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David Jones

Director, EIS Center & Senior Principal Oceanographer





Research Interests

Program Management, Operational Meteorology and Oceanography, Sensor Fusion and Integration, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Human Systems Integration (HSI), Metacogniton: Decision Making, Problem Solving and Planning


David Jones is the Director for the Center for Environmental and Information Systems (CEIS) at APL-UW. CEIS pursues a broad area of research and development, but its primary focus is on environmental information, from collection by in situ sensors, to signal processing and statistical analysis, and finally to fusion and visualization in decision support systems.
His own research has been at the intersection between the earth sciences, computer science, and cognitive psychology. The research entails both investigating how people make decisions that are impacted by changes in the physical environment (e.g., winds or ocean currents) and then developing technologies that help people improve their decision-making and operations.
Two current projects are: a) Principal Investigator (PI) for the Glider, Monitoring, Piloting and Communication System, which is human-robot control system for ocean autonomous vehicles — David leads a team that is using a cognitive engineering approach and new web application technologies to develop a user interface and back-end system that allows human pilots to control multiple robotic-like vehicles called ocean gliders; b) Co-PI for the NOAA funded Northwest Regional Coastal Ocean Observing system — leading the team that is developing the information web portal, new visualizations, and data analysis tools.


B.S. Meteorology and Oceanography, S.U.N.Y Maritime College, 1979

M.S. Physical Oceanography, University of Washington, 1989


NVS: NANOOS Visualization System

The NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) is your tool for easy access to data. NVS gathers data across a wide range of assets such as buoys, shore stations, and coastal land-based stations. Never before available downloads and visualizations are provided in a consistent format. You can access plots and data for almost all in-situ assets for the previous 30-day period.

2 Nov 2009

BIS: Boater Information System

The Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington developed a prototype Boater Information System (BIS) to help boaters access the best weather and oceanographic information for Puget Sound waterways. BIS gives sailors, power boaters, kayakers, fishermen, windsurfers, and kite boarders their own web portal tailored to their selected information needs.

1 Jan 2007

NANOOS: Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems

This Pacific Northwest regional association is a partnership of information producers and users allied to manage coastal ocean observing systems for the benefit of stakeholders and the public. NANOOS is creating customized information and tools for Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

1 Jan 2004

More Projects

Environmental Visualization

Meteorologists, oceanographers, computer scientists, and psychologists study the human-to-computer interaction of Navy METOC forecasting, and are developing workflow tools for key decision makers and warfare commanders.



HS:METOC projects seek to improve the forecaster's ability to accurately predict and efficiently convey weather information to decision makers. Researchers study workflow, quantitative mental models, complex visualization, and intelligent agents.


Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI): Statistical and Cognitive Approaches to Visualizing Uncertainty

The initiative will develop methods to evaluate uncertainty of mesoscale meteorological model prediction; improve statistical methods for dealing with uncertainty; understand how forecasters incorporate uncertainty in their forecasts; and develop methods to integrate and visualize multisource information from model output, observations, and expert knowledge.


Glider Monitoring, Piloting, and Communications System

APL-UW is leading a consortium of glider developers in advanced research and development to improve underwater glider systems for environmental characterizations during naval operation. Improvements include a common command control and display/transfer interface for use across all existing glider designs - the GLMPC system.


CEMOS - Cognitive Engineering of MetOc Systems

Meteorologists and oceanographers use their scientific expertise to help computer scientists and software engineers design and build systems for users including the US Navy to carry out missions of national significance. The intersection of Operational MetOc with the cognitive engineering of products which fit users' real needs makes the Cognitive Engineering of MetOc Systems or CEMOS group unique.


University of Washington Probability Forecast

Web-based forecasts are provided in the familiar weather graphics found in newspapers. Probcast adds probability information in ways that are most useful to the general public. For example, most people do not need to know the confidence interval of a temperature forecast, but they may need to know the highest temperature possible for a particular day. Funding for this project was begun by a Department of Defense Multi-University Research Initiative title, "Integration and Visualization of Multi-Source Information for Mesoscale Meteorology: Statistical and Cognitive Approaches to Visualizing Uncertainty."



