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FX-Collaborate (FXC) is an exploratory development project started in 1998 to study architectural issues involved in implementing collaboration and distributed databases. The approach has been to develop an operational prototype system that would assist us in exploring these issues while simultaneously collecting information from users about what constitutes an effective collaborative system.

Features - FXC emulates many capabilities of the National Weather Service's (NWS) Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) while allowing remote users to automatically synchronize their displays for collaboration. In addition, FXC includes interactive capabilities such as drawing/annotation tools and a chatroom, and allows sharing of local information between sites.

Architecture -The system was initially developed using Java's Remote Method Invocation and was later changed to use socket-to-socket ip communications as firewall restrictions increased. The FXC system consists of one or more clients and servers. The server is designed to access the real-time database and send metafiles to the client(s) for display and manipulation. The architecture is very flexible and allows the client and server to reside on the same machine and act as a single application, or have clients connect to remote servers.

Applications - The list of possible applications of FXC includes weather forecast/hazard coordination, classroom training, weather briefings to local agencies, and manual forecast product generation.

FXC has been installed at the Alaskan Aviation Weather Unit, CWSU, and Volcanic Ash Observatory in Anchorage, Alaska to evaluate its utility for volcanic ash coordination. The code has been extended to allow users to initiatalize and run a dispersion model and then display the output of the dispersion model on FXC. The sample image depicts the 500mb winds from the AVN Global model with the Puff-UAF dispersion model output as a multi-colored overlay (courtesy of GSD/AB).

The Department of Homeland Security is evaluating FXC for alerting the public to the release and spread of a potentially health or life-threatening gas. Through this Geo-Targeted Alerting System (GTAS) application, FXC is able to run the Hysplit model, identify the hazardous areas (call-out area), and transfer that information to a reverse 911 vendor to initiate calls.

FXC capabilities on AWIPS II (CAVE)

Many NWS offices are using FXC to create web graphics, such as Hazardous Weather Outlook or up-to-the-minute nowcasts. The image below is a sample screenshot using FXC's ability to capture the screen and transfer it to a Web server. This sample image is changed frequently to illustrate specific FXC features. FXC makes it extremely easy to capture real-time data from the AWIPS database, annotate it, and post it to the Web.

Shapefile and HiRes topography map with attribute display menu.

Hardware - The FXC server must reside on a linux machine that has the AWIPS software installed on it. The FXC client software has been tested on Windows XP and Linux machines. The minimum suggested client hardware configuration consists of 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz CPU.

What's New

Development of the CAVE Annotation Tool (CAT) is continuing


Grote, U. H., 2008: Geo-Targeted Alerting System (GTAS) CIRA Magazine, Vol. 29, Spring 2008, P1-3 (PDF)

Rodgers, D. M., Pratt, G, and Osienski, J. M., 2005:Volcanic Ash Coordination Tool.Presented at the 21st International Confernce on Intractive Information and Processing Systems, January 2005, San Diego, CA. (PDF)

Grote, U. H. and Golden, C., 2003: Enhancements to FX-Collaborate to Support Operations at NWS, USAF, and NASA. This paper was presented at the 19th International Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, February 2003, Long Beach, CA (American Meteorological Society). (PDF version)

Bushong, Jack S., 2003: Operational Use of FX-Collaborate at the Southeast River Forecast Center. 19th International Conf. on Interactive Information and Processing Systems, Long Beach, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., P1.41 (PDF)

Grote, U. H. and Golden, C. 2002: Extending AWIPS to Support Remote Collaboration. This descriptive paper was presented at the Interactive Symposium on the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), Orlando, January 2002, American Meteorological Society.

Rodgers, D. M., and T. Amis, 2002: Applying FX-Connect to the Prototype Aviation Collaborative Effort at the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center. 10th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, Portland, OR, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 277-280.

Rodgers, D. M., 2002:Applying AWIPS Technology o the Prototype Aviation Collaboration Effort (PACE).Presented at the Interactive Symposium on the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), Orlando, January 2002, American Meteorological Society. (PDF)

Grote, U. H., 1999: A Java-Based Collaborative Working Environment for FX-Advanced. This overview of the original plan and architecture was presented at the 15th International Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, Dallas, January 1999, American Meteorological Society.


Short Training Videos (approx. 2 min each)

FAQ 15 April 2008

Drawing Tool Examples 22 January 2008

User's Guide (html)   (pdf 3.1MB)   Rev 6, 21 March 2005.

Operator Manual Rev 4, 11 March 2004.

VEF User Guide Provided by VEF for creating Hazardous Weather Outlook graphics for the web -  13 February 2007

Creating a geo-referenced GIS map (Courtesy of BOU) -  20 February 2008

Creating a custom GIS map (Courtesy of IWX) -  28 February 2008

FXC Run-time Options 29 September 2009

NVIDIA Driver Update in OB9.1 and FXC Performance Provided by Bryan Ruby (FSD) - 26 October 2009

Graphicast Sites

NWS Central Region     NWS Southern Region

Ft. Worth CWSU
Seattle CWSU, WA

San Angelo, TX Daily Multimedia Weather Briefing

Software Download
(Restricted access)

List of new features 5.1.2

  FXC for AWIPS (Linux)    FXC 5.1.2 Download

FXC for AWIPS (Windows)    FXC 5.1.2 Download


CAVE Annotation Tool Plugin (versions available for 13.5.1, 13.5.2/13.5.3/13.5.4, and 14.1.1/14.2.1)

FXC Design: Herb Grote;

Other Links: ISB | GSD | NOAA

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Last updated May 2014