Design of a High Resolution Open Access Global Snow Cover Web Map Service Using Ground and Satellite Observations

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jiri Kadlec and Daniel P Ames, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, United States
The aim of the presented work is creating a freely accessible, dynamic and re-usable snow cover map of the world by combining snow extent and snow depth datasets from multiple sources. The examined data sources are: remote sensing datasets (MODIS, CryoLand), weather forecasting model outputs (OpenWeatherMap, forecast.io), ground observation networks (CUAHSI HIS, GSOD, GHCN, and selected national networks), and user-contributed snow reports on social networks (cross-country and backcountry skiing trip reports). For adding each type of dataset, an interface and an adapter is created. Each adapter supports queries by area, time range, or combination of area and time range. The combined dataset is published as an online snow cover mapping service. This web service lowers the learning curve that is required to view, access, and analyze snow depth maps and snow time-series. All data published by this service are licensed as open data; encouraging the re-use of the data in customized applications in climatology, hydrology, sports and other disciplines. The initial version of the interactive snow map is on the website snow.hydrodata.org. This website supports the view by time and view by site. In view by time, the spatial distribution of snow for a selected area and time period is shown. In view by site, the time-series charts of snow depth at a selected location is displayed. All snow extent and snow depth map layers and time series are accessible and discoverable through internationally approved protocols including WMS, WFS, WCS, WaterOneFlow and WaterML. Therefore they can also be easily added to GIS software or 3rd-party web map applications. The central hypothesis driving this research is that the integration of user contributed data and/or social-network derived snow data together with other open access data sources will result in more accurate and higher resolution – and hence more useful snow cover maps than satellite data or government agency produced data by itself.