Skip Navigation Links 
NOAA logo-Select to go to the NOAA homepage National Weather Service      Select to go to the NWS homepage
Vitual Lab (VLab) banner

Contact us

Virtual Lab


The VLab is comprised of two main components:

  1. Virtual Lab Collaboration Services (VLCS)
  2. Virtual Lab Development Services (VLDS)


The Virtual Laboratory (VLab) is a service and IT framework, being built out by OST and lead by MDL/DAB, which enables NOAA employees and their partners to share ideas, collaborate, engage in software development, and conduct applied research. The VLab will enable NOAA to:

  • Reduce the time and cost of transitions of NWS field innovations to enterprise operations,
  • Minimize redundancy and leverage complementary, yet physically separated, skillsets,
  • Forge scientific and technical solutions based on a broad, diverse consensus, and
  • Promote an NWS culture based on collaboration and trust


The VLab operates under the following set of guiding principles:

  • Transparency - The VLab and its staff are open and transparent in all communications and decision-making
  • Teamwork - The VLab and its staff facilitate and support collaborative teamwork
  • Flexibility - The VLab and its staff adapt to different and/or changing user needs
  • Responsiveness - The VLab and its staff respond quickly to user needs
  • Accountability - The VLab and its staff are accountable to its users through meaningful metrics


The VLab is built upon a set of 5 foundational capabilities (Figure 1) which are conceived to promote innovation across NWS through communication, collaboration, and the application of the skills and expertise of NOAA employees. The first phase of the VLab promotes science sharing within the NWS and provides an Innovation Collaboration Framework which provides support and services to facilitate the transition of innovation projects to NOAA operational systems. The second phase of the VLab will provide the other three foundational capabilities; 1) subject matter experts cadre, 2) adjunct science and software development team, and innovation project database.

Virtual Laboratory Capabilities

The VLCS is built upon an open source Java portal framework. The VLCS enables NOAA users to share and contribute science and participate in dynamic communities. The VLCS provides tools for collaborating such as document libraries, WIKI's, message boards, blogs, announcements, dynamic forms with workflow, content management system (CMS), and a robust roles and permissions framework. The VLCS is also the gateway to the VLDS. The VLDS provides projects with web based services to manage their projects through issue tracking, source control, code review, and continuous integration.

In the future the VLCS will include portlets that will allow users to "Share their projects" and "Share their expertise". This sharing will increase visibility and transparency of projects and users' expertise promoting collaboration.

VLab Demonstration Recordings:

WCM and SCH Community Demonstration Video (99 Mb Windows Media File) and VLab Introductary Slides (188 KB PowerPoint File) used during Steve Smith's part of the demonstration. 12/16/2013 Kenneth Sperow

VLab Forum

The VLab hosts a monthly forum to discuss topics relevant to collaboration and the development and conduct of applied research. To learn more about the forum and view past presentations, visit the VLab Forum Page.


SCAN | FFMP | SAFESEAS | Fog Monitor | GUARDIAN | FSI | Rip Current | SNOW
Autonowcaster | VLab

    US Dept of Commerce
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    National Weather Service
    Meteorological Development Laboratory
    1325 East West Highway
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    Page Author:
    Page last Modified: December 05, 2014.
Information Quality
Privacy Policy
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
About Us
Career Opportunities