Monitoring atmospheric composition & climate

The USER INTERFACE is essential and central to the entire link with users in MACC-II.  This includes:

  • the understanding of user requirements and the coordination of user involvement in service specification and evaluation;
  • the definition, creation and serving of metadata compliant to European standards enabling interoperability of MACC-II services;
  • the coordination of project communications;
  • the coordination of training activities.

The overall goal of the USER INTERFACE sub-project (INT) is accordingly to ensure for the entire MACC-II project the best possible us of its products by its users (downstream services and direct end users).

The user interaction tasks continue seamlessly from the MACC O-INT sub-project (work-package 1 "user interaction"). User intercation will be strengthned by pro-active communication with downstream services or user groups (actively iterating their requirements with them through bi-lateral contracts of the USER INTERFACE team together with the respective sub-project leader).  In addition, the coordination of harmonized metadata and the provision of standard compliant web services will be facilitated within the INT sub-project.  As specified in the call and in the final report of the Implementation Group these Data and Product Services will comprise user interfaces for global and for regional MACC-II products.  As a further new element, project communication using the web portal and direct response (a Communications Officer from month 4) to user queries will be steablished.  Project training activities will be coordinated under USER INTERFACE to assure it is tied to user needs.

The USER INTERFACE coordinates the integrated user feedback and Service Level Afreements as well as  metadata services for the entire MACC-II project.  However, each MACC-II service will also actively cooerate with its specific users on both scientific-technical contents and interface gained within the predecessor atmospheric core service preparation project MACC and the ESA GMES Service Element project PROMOTE.

In more detail the USER INTERFACE has the objective to:

  • facilitate understanding of the requirements of users, both end users and inermediate users such as providers of downstream services and other Copernicus core services and translate these user requirements into specifications for the core service lines and the supporting upstream processing, product delivery and web facilities;
  • organise user feedback loops (at the service level via Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and at the project level via a User Advisory Board);
  • coordinate all SLAs and other similar agreements in MACC-II and maintain standardized SLA templates for the different types of MACC-II services and users;
  • coordinate and provide technical up-to-date interface mechanisms for the MACC-II metadata, including metadata services, web services to assure interoperability with relevant standards (WIS, ISO 19115, INSPIRE, OGC);
  • coordinate the MACC-II web portal and capacities to respond to user queries, through the Comminications Officer;
  • coordinate training based on user feedback and user demand including dedicated training sessions at project assemblies, ECMWF training courses or appropraite external meetings such as EIONET workshops, eTraining and a dedicated MACC-II summer school.

To acheive these objectives, USER INTERFACE has been structured into four work packages.  These work packages and their interaction are represented graphically in Figure 14.


Figure 14 Graphical presentation of the user interface sub-project

Each work package is broken down into a number of tasks:

WP141 INT: User interaction

INT 1.1 Documentation of core user requirements

INT 1.2 Coordination of user feedback

INT 1.3 Coordination of Service Level Agreements

INT 1.4 Support to the documentation of service specifications

WP142 INT: Technical metadata interface

INT 2.1 Metadata interface for global products

INT 2.2 Metadata interface(s) for regional products

WP143 INT: Project communication

INT 3.1 Coordination of project web portal

INT 3.2 MACC-II helpdesk: coordinated response to user queries

INT 3.3 MACC-II external representation

WP144 INT: Project training

INT 4.1 Organisation of dedicated training sessions

INT 4.2 Provision of eTraining material on the project website

INT 4.3 MACC-II summer school

WP141 INT: User interaction

In WP141, user requirements will be gathered and translated, and user feedback to MACC-II's core service-line providers will be coordinated.  Additionally, the realationships between service providers and users will be formalised via development of SLAs or similar agreements (Lols, MoUs).

INT 1.1 Documentation of requirements for core services

Within the task technical and administrative, and web access and usability, requirements of all types of user for the service lines provided by MACC-II will be considered and then be translated into specific requirements for each MACC-II service line.  MACC-II will continue this iterative process from the final edition of documentation on user requirements from MACC and conduct two further iterations of this analysis.  Clarification of user requirements and user needs will be extended by pro-active interaction with selected downstream services or user groups (in collaboration with respective service leaders).  As it is expected taht the user base will constantly be growing, these periodic refinements continue to be essential.  A specific effort will be made to get the MACC test-case partners who do not continue as MACC-II partners into the MACC-II user federation.

INT 1.2: Coordination of user feedback

The user community at large will be engaged explicitly through the activities of the USER INTERFACE sub-project.  This will build on the strong user-engagement in the PROMOTE and MACC projects.  User-enagement will be facilitated by specific workshops and meetings, from queries or comments on services, which may be submitted to a uer-feedback page on the MACC-II website or made directly to project personnel.  A User Advisory Board will be established with representatives of the key user communities.  This UAB will act as an integrated voice of users to help hamonize the various user needs.

INT 1.3: Coordination of Service Level Agreements

The handling of SLAs or other appropriate agreements (memoranda of understanding, letter exchange) which have evolved as major mechanisms for ensuring a formulaised feedback loop between services and their users will be continued from MACC.  SLAs are set up to ensure that service evolution is tied to users' specific requirements.  A typical SLA summarises the agreed service delivery in terms of product specification including quality assurance, delivery volume including period and region covered, and delivery frequency for near-real time and forecast products. For the selection of the appropraite test users and the iteration of the specific SLA conditions (to be filled into the template SLA conditions and framework) dedicated effort will be provided by each repsoctive leader of a MACC-II service line.  The related work effort is included in the effort reported for the production sub-projects.

