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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Friday, February 8, 2002
Contact: Ron Zeitz
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 2-02

DOT's National DGPS Improves Local Weather Forecasts for Olympic Events

A global positioning site that is now operating is providing advance information on weather patterns and will help Olympics officials prepare for adverse weather. The system was installed as a result of a cooperative agreement between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"These sensors are used in conjunction with the GPS to help accurately predict weather patterns for the Olympics and represent the same technology used by state highway departments to accurately position their snow removing equipment," FHWA Administrator Mary Peters said. "This technology represents another method of making our nations roads safer, especially during adverse weather conditions."

The site is part of the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS), a further refinement of the Standard Positioning Service, which provides positioning information for civilian hikers, boaters, users on in-vehicle positioning devices and other users. Across the nation, DGPS sites are constantly monitoring signals from Global Positioning System satellites to help transportation users navigate safely.

The NDGPS measures the total amount of precipitation in the atmosphere with very high accuracy under all weather conditions. Other methods of measurement of water vapor cannot function accurately during severe weather conditions, a condition experienced frequently in the greater Salt Lake City area because of lake-effect snowstorms from the Great Salt Lake. Data obtained from the NDGPS site in Myton, Utah is being sent to the National Weather Service Forecast Systems Laboratory to enable highly accurate weather forecasts for the Olympics.

The NDGPS network also can be used for other tasks. For example, transportation planners can conduct surveys more efficiently as well as accurately map environmentally sensitive areas near construction sites. Transit systems can use the system for real-time vehicle tracking as can police fire and ambulance coordinators to quickly dispatch emergency vehicles where they are needed. In addition, NDGPS can be used to pinpoint fire hydrant locations and other infrastructure components in spite of inclement weather or obstructions.


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