Technology Today

2011 Issue 2

Raytheon Develops uFrame™ System Architecture to Provide Environmental Data Analysis

Raytheon is addressing challenges faced by environmental data producers, scientists and other users attempting to extract knowledge from a vast and rapidly growing volume of environmental information that is available from diverse sources. Raytheon's uFrame (universal framework) service-oriented architecture (SOA) provides a data-agnostic services framework to solve this problem. This framework is capable of ingesting, fusing and displaying a wide array of environmental data. It is the free and open source software services solution derived from AWIPS II software being delivered by Raytheon to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Raytheon's uFrame system architecture is optimized for environmental system applications in several significant ways.

  • It is non-proprietary, depending only on leading open-source software packages.
  • It provides high-performance data services using advanced data serialization techniques to enable gaming-style operator interactions with dynamic data updates.
  • The visualization for situational awareness and decision making is very adaptable and performs geographic information system (GIS) projections of all data faster than any commercial system.
  • Visualization is customizable at the base/site/user level through XML files and scripts that can give users a completely tailored view of the data and concept of operations.
  • It is designed to provide warnings and reports quickly through GIS interactions and automated text generation.
  • It is plug-and-play adaptable to a variety of data types. The NWS AWIPS II implementation has 33 data types from large imagery data streams, text-based reports, point observations, radar data, and large arrays of scientific data from super computer weather forecast models.
  • The implementation has been designed to deal with a large, complex enterprise. The NWS has 20 large national centers, 122 regional centers and many loosely connected field users. The software is customizable from a single set of installers to each of these centers and up to 4,000 individual users.
Figure 1

Figure 1 depicts the current end-to-end uFrame system architecture. Use of Open Geospatial Consortium standards such as Web Map Services, Web Feature Services, Sensor Web Enablement and emerging standards such as Geosynchronization allow uFrame to provide network enabled sensor access and network enabled services for decision makers and C2 systems.

The services framework contains the design pattern and mechanisms to ingest, index, persist and make available all data. Each data type is implemented as a plug-in. The plug-in pattern makes the server plug-and-play adaptable for all data types desired. The server piece can scale from a laptop to a cluster of servers depending on the data volumes. Services in the framework ingest, extract metadata, decode, and save the data to high-performance file storage.

The visualization framework provides user interface services. This component allows the creation of tailored user perspectives, menus, displays and screen interactions based on user required data rendering and data analysis. Web-based clients such as Google Earth™ mapping service or NASA World Wind can be used for situational awareness if detailed data analysis is not required.

Using this framework, Raytheon can rapidly respond to end user needs for new features and capabilities. Prototype data plug-ins have been developed in as little as two days. For Operation Nanook, a complete mission capability set (called mission packs) advanced from engineering concept to fielded capability in 83 business days, demonstrating the responsiveness customers are seeking.

Bob Bowne
Contributors: Tim Raglin, Matt Payne

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