Center Weather Service

The chief instructor at our local school passes this useful link along the other day. Digging in a little, it turns out to apparently be public-visible content belonging to a Center Weather Service Unit (Oakland ARTCC in this case).

I knew that NWS kept offices in ARTCC facilities, but I really didn’t know what they did there. This looks to me to be a Java-based public viewable representation of what controllers have available to them, and it’s pretty useful.

I’ve long been a fan of the Aviation Digital Data Service, it’s often my first stop in preflight planning. Their Java tools are really useful, especially the METAR/TAF tools. Only issue with them is that the initial load time is long (it’s a lot of data), and if you’re using a slow line, this can be inconvenient.

The CWSU tool seems to have a couple of advantages. It has the same mouse-over information like the ADDS tools, except (1) the depiction includes terrain, and (2) the download is really snappy. Even over my lame 512K ADSL line.

Try it and see what you think.

I’d love to hear more about how this kind of stuff gets used by ATC. If anyone knows more about this, please comment. It’s always enlightening for us ordinary pilots to know more about the controller’s art.

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