What's New on the Web Site

April 25

METAR Site Query

Added a new METAR site query link on the METAR page that will allow the user to query for site IDs and get more information on the airport.

Local Forecast under User Dropdown

Added the "Local Forecast" to the User dropdown so it is now available on every page.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed some login and registration issues.
  • Added SIGMET and GAIRMET legends to main page interactive map.

April 9

NCWF Looping and Zooming

Fixed a bug on the legacy page that prevented the NCWF page from looping. Added zooming feature to new NCWF page to mimic the zooming on legacy page.

Added Thumbnail View to Surface Prog Charts

There is a "Thumb" button that will display a thumbnail version of all surface prog charts from analysis to 7 days.

Mobile Page

Fixed several small bugs on the mobile web site.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where the user settings (GIS toggle, Favorites) would be deleted when the browser was closed.
  • Recentered the large Java applets. Before when selecting the "large" option for the Java applets, they were skewed to the right on the page. Now they're centered.
  • Fixed bug in upper air charts on "Briefing" page. Before, only 18Z plots would show up, if available.

April 2

Interactive Map Speedup

Enabled browser caching of images in the GIS interactive displays. This speeds up the display of data after it's loaded the first time.

Radar Plot Pan and Zoom

Image maps were added to each of the radar mosaic and single site displays. The mosaics will allow you to zoom into subregions and pan between them. The site display will allow you to move to adjacent radar sites.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed bug in IE Javascript execution. This makes the interactive displays run much faster (up to 10 times faster) on Internet Explorer version 9 and higher.
  • Added missing satellite image sectors for Hawaii and Alaska.
  • Put the best practice page back on data server main page.
  • Reordered METAR and TAF output on the TAF data page. If the METAR is included, it will display first like it does on other pages.
  • Enlarged Aviation Forecast Display map.

March 28

User Settings Page

Under the User tab is the user Settings. This will offer the ability to set preferences. These are currently saved as a browser cookie.

Toggle for GIS Displays

For slower browsers and network connections, it is desired to not have the GIS interactive maps come up in the main pages. This user setting toggles off the GIS displays and adds a link to them on a separate page.

Favorites Bar

To overcome the shortcomings of the drop down menus, a favorites bar has been added to the page. When set up under user settings, it will display at the top of each page offering up to seven quick links to other pages on the site. On the setup, the user can choose from the preselect drop down or enter their own links.

Printable Text Output

Added a "Print" button to the text output displays to toggle off the layout. This removes the header and trailer to make printing cleaner.

March 25

New Layout

Clearly, the new layout is the first thing you'll notice. In adopting the weather.gov layout, it gives the site a cleaner look and feel.

Left Hand Navigation Bar

The left hand navigation bar is now gone. It has been replaced by the top "Navigation Bar". Most of the pages that were accessible from the left hand bar with fly-outs are now available from top navigation bar with drop downs. The links are larger to support mobile users.

New Web Pages

A new set of web pages are being rolled out with the upgrade. The content on the new pages are roughly the same as the older pages. In some cases, the access was simplified. In other cases, lesser used features were removed or moved to other pages. The idea is to simplify the access and make the user experience more consistent between web pages.

Legacy Web Pages

The legacy web pages still exist but are not linked to from the primary web pages. To access the legacy pages, go to the "Legacy" link under the "About" drop-down menu. You can use the /info/legacy link as well.

NOTE: The legacy pages will be deprecated in the near future. Most pages will remain active for up to a year. Watch the top news for when pages will be removed.

New Help Page Design

The new help pages are redesigned and have a consistent look and feel. Many pages have been consolidated and a new links bar has been added to each page to make navigation easier.

The new help pages are being updated to reflect the new content. The old web site had very old and in many cases out dated help. The new web site will have all new web pages

A new comprehensive help page is available from the "About" drop-down. This help page will provide links to all help pages on the web site.

New User Login

As QICP is being replaced and modified, the QICP login has been replaced with a standard login. This still acts as a QICP like login but will be more generic. We plan on adding user preferences into the login profile. Once the replacement for QICP is determined, information will be posted on the web site as how the user login will be used.

New News Pages

The "Top News" is still available on the front page under "News and Information". Now, only headlines are displayed along with the date the news item was posted. Click on the headline for more information.

