Summer 2018 Unidata Interns Wrap Up Their Projects

The Unidata Program Center's two summer student interns — Hailey Johnson from the University of Florida and Jon Thielen from Iowa State University — have come to the end of their summer appointments. After a summer of dedicated work they presented the results of their projects to the UPC staff on August 3, 2018. You can find videos of their presentations to the UPC staff on the Unidata Seminar Series page.

Hailey Johnson

Hailey Johnson
Hailey Johnson

Hailey Johnson came to Unidata for the summer to help improve the usability of the THREDDS Data Server (TDS) web-based user interface. Not only did she provide the TDS with a much-appreciated facelift that makes it easier for end users to nagivate through the interface, she implemented a new templating system to make it easier for TDS administrators to quickly customize the appearance and functionality of their servers.

The new interface is not just a cosmetic improvement; Hailey's work makes it easier for administrators to customize the information that is presented for different types of datasets — or for specific individual datasets — by creating simple text files and placing them in designated directories on the server, with no changes to the TDS code itself. The result is a richer experience of the data than was previously easy to achieve.

Custom TDS templates
Custom TDS headers and footers
(Click to enlarge)

With the new templating system in place, Hailey turned her attention to end-user ease-of-use. Taking advantage of the capability of Siphon to retrieve data from a TDS in a Python environment, she added a feature that automatically generates a Jupyter notebook file that provides a live example of how to retrieve the dataset the user is examining. On the Access tab of each TDS data page, users will find a link to this pre-populated Jupyter notebook file. Clicking the link downloads an .ipynb file; opening the file in a Jupyter notebook server gives the user working example code that can be modified or copied into her own Python programs.

Hailey's new features will be found in TDS version 5.0. You can read her own take on her summer's work in My Summer of Improving the TDS Web Interface over on the Unidata Developers' blog. And for a really in-depth description of all of her improvements to the TDS, spend half an hour watching the video recording of her presentation over on the Seminar Series page. Want to get a look at Hailey's code? Browse over to the THREDDS GitHub repository.

Jon Thielen

Jon Thielen
Jon Thielen

Jon Thielen set out to add some specific features to MetPy over his summer at Unidata. The ability to create cross-sections is an important feature of GEMPAK that had not yet been implemented in MetPy; Jon resolved to get them working during his internship. He also wanted to spend some time working on one of the big goals of the MetPy roadmap — integrating the xarray Python package.

One of Jon's first tasks was to refactor the existing gridding/interpolation code in MetPy. This allowed for the interpolation functionality already in place for gridding irregularly-spaced data to exist alongside other interpolation functions such as vertical interpolation and cross sections. Another prerequisite task was extending MetPy's xarray enhancements to include systematic coordinate identification, starting by parsing the coordinate attributes according to the recommended and optional criteria of the Climate and Forecast (CF) conventions.

Cross section plot
Cross section plot
(click to enlarge)

Jon's new features will be found in MetPy version 0.9. You can read his description of his summer's work in Working on Cross Sections in MetPy with xarray on the Unidata Developers' blog. If you'd like the full description of all of Jon's summer projects, you'll enjoy the recording of Jon's half-hour presentation over on the Seminar Series page. And if you're in tune with MetPy development, you can take a look at Jon's work in the MetPy GitHub repository.

Stay Tuned

The Unidata Summer Internships offer undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to work with Unidata software engineers and scientists on projects drawn from a wide variety of areas in the atmospheric and computational sciences. If you're a student thinking about internships for the summer of 2019, keep Unidata in mind. Unidata's summer internships are generally advertised in early January, so be sure to check back at the beginning of next year. For reference, you can take a look at the Internship page.

We at the Program Center certainly enjoyed having Hailey and Jon working beside us this summer, and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.


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