AWIPS Tips: Understanding Graphic vs Image Products in CAVE

AWIPS Tips

Welcome back to AWIPS Tips! Today we’re going to talk about a nuanced topic regarding data in CAVE. Normally, when we talk about data, we tend to categorize it by the data type – ie. model (grib), satellite, observation, etc. Today we’re going to look at data from a different perspective and try to elaborate on the difference between graphic and image products. While normally it does not make much of a difference, it can be useful to realize what type of product you’re working with when you want to “style” or configure the loaded data.

Graphic Products

Graphic products are those containing plotted data. The plots can consist of contours, other lines, points, shapes, or other symbols. These data can also have text displayed in the product as well. Some examples of graphic products are:

Surface Observations (Temperature)

Screenshot of surface temperature observation in CAVE

Surface Winds

Screenshot of surface winds in CAVE

Contour Model Data (MSLP)

Screenshot of surface winds in CAVE

Image Products

Image products are more closely related to a “picture” of data. They are more accurately described as a continuous field of data that is colorized by its values. While image products don’t have the same attributes as graphics products, they do have additional display properties that can be manipulated. Some examples of image products are:

Satellite Imagery (GOES)

Screenshot of GOES CH9 in CAVE

Model Data Image (Surface Temperature)

Screenshot of surface temperature as an image in CAVE

MRMS RALA (Reflectivity at Lowest Altitude)

Screenshot of MRMS reflectivity in CAVE

NOTE: Some of the image products may have the word "Img" in their extended resource name, like both the above MRMS and Model examples.

Loading Methods

One other thing to note, many of the resources are available as both! You can use the Product Browser to load a resource as an image or a graphic product:

Screencast of loading as an image and graphic resource from the Product Browser

Finally, some products will allow you to reload them as the other display type if they’re already loaded. You can do this by accessing their resource menu:

Screencast of loading an image from a loaded product in the resource menu

It might take a while to become more familiar with the various graphic and image products available through CAVE’s data menus. The distinction becomes most important when trying to stylize the data, and understanding the limitations between working with the two types of visual products.

We hope you enjoy it! Check back in two weeks for the next blog post, where we'll learn about the different types of products in CAVE.

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 support-awips@unidata.ucar.edu

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