North Slope Decision Support System: Technological Aspects
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Ice roads and ice pads provide a cost-effective means of oil and gas exploration on Alaska's North Slope with minimal impact to the sensitive underlying tundra. Consequently, such ice structures have become integral to oil and gas exploration. Their widespread use represents a challenge to water resource managers, however, due to the large volume of water necessary to construct and maintain them. As the proximity of available fresh water sources has a significant impact on the planned location of ice roads and ice pads, changes in water resource management strategies could significantly impact oil and gas exploration activities. This paper will describe the technological aspects of the North Slope Decision Support System (NSDSS) a project currently underway to develop a water resources management solution in support of oil and gas exploration on the North Slope. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the NSDSS will consist of an information system, software tools for decisions support, and methodologies for facilitating stakeholder involvement in the decision making process. Envisioned as a framework for general water resources planning on the North Slope, the NSDSS will not only apply to the water management issues considered here, but will also be applicable to broader environmental management issues and industry development applications. The NSDSS will consist of 1) a service oriented architecture (SOA) based cyberinfrastructure composed of a node-link network of federated databases at Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Barrow Alaska, 2) a desktop-based workbench tool, which is an extension to ESRI's ArcMap software, and 3) a virtual globe-based web browser tool. The cyberinfrastructure will contain databases of GIS data, time series of meteorological and hydrological data at points and as gridded products, and papers describing scientific findings relevant to the North Slope. Using the workbench, users will be able to assess the impact of proposed management alternatives vis-à-vis important stakeholder criteria by simulating the implemented alternative in an integrated model of the physical systems on the North Slope (hydrologic, meteorological, ecological, etc). The web browser will provide an intuitive view of the North Slope, the data available, and indeed the data gaps to be filled. © 2010 ASCE.
author list (cited authors)
Bourne, S. F., Haleblian, J., Tidwell, A. C., & Brumbelow, K.