TPIO Project Spotlight

The NOAA Observing System Integrated Analysis (NOSIA-II) is a capability used to document the relationship between available observing systems and their impact on NOAA’s diverse services and scientific objectives. Understanding the relationship between the cost of available data sources and their impact on mission outcomes is fundamental to informing current and future observing system investments and managing NOAA’s observing system architecture.

Read the main NOSIA article.

NOAA Observing Requirements


TPIO's Requirements and Planning (RAP) team is responsible for the documentation, validation, configuration management and assessment of all NOAA observation requirements. RAP develops and implements processes to:

  • Work with NOAA entities (e.g. Programs, Strategic Objectives, etc) to identify and document, in a standardized, prioritized structure, all of their observational needs required to meet their mission.
  • Apply the verification and validation process to each set of Priority-1 observation requirements for review and endorsement by the NOAA Observing Systems Council (NOSC)
  • Accomplish updates to observational requirements as directed by Program Managers/Strategic Objective Leads on both an as-needed and periodic review basis. Work with TPIO's Observation System Architecture (OSA) component to assess the level of observation requirements satisfaction, identify both core observing systems and gaps in capabilities.
  • Facilitate documentation of US Group on Earth Observation (USGEO) and other US government agency observation needs to assess common requirements and identify observing capabilities needed to address multi-agency missions.

Documentation of Requirements

TPIO works closely with NOAA program leaders and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to document observing requirements in an extensive database called the Consolidated Observing User Requirement List (COURL). TPIO follows a standard template when documenting requirements. This template includes the priority of each requirement based on its importance to the group.s mission:

  • Mission Critical (Priority-1)
  • Mission Optimal (Priority-2) and
  • Mission Enhancing (Priority-3)

Specific attributes for each requirement are then documented. These include geographic coverage, horizontal resolution, vertical resolution, measurement accuracy, sampling interval, data latency and long-term stability. The database also allows program leaders to weight each of the attributes to indicate level of importance in meeting their mission. In mid-2010 NOAA implemented a new Strategy, Execution and Evaluation (SEE) process to update the previous Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES). Within the new SEE structure new "Objectives" are aligned with NOAA Goal areas versus previous PPBES "Programs". TPIO will be working in early 2011 to map all current COURL requirements to the SEE Objective structure.

Verification and Validation of Requirements

Once documented, each requirement is mapped to their associated Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and NOAA and Regional Collaboration (RC) performance measures by program leaders and membership. The requirement list and attributes are then verified by the program leaders and subject matter experts (SMEs), who provide their consensus by signing a Program Observation Requirement Document (PORD). The PORD summarizes the program.s requirements and performance measure mapping. The signatures of the program leader and SMEs on the PORD constitute Verification of their observing requirements.

Once requirements are verified, each NOAA program provides documentation to support validation of each Priority-1 requirement and its specified attributes values. Validation is important as it provides independent confirmation of the needs of the program either through the results of scientific studies, operational use, or subject matter experts. Both the program leadership and TPIO assess the applicability of the documents, prepare a summary of the validation of Priority-1 requirements, and present the summary to the NOAA Observing Systems Council (NOSC) for their endorsement of the validation process. If the NOSC endorses the validation process, the program and Goal leaders and NOSC co-chairs sign the PORD. The signatures of the NOSC co-chairs on the PORD constitute endorsement of the validation process conducted on the program.s set of observing requirements.

The validated requirements can then be the basis for justification and gap analysis of NOAA observing systems satisfying those requirements.

You may view and download any validated PORD (NOAA login required) from our web site in the form of an Adobe pdf file.

Requesting Observing Requirements Information - Requirements Listings and Assessments

TPIO is able to provide a variety of summaries of NOAA observing requirements, to include summaries by program or summaries by observation type (precipitation rate, land cover, sea surface temperature, etc.) Summaries can be provided in a variety of formats, to include Excel, Adobe PDF, or MS Word.

Submit a request for Observing Requirements data (NOAA login required).

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