23-27 SEPTEMBER 2002

TT-FWIS-4/Doc. 4(2)




Report on the RA VI Virtual GISC Project - First Meeting

(Submitted by the G. Hoffmann)


Kick-off Meeting

Virtual GISC in RA-VI
Langen 26./27.6.2002


Andre, Dominique Météo France
Bauer, Hans DWD, BI
Davrinche, Dominque Météo France
Duvernet, Francois Météo France
Foreman, Steve UK Met Office
Francis, Richard EUMETSAT
Hennessy, John ECMWF
Hoffmann, Prof.G.-R. DWD, TI1
Janßen, Hans DWD, TI16
Knottenberg, Heinrich DWD, TI15
Mildner, Stefan DWD, TI
Rattenborg, Mikael EUMETSAT
Richter, Bernd TI11
Seib, Dr.Jürgen DWD, TI12

1. Welcome

Stefan Mildner welcomed the participants of the Meeting on behalf of the President of DWD, Udo Gärtner. He outlined the importance of the VGISC concept within RA-VI and mentioned the interest of other groups in WMO. Significant progress has been made since the last Meeting and the position of the project within the Future WMO Information System (FWIS) requires further steps to be done. It is of special importance to keep the initiative within the group in order to avoid uncoordinated procedures. This was the main reason why the Kick-off Meeting had been scheduled soon after the RA-VI Meeting.

2. Adoption of Agenda, Working Arrangements

The agenda was adopted by the participants. It was mentioned that the VGISC could have consequences for other countries and WMC‘s and that Russia seems to feel concerned by this concept. This requires that further steps of the VGISC Project have to be coordinated within WMO.

RA-VI , during its 13th Meeting (May 2002), agreed upon its active participation in the further development in the Future WMO Information System in order to increase the efficiency of arrangements for the collection and dissemination of data and products.

The Executive Council, during its 54th Session (June 2002), appreciated the progress made in the development of the FWIS and noted that there is now a chance to establish an agreed standard for the FWIS. It requested CBS to further outline detailed information on specific FWIS requirements and procedures of how to integrate the WWW system and centres into the new system. It also recalled policy issues raised at its 53rd meeting about the impact of FWIS on Members' responsibilities and resources and the necessary revision of existing infrastructure.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rainer (WMO) was unable to attend the meeting; his presentation about the Terms of Reference has been handed out to the participants.

3. The Role of a GISC within the Future WMO Information System

Prof. Hoffmann outlined in a presentation the role of a Global Information System Centre (GISC) within FWIS. While the current WMO Information System includes a variety of Internet-based systems, the Future WMO Information System should offer a single information system to all users. He mentioned that ECSN is a potential user of UNIDART and that the GCOS and Marine user community is also interested in the new development.

The structure of the FWIS would consist of National Centres (NCs; both within and outside the NMHS’s, their participation would be coordinated through the PRs to WMO), Global Information System Centres (GISC) handling globally distributed datasets, and Data Collection and Production Centres (DCPC) handling regionally distributed datasets.

4. Description of Relevant Parts of a GISC

Steve Foreman gave a presentation on the requirements for metadata standards within WMO and the specific role of XML. Its integration into the FWIS must be further considered.

Hans Janßen gave a presentation on the communications infrastructure of a Virtual GISC with respect to internal and external connections and the principal setup of the internal structure of the communications within a VGISC.

Heinrich Knottenberg gave a presentation on data acquisition and dissemination within a VGISC.

Dr Seib outlined the design of data provision on demand and suggested a web portal as the modern web-based solution

All presentations given during the meeting have been handed out to the participants in printed form. They are available on the DWD website at

5. Roles for Participants of the VGISC

Prof. Hoffmann presented some ideas on data acquisition and products, data distribution, and data distribution policy. The data collection would be done by the National Centres (NC’s) and their data be stored at the three members of the VGISC. The DCPC’s (Eumetsat and ECMWF) would provide their data to the VGISC by feeding them into the communications ring. Where the data will be stored physically can be decided at a later stage.

The VGISC would provide globally distributed datasets. The VGISC data will be distributed by the respective owner of the data according to a common schedule. Each centre would have its own back-up procedures (round-robin procedure between members of the VGISC) and all centres would act as a cluster.

6. Future Action

The workplan for the VGISC has been split up between four Working Groups:

Working Group on Policy, chaired by Francois Duvernet (France)

Working Group on Data, chaired by Steve Foreman (UK)

Working Group on Communications, chaired by Hans Janßen (Germany)

Working Group on Data Acquisition / Dissemination, chaired by Heinrich Knottenberg (Germany)

It was proposed that the chairmen of the working groups should attend the meetings of the other working groups. The chairmen will report to the VGISC Steering Group, which consists of the participants of the kick-off meeting.

7. Next Meeting

On the kind invitation of MeteoFrance, the 2nd meeting of the VGISC Steering Group will be held on 20./21.November 2002 in Toulouse. The groups will present their reports and the results could, if appropriate, be reported to the next extraordinary session of CBS, 4 - 12 December 2002, Cairns, Australia.

8. Closure of the Meeting.

The meeting was closed on Thursday, 27 June at 12am.