Professors and students from the departments of Computer Science and Earth Sciences at Millersville University are using Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) as the platform for an application to let students explore meteorological data in three dimensions.
The application, known as the Geosciences Probe Of Discovery, or Geopod, uses the IDV's "Flythrough" facility to give the experience of navigating through 3D meteorological data sets as if in an airplane. Users fly through the data as if playing a video game, using mouse and keyboard to control position or allowing an autopilot to follow a preselected trajectory. The Geopod developers used the IDV's extensibility features to create custom displays of meteorological data on the screen, allowing users to quickly note parameters of interest. A particle imaging display lets users view ice crystal formations, and a virtual dropsonde device lets them create a vertical profile at any location.
Teaching features are tightly integrated into the Geopod application. Teachers can create "missions" for students to undertake, exploring a dataset to learn about specific features. Missions can include background material and multiple objectives, as well as an assessment or 'quiz' for students to take after completing the mission. Students can create notes within the application, and mark specific locations of interest.
For more on the Geopod project, visit the Geopod site.