAA in data sharing." Introduced an air quality system-of-systems concept as an architectural framework for supporting air quality decisions. Humans are a key component is systems-of-system interoperability.

Stefan Falke provided an air quality web landscape, laying out the existing projects, that need to be networked in moving toward interoperable and collaborative air quality information systems. (see Air Quality Web Landscape)

Steve Kempler provided an update to Giovanni, including the spatial/temporal analysis and A-Train Depot.

Suggestion to look into using GRASS services made into web services (SOAP) at GMU. (see services)

John McHenry provided an overview of his new NASA DECISIONS project involving AQ forecasting. Liked the cluster approach and offered linkages to met. community.

Ted Habermann suggested exploring some of the newer OGC specs, including SOS, filter spec, and notification service.

Brian Wilson asked about ways in which the ESIP technical clusters could support the air quality application cluster. Use cases are needed to help frame the discussion between the groups. To this end, technical-application use cases are being developed.


  • 'Stars are aligned' to build network of air quality services
  • Develop Use cases for collaboration with technical clusters (see Technology-Application Use Cases)
  • Link with meteorological community
  • Relevance of incorporating other OGC specifications
  • Explore air pollution event identification and characterization as a possible use case

What links here: Air Quality Demo and Session: 18th Federal meeting