To facilitate the interaction between weather forecasters, researchers, and software developers, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) developed the Aurinko Collaboratory adjacent to the forecast operations area in Dynamicum.
The Collaboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment and a video-network system to allow images from any of the eight computers within the room to be displayed on the four video monitors and one projector. Furthermore, the room can accommodate up to 8 additional internet and video connections for those bringing their own laptops. The computers are a combination of Windows and Linux systems that connect to the operational data stream at FMI, as well as experimental data coming from outside FMI.
Operational meteorological display systems like FMI's SmartMet are installed on all the workstations. Such a system allows collaborative and interactive discussions among people at the workstations in the room or between different videoconferenced facilities around Finland and the world. A table centrally placed within the Collaboratory converts from a standard flat conference table to an interactive computer laboratory when three monitors emerge from the table.
Uses of the Collaboratory include:
- Interactive training and educational activities
- Testing new or experimental software in a real-time forecasting environment
- Display and development of the next-generation forecast system at FMI (SISU)
- Real-time display of data from the Kumpula dual-polarimetric radar built by Vaisala
- Control room for simulations or actual events of severe weather and the release of hazardous or radioactive materials
- Videoconferencing of daily forecast discussions across Finland
- Control room for the Helsinki Testbed and LAPS mesoscale analysis
- Showcase for the transition of research to operations
- Interactive weather discussions
- Display of real-time weather data for social interaction and coffee breaks
- Collaborative research projects between research and operations
The Collaboratory is designed with four characteristics in mind to ensure its utility and longevity at FMI.
- Flexibility is the key to the room. Given the large number of possible uses listed above, the Collaboratory requires flexible furniture and layout, including the ability to display any image on the five displays to all people within the room.
- Modern workstations and software to display weather data and forecasts are installed in the Collaboratory. Some of the software is experimental at FMI or from other countries, allowing users to see the strengths and weaknesses of other systems to facilitate the development of FMI's next-generation forecast products.
- The room is designed to be inviting, so that people feel welcome visiting the room for social or networking functions.
- Finally, the Collaboratory is designed to be comfortable with the inclusion of 15 ergonometric chairs and two large couches surrounding the workspace.
For more information, please contact Mikko Rauhala, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The room can accommodate about 15-20 people, depending on its function.