The Volcanic Ash Coordination Tool (VACT), an interactive meteorological workstation, is being developed by the Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) and tested in operational settings in Alaska. VACT will enable remotely located users to simultaneously view and manipulate distributed databases in a common framework for collaborative decision making. An initial build of the system was installed in 2003 at the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), and Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center - Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU). The VACT is an extension of FSL’s FX-Collaborate system. Based on user feedback from the initial delivery, numerous enhancements to the system have occurred such as expanded satellite image displays, custom geographic sector displays, and map backgrounds. Further enhancements include volcanic ash dispersion model output displays and advisory preparation tools. By allowing the VAAC, AVO, and CWSU to simultaneously view identical displays and collaborate in real time, the VACT will help those organizations create fully consistent advisories and forecasts of volcanic ash transport and dispersion. Progress in VACT development and results of evaluation and testing in operational settings will be discussed.
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