2000-present and while at APL-UW

Operational glider monitoring, piloting and communications

Mensi, B., R. Rowe, S. Dees, D. Bryant, D. Jones, and R. Carr, "Operational glider monitoring, piloting and communications," Proc., Ocean Engineering Society - IEEE Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, 6-9 October, Oxford, MS (OES-IEEE, 2014).

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6 Oct 2014

The Glider Operations Center (GOC) at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) is responsible for operating a fleet of autonomous unmanned systems, including ocean gliders, in the collection of physical oceanography data. The data collected include ocean temperature, salinity, and optical properties, which are profiled at depth and used by ocean modelers to forecast future environmental ocean conditions. NAVOCEANO then provides these forecasts in near-real time to support strategic, operational, and tactical Navy fleet requirements and activities.

PROBCAST: A web-based portal to mesoscale probabilistic forecasts

Mass, C.F., S. Joslyn, J. Pyle, P. Tewson, T. Gneiting, A. Raftery, J. Baars, J.M. Sloughter, D. Jones, and C. Fraley, "PROBCAST: A web-based portal to mesoscale probabilistic forecasts," Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 90, 1009-1014, 2009.

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1 Jul 2009

This paper describes the University of Washington Probability Forecast (PROBCAST), a Web-based portal to probabilistic weather predictions over the Pacific Northwest. PROBCAST products are derived from the output of a mesoscale ensemble system run at the University of Washington, with the fields being postprocessed using Bayesian model averaging to produce sharp and reliable probabilistic predictions of temperature and precipitation. Based on research by University of Washington psychologists and human-interface specialists, a Web site has been constructed that allows for access to key elements of the probabilistic information produced by the system. The design approach of the PROBCAST system is explained in this paper as well as some of the challenges for future development. PROBCAST is intended to be a prototype for the kind of probabilistic forecast interface that could be used throughout the nation.

Strategies in naturalistic decision making: A cognitive task analysis of naval weather forecasting

Joslyn, S. and D. Jones, "Strategies in naturalistic decision making: A cognitive task analysis of naval weather forecasting," in Naturalistic Decision Making and Macrocognition, edited by J.M.C. Schraagen, L. Militello, T. Ormerod, and R. Lipshitz (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2008).

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1 Jan 2008

The work reported here was undertaken to gain an understanding of the weather forecasting process in a naturalistic setting that involves task switching and moderate time pressure. In the first study, Navy weather forecasters verbalized their thoughts while they completed a standard forecasting task. In the second study, Navy weather forecasters completed a questionnaire after finishing each of 22 forecasts. The studies showed that military forecasting is streamlined; forecasters relied largely on numerical weather prediction models, and problem solving was predominantly rule-based rather than based upon a four-dimensional mental representation of the atmosphere. Strategies suggested an effort to minimize workload in order to adapt to task demands. Despite the need for efficiency, military forecasters appeared to maintain system awareness. All forecasters expressed some understanding of numerical model uncertainty.

More Publications

RCOOS and ocean information tools for decision makers

Jones, D., and S. Maclean, "RCOOS and ocean information tools for decision makers," Proc., MTS/IEEE Oceans 2007 Conference, 1-5 October, Vancouver, B.C., doi:10.1109/OCEANS.2007.4449207 (2007).

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29 Sep 2007

The nascent Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (RCOOS) are expected to provide enhanced awareness of the coastal environment through the deployment of new sensors and the communication of user-driven information products. Successful utilization of RCOOS information will require close interaction with the intended user communities. The planned information systems and decision aids can benefit from Human Factors research. With the adoption of human-centered design principles and the employment of web-based technologies, RCOOS information can be quickly transmitted to those who need it, and visualized in ways that help users make critical decisions. We describe three web- based decision tools that identify the opportunities of this approach.

The effect of probabilistic information on threshold forecasts

Joslyn, S., K. Pak, D. Jones, J. Pyles, and E. Hunt, "The effect of probabilistic information on threshold forecasts," Wea. Forecasting, 22, 804-812, 2007.

