Unidata User Support
October 12, 2007
Unidata User Support Inquiry Metrics
Above are histograms that portray the number of Unidata email
responses for individual topics of support for a one year period
ending July 2, 2007. The histograms are arranged by yearly
activity averages with the highest on the left and lowest on the
right. Each quarter year within the period is depicted from oldest to
newest from left to right. The number of responses has been normalized
to weekly averages so that the support load over the various periods
can be easily compared.
Total support averaged 137 responses/week over the entire year; 119 for
the first quarter; 139 for the second quarter; 173 for the third
quarter; and 116 for the current quarter.
Some tentative conclusions:
- The LEAD numbers are an underestimate of its
activity since few LEAD email transactions go through
User Support (but the numbers continue to increase).
- Support numbers for individual packages, groups, and lists can be seen in
full support statistics.
- The total support provided by the UPC remains high, and yearly totals
have been steady for the past two years. Overall support
activities vary by somewhat by quarter. Spikes in support for
individual packages is largely correlated with the release
of new distributions, and, for the IDV in particular, jumps after
- Support required for the legacy visualization packages GEMPAK and McIDAS
continues to be substantial. Even though GEMPAK is the most
widely distributed analysis application, the IDV support
load exceeds that for GEMPAK.
- Support required for LDM, IDD, and data continues at a high level
and shows some variability throughout the year.
- Support for netCDF remains substantial, but is considered modest
given the large number of users of the package worldwide.
- The overall higher numbers for outreach reflect inclusion of more
categories of support/outreach provided by Linda and the
high level of activity in organizing a special session for
the AGU Spring 2007 Joint Assembly that was held in
on 22-25 May and similar sessions that will be
held at the AGU Fall meeting in December.
- Taken as a whole, the support required for visualization packages
(GEMPAK, IDV, and McIDAS) is reasonably comparable to the support
related to data reception (LDM, IDD, noaaport).
- Support for any package increases after a new version of the package is
These numbers and conclusions should not be taken too literally, for
by Tom Yoksas
- For some packages, multiple responses in the same thread may be
bundled into a single archived email. Other packages have each
response in a thread counted separately.
- After a new release of software, there may be a flurry of the same
or similar questions, which can be answered in separate emails or in
a single mailing list posting.
- The graph primarily represents support of end users and site
administrators, not developers. Support for non-Unidata developers in
projects such as THREDDS, IDV, GEMPAK, and McIDAS requires
significant resources, but is difficult to assess.
- Not all support records were indexable for this report. Given this,
the above numbers are an underestimate of the
actual support being provided by the UPC.