INT 1.4: Support to the documentation of service specifications

The USER INTERFACE team will support the documentation of MACC-II services and products by providing regular updates of user requirements and based on any relevant user feedback.  To ensure that there is a standardised means for users and others outside MACC-II to understand what services and products are available from the project, including all technical details, complete technical specifications of products, algorithms, data inputs and service delivery will be assembled and periodically updated in work-package MAN.3 for each service and made available online.

WP142 INT: Technical metadata interface

In WP142, the technical metatdata interfaces for global European products will be coordinated and implemented, operated and improved in collaboration with the other sub-projects.  For the service delivery in MACC-II data delivery will be kept as close as possible to the production, i.e. normally it will be at the node of the individual service and be organised as part of the respective sub-project, including simple access interfaces (ftp, html graphical interfaces) linked from the central MACC-II web portal and using a coordinated design for high-level presentation.  Metadata definitions will be harmonised throughout the entire MACC-II project to comply with applicable standards.  The coordination of this metadata harmonization within MACC-II will be the responsibility of the USER INTERFACE sub-project, whereas metadata provision will be defined for each service.  In addition, up-to-date web services (OGC-compatible standard interfaces relying on http/https access to individual data files combined with seperate metadata files) for selected MACC-II products will be provided through USER INTERFACE.

INT 2.1: Metadata interface for global products

This task will define in INT 2.2 the metadata for MACC-II global products and provide the complete metadata services (creation and catalogue) for the global products of MACC-II including FIR and EMI services.  The Majorgoal of this activity is to assure compliance with the WIS standards.  A specific element in this will be the coordination with GRG on the boundary value service for reactive gases.

INT 2.2: Metadata interface for European products

This task will develop, operate and improve metadata service for European MACC-II products.  This will facilitate a user's access to metadata (and through them the datasets) enabling interoperable services.  The main work involved in this task will be the definition, creation and services for metadata.  For each service USER INTERFACE will define specifically the sharing of tasks.  The work will rely on the metadata definitions and software to automatically extract dynamical metadata from data files which are developed within the downstream project PASODOBLE for air quality.  In order to ease data access for users not aquainted with meteorologigal data formats, ongoing developments for standard conforming web services (OGC compatible services) will be adapted for easy use of MACC-II products in a user's own GIS environment.  This planned development responds to the repeatedly expressed user demand form harmonised data access (e.g. within PROMOTE this was a key feedback, that different data access mechanisms for different services using for example simple ftp protocol could mean a barrier for data utilization).

WP143 INT: Project communication

In WP143 project communication will be conducted to assure appropraite response to queries and denamds raised from the various user communities and external representation of MACC-II.

Task INT 3.1: Review and improvement of user communication

In coordination with the user-requirement activities of WP141, including its use of questionnaires, the types and user-friendliness of channels of communication will be kept under review.  Conclusions will be drawn on how to improve user interfaces, not only would the web portal, query handling and external representation coveredd by tasks INT 3.2, INT 3.3 and INT 3.4, but also the metadata interfaces (WP142) and training activities (WP144) of the INT sub-project, and (via MAN activities) the overall dissemination tasks distributed among many of the sub-projects of MACC-II.

INT 3.2: Web portal

This task will coordinate the MACC-II web portal, which is maintained by the GDA sub-project, and includes links to be de-centralised services provided by several partners of MACC-II.

INT 3.3: Response to user queries

In this task a user helpdesk which will collect all online user queries and distribute response tasks among service leaders (for service specific issues) and project communication staff (for technical and general issues) nearest to respond to the topic raised.  Follow-up of action in response to user queries will be coordinated and monitored.  Depending on the outcome some user queries will be coordinated and monitored.  Depending on the outcome some user queries may feedback into user requirements and service specifications (collected through INT.1 and implemented by the respective MACC-II service sub-projects), metadata services (INT.2 and sub-projects) or the web portal (INT.3).  Depending on the number and nature of the queries and responses, a FAQ page may be set up on the project website and project documentation may be revised.

INT 3.4: External representation

In order to meet the growing demand to represent the MACC-II project at external meetings, e.g. orgabnised by the EC or by national Copernicus forums, a specific task is added.

WP144 INT: Training

INT 4.1: Organisation of dedicated training sessions

Training activities in MACC-II will aim at focussed provision of training based on user queries and feedback under coordination of the Project Communications Officer and with support of relevant sub-project leaders.  Appropriate opportunities such as project assemblies, ECMWF training courses or related external meetings of relevant user groups will be utilized.

INT 4.2: Provision of eTraining material on the project website

eTraining material will be developed under coordination of ECMWF with material providedby the sub-project and work-package leaders, and made available on the MACC-II website.

INT 4.3: MACC-II summer school

A dedicated MACC-II summer school will be organised and held in September 2013: the goal of the summer school is to provide lectures on scientific issues investigated in MACC-II to young scientists, i.e. PhD students and post-docs, MACC-II partners and users, as well as to policymakers.  Demonstrations of MACC-II products, databases and websites will also be given during the school.