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1 Aug 2007

The study reported here asks whether the use of probabilistic information indicating forecast uncertainty improves the quality of deterministic weather decisions. Participants made realistic wind speed forecasts based on historical information in a controlled laboratory setting. They also decided whether it was appropriate to post an advisory for winds greater than 20 kt (10.29 m s-1) during the same time intervals and in the same geographic locations. On half of the forecasts each participant also read a color-coded chart showing the probability of winds greater than 20 kt. Participants had a general tendency to post too many advisories in the low probability situations (0%–10%) and too few advisories in very high probability situations (90%–100%). However, the probability product attenuated these biases. When participants used the probability product, they posted fewer advisories when the probability of high winds was low and they posted more advisories when the probability of high winds was high. The difference was due to the probability product alone because the within-subjects design and counterbalancing of forecast dates ruled out alternative explanations. The data suggest that the probability product improved threshold forecast decisions.

Improved decision making with Boater Information System

Olsonbaker, J., T. Tanner, and D. Jones, "Improved decision making with Boater Information System," Proc., Georgia Basin Puget Sound Research Conference, 26-29 March, Vancouver, B.C. (2007).

26 Mar 2007

Analysis of Human-Computer Interaction in the Expeditionary Warfare Decision Support System (EDSS)

Jones, D.W., M.H. Miller, J.A. Ballas, and J.I. Olsonbaker, "Analysis of Human-Computer Interaction in the Expeditionary Warfare Decision Support System (EDSS)," APL-UW TR 0402, September 2004.

30 Sep 2004

The MURI Uncertainty Monitor (MUM)

Jones, D., and S. Joslyn, "The MURI Uncertainty Monitor (MUM)," Proceedings, 84th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, 11-15 January, Seattle, WA (Boston, AMS, 2004).

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13 Jan 2004

We present a prototype human-computer interface designed to assist military forecasters in the evaluation of uncertainty in numerical model forecasts. We refer to it as the uncertainty monitor. The modern military weather forecaster relies heavily on numerical models to produce their forecasts. The reliability of the information provided by the models is variable, however. Therefore, the forecaster must also consider the amount of uncertainty inherent in the information provided by the models. The steps involved in conducting a thorough evaluation of model uncertainty are time consuming. The forecaster must determine the answers to the following questions: How accurate have the models been over the past few days? How do the model initializations compare to the observational data? How uncertain are the current model predictions? Because military forecasting is often done under time pressure, the amount of uncertainty evaluation that can be done is often limited. In addition, the optimum means to convey this information to the end user is not well understood (Sauter, 2003). Nevertheless, the level of uncertainty in a forecast can be a crucial factor in tactical decisions.

The uncertainty monitor was developed to streamline the process of uncertainty evaluation. This effort is a component of a Department of Defense Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) on statistical and cognitive approaches to visualizing uncertainty in mesoscale meteorology. We began with a cognitive task analysis (CTA) of operational forecasters producing the Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF). The CTA revealed that Navy forecasters are concerned about model uncertainty and have specific techniques for evaluating it. We designed a prototype human-computer interface that, while compatible with their cognitive process, also provides tools and visualizations that speed and enhance the forecasters' ability to rapidly assess model uncertainty. The interface, viewable via a web browser, provides real-time information on global and mesoscale model performance, composite satellite pictures overlaid with model analysis and observational data, and a variety of probabilistic forecast products, which are derived from the University of Washington's Short-Range Ensemble Forecasts (SREF) system.

Human Systems Study on the Use of Meteorology and Oceanography Information in Support of the Naval Air Strike Mission

Jones, D.W., J. Ballas, R.T. Miyamoto, T. Tsui, G. Trafton, and S. Kirschenbaum, "Human Systems Study on the Use of Meteorology and Oceanography Information in Support of the Naval Air Strike Mission," APL-TM 8-02, November 2002.

30 Nov 2002


Networked Environmental Monitoring and Operations for Seaglider

Record of Invention Number: 45453

Robert Carr, David Jones, Beth Kirby, Stuart Maclean


2 Dec 2010

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center