AWIPS Tips: Frames in CAVE


Welcome back to AWIPS Tips!

This week we’re going to take a quick look at one of the basic, but important, features of CAVE. Almost all of the data available in CAVE is time-based, and to deal with this, CAVE has a concept of “frames’. Each frame is usually similar data from a different time (ie. 10 minutes ago, 5 minutes ago, now), but in some special cases (for models and radar data) it can show slightly different, but related data.

When you load data from the menus, you end up loading the default number of frames associated with that menu item. This number can be different for different products. The current and total number of frames are displayed at the bottom of CAVE in the following format:

[current frame]/[total frames loaded]

Let’s take a look at some examples.

We can load some GOES satellite data by using the satellite menu:

CAVE satellite menu selecting GOES Mid-level Water Vapor

Once the data loads, we can see the total number of frames, at the bottom of the CAVE window:

Default frame count for GOES Mid-level Water Vapor

The satellite data loaded with 12 frames by default.
Now let’s take a look at some model data:

CAVE model menu selecting GFS Surface Temperature and Wind

Looking at the bottom of the window we can see this data loaded with 45 frames:

Default frame count for GFS Surface Temperature and Wind

This is because, as mentioned before, some menu items have different default number of frames. Each menu item is associated with a bundle file, and these files can be edited to change their default behavior if desired.

If we clear all the data, and take a look at the frame count option at the top of CAVE, we can sometimes override what’s in the bundle loaded from the menu item.
For example, if we change the frame count to 25:

Selecting 25 frames from the CAVE frame count option

And then load the same satellite data as before, we can see it now loaded 25 frames, instead of 12:

Frame count for GOES Mid-level Water Vapor after setting frame count to 25

As we said before, the bottom of the screen shows the current frame and the total loaded frames. So, we are currently on the 25th of 25 frames – meaning we’re looking at the latest, or most recent, data. We can “scroll” through our frames by using the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard.

Scrolling through loaded frames to see the data through time

Notice the timestamp in the lower right hand corner in the resource stack also changes with the frames, enabling you to see the frames are indeed “stepping through time”, and allowing you to know where you are in the loaded data.

Thanks for joining us to learn about frames in CAVE! Check back in two weeks for our next blog post, highlighting Texas A&M and their use of CAVE in the classroom.

To view archived blogs, visit the AWIPS Tips blog tag, and get notified of the latest updates from the AWIPS team by signing up for the AWIPS mailing list. Questions or suggestions for the team on future topics? Let us know at

This blog was posted in reference to v18.2.1-6 of NSF Unidata AWIPS


Is there a good github or other forum for sharing bundles among the public?

Posted by Rob Dale on January 13, 2023 at 09:54 AM MST #

Hi Rob, We do have repos on github for AWIPS. Our main repo is here: We've never had a request to have user-shared bundles before. But, maybe if you provided us with some, we could figure out a good place to add them. Did you have a specific place in mind? Thanks! --Shay

Posted by Shay Carter on January 30, 2023 at 03:41 PM MST #

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