The new "News" page will list all the current news items as well provide a link to the new archive which provides over 3 years of news items. Also, the newsletter pages "The Front" and "Skyspotter" are linked here.

New Content

In addition to the new layout, several changes have been made to the content.

OpenLayers GIS Maps

Much of the new content is centered around providing GIS based sources of data and GIS capable clients. OpenLayers is a Javascript API for rendering GIS data. Much of the content of the web site can now be rendered in a GIS display and more will be added in the future. See the tutorial on how to use the GIS displays.

Java Applets

There are six Java based applets being currently used on the AviationWeather web site: METARs, TAFs, PIREPs, AIR/SIGMETs, NCWF looper and a Java animation tool. Embedded Java in the browser (applets) has fallen out of favor in the last decade as the capabilities of Javascript and HTML5 have increased. Also, hardware incompatibilities and several security issues have made supporting Java applets more difficult. As a result, we're deprecating the use of the applets. They will not be linked to from the new web site but they can still be launched from the legacy pages. The idea is the get users to use the OpenLayers GIS maps since they will offer more functionality and will work on mobile devices.

No More Pop-ups

Pop-up windows are no longer used on the web site. They were inconsistently used in the past and newer browsers, including those on mobile devices don't support them. All graphics will be displayed within the web page layout.

No More Standalone Graphics

Outside of Flight Folder graphics, no graphics will display in a stand alone page that would require hitting the back button to get out of. Now all graphics display embedded in the layout will full navigation to the rest of the web site. An added feature is that this allows for the addition of a data controls for the imagery that will allow you to quickly navigate to other graphics without having to go back to the main page.

No More Standalone Text

ADDS offered pages where raw METAR, TAF and PIREP data could be accessed on a standalone page. This was done mostly because users screen scraped the page for raw data. Now all raw data will be embedded in the layout similar to the graphics. The data controls bar will allow the user to make new queries or modify the existing one without having to hit the back button. This also allows the user to switch from raw to decoded views on the fly. For those wanting to extract the raw data, comments have been added into the HTML output "Data starts here" and "Data ends here".

New Decoded View For PIREPs/AIREPs

The tabular decoded view for PIREPs has been replaced with a decoded view that is closer to what's seen in the METAR and TAF views. This is far more usable than the old tabular view which was essentially a dump of the ADDS database.

New @ID Selectors for TAFs and METARs

In addition to the station selectors such as @PA and @FL, you can now use @TOP for the top airports, @ZTL for top airports within a ARTCC region. Also, if there is no match to a state, it will default to a country as in @GB for Great Britain. The #country can still be used.

New TAF and METAR Dashboards

The new dashboards show decoded TAF and METAR data in a table with hours running in columns and parameters such as visibility, ceiling and winds in rows. The cells are color coded for quick detection of weather that could affect aviation. A summary table is available from the "/taf/board" and /metar/board pages. Any list of airports you could enter into the METAR and TAF request boxes including @TOP and #GB can be entered here. Click on the expanded button to get more information or click on the airport ID to get information for that airport.

New SIGMET/AIRMET Text Selectors

The selection mechanism for SIGMETs and AIRMETs has been simplified. Also, a new selector has been added for international SIGMETs.

New International SIGMET Decoder

All the international SIGMETs are entered into the ADDS database. Information such as FIR region, begin and end time, type of hazard, top and bottom altitudes are decoded and put into the database. This allows the user to query the SIGMETs from the text selector on the SIGMET page. In development is a display using OpenLayers.

Text PIREP Request Plot Removed

The ability to plot a specific region of PIREPs has been removed because the same functionality can be done through the OpenLayers GIS tool.

New Center Weather Advisory (CWA) Decoder

CWAs are now decoded and put into the ADDS database. This allows for the plotting of CWA polygons by the OpenLayers GIS tool.

New Javascript Animation Program

The animation/looping code for radar and satellite data uses a new Javascript based animator. Now all animations are done with the same code with the same set of controls.

New FB Wind Display

A decoder for the FB Wind data allows data to be incorporated into an OpenLayers tool. This shows wind barbs and temperatures for each of the FB Wind locations. Level and forecast time can be changed through the interface.