Unidata Policy Committee

23-24 May 2011

North Carolina State University


Members UPC Staff
Steven Businger, Chair, Univ of Hawaii Ethan Davis
Brian Colle, Stony Brook Univ Ben Domenico
Kevin Kloesel, Univ of Oklahoma Ginger Emery
Anton Kruger, Univ of Iowa Linda Miller
Gary Lackmann, North Carolina State Univ Terry Mitchell
Kersten Lehnert, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory-Columbia Univ Russ Rew

Jim Steenburgh, Univ of Utah
David Tarboton, Utah State Univ


Agency Representatives UOP/NCAR Representatives
Bernard Grant, (NSF/ATM) Mohan Ramamurthy, UOP/Unidata
Leroy Spayd, (NOAA/NWS)  
Committee Representative  
Tom Whittaker (Users Committee Chair)  

Acronym List

Presentations from the May 2011 meeting

Action Items

Administrative Matters: Businger

  • The draft agenda was adopted
  • The summary was approved
  • Next meeting will be joint with the Users Committee. The suggested date is 27-28 October for the Policy Committee and 26-27 October for the Users Committee
  • Action Items were reviewed with the following comments:
    • Action 1:  Brian Colle will provide a paragraph about the archived model needs for the NOMADS server at NCDC.  Ben Domenico will convey Policy Committee wishes/concerns regarding archived model forecast data. [Brian indicated that NCDC has a plan for archiving and it will be implemented].
    • It was suggested that we check on the implementation timing of FIM and HRRR with GSD and/or NCEP
    • UPC needs to add HRRR, FIM, NIM, GSD, ESRL to the acronym list and we should review the list for additional acronyms that are missing

Tom Whittaker provided a report from the Unidata Users Committee. Some salient points include:

  • Many students are using web products, rather than analyzing data using Unidata tools
  • UserComm members should connect with community members via a "buddy" system - the idea is to work with the same individuals more than one time to report the progress
  • Suggestion of establishing forums was made. The UPC tried a forum a few years ago, but they were not used. Perhaps the new web site would be more conducive to activity
    • It was suggested that generating content and populating the forum is a good idea to stimulate use of the forum
  • Need to continue exploring the relevance of Unidata tools for the community
  • There are plenty of "weather geek" apps that are being created in the community
  • Want to have transparency with THREDDS and IDV development and plans
  • Nominations for both Policy Committee and Users Committee representatives will be issued in June 2011

Director's Report - Mohan Ramamurthy

Some important points:

  • 2009 triennial workshop article will appear in April 2011 BAMS
  • global lightning data now available via WSI
  • lightning data visualization with IDV and McIDAS X
  • no more support for GARP
  • ongoing development of IDV, including ensemble visualization
  • Don Murray continues to make additions to IDV (Hovmoller diagram)
  • RAMADDA has moved to SourceForge
  • AWIPS II continues to progress with improved data ingest, decoding using the LDM, NSHARP functionality
  • NOAAPort Ingest package is being used by ~17 sites; 7 sites are serving as ingest point for NP data
  • NetCDF has the largest download stats for a one-year period (April 2010-March 2011
  • Unidata's new web site is easier to use with many new functions (Jennifer Oxelson received an incentive award for her work)
  • 8 equipment awards were funded this year.
  • Unidata took part in the student conference and the AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle
    • Stefan Cecelski, student rep to UserComm, worked with us at the booth
  • Training Workshops are scheduled for July 2011

There was a question of the cost of doing business which is about 3%. To what extent does writing proposals impact development time. The success rate for proposals has been quite good.

NSF Report - Bernard Grant

Several topics were covered by Bernard Grant:

  • There is still no operating plan for FY11. UPC was lucky to have gotten their budget last year.
  • Work is being done on a new mission statement for AGU (Atmospheric and Geospace Science), formerly ATM. The community is involved in the process, but progress moves slowly
  • NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center is ahead of schedule. It should be completed by July 2012, if not before
  • Personnel changes at NSF
  • CaMRA-Creating a more disaster Resilient America
  • See the report for additional projects and information.

Budget Summary - Terry Mitchell

  • Terry provided a budget briefing for the committee. The following hot link provides a summary of the budget.

NOAA/NWS Report - Leroy Spayd

  • NOAA continues to plan for the Climate Services for FY12
  • NWS is trying to get wind turbine data freely available. It is currently proprietary.
  • MADIS is run out of NWSTG (GSD is running the MADIS archives)
  • June 28 Forum on Wireless Weather Services, in conjunction with the Partner's Meeting
    • Trying to determine NWS role
    • Question of NDFD data availability for wireless apps
    • Zone forecast translator seems to be the issue
  • Combining ensembles is important
  • Greg Mandt is looking for methods to get the data out
  • NEXGEN and 4D cube is 5-7 years out

Tour of NCSU Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Science Lab - Gary Lackmann

The lab is very well equipped with new computers. The Department has 250 undergraduates and 100 grad students.

Photo 1 (shows Gary at the front of the lab) Photo 2 (shows some members of the Policy Committee and the new computers)

Mid-course Planning - Mohan

The mid-course discussion and review was introduced by Mohan. He discussed the topic of accomplishments and remaining challenges. Short presentations were given by Linda, Ben, Russ and Ethan. (see presentations link) The reaction to Ben's presentation on Data Interactive Documents was very positive and a great deal of discussion followed. It is the perfect time to begin discussing future endeavors for the UPC as we explore ideas for the strategic plan. The next NSF proposal will be due in mid- 2013 and will cover another 5-year period.

Discussion evolved around the presentation by Ben. Several PolComm members indicated that it is time for a change like this. They suggested that UPC should delve into browser based analysis and display and explore what it would take to move in this direction. Many questions about archiving were mentioned. This idea will be discussed at the strategic planning meeting. A Policy Committee member and a Users Committee member will attend Unidata's strategic planning session on 8 June in Boulder. Since the PolComm meeting, Ben has posted a draft white paper with additional details. (Jim Steenburg and Kevin Tyle will attend the 8 June meeting)

Survey Review - Tom Whittaker

Tom led a discussion of the survey results. It was felt that the survey was the right length and that surveys should be conducted on more frequent intervals. The UPC will think about the survey and determine what questions to ask and who will be responding for the next survey. With the proposal coming up, there might be questions we would like to pose prior to the proposal.

CUAHSI collaboration - David Tarboton

CUAHSI is a Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. The Hydrologic Information System is a system that is based on the Internet to share hydro data. There are many collaborators involved in the CUAHSI project, similar to Unidata.

Are there ways to better collaborate?

  • Data challenges exist for both CUAHSI and Unidata
  • Data discovery and integration
  • Data publication
  • Metadata services
  • Search services
  • OGC Web service standards
  • Web Map Service

See presentation for additional information.

Strategic Planning Exercise - Mohan

Unidata is looking at developing an "actionable" Strategic Plan with a road to success. Points discussed by the committee will be shared at the October joint meeting of the Users Committee and the Policy Committee.

Some remarks mentioned by the committee were:

  • Question of who is the audience?
  • What actions are really on the table?
  • NSF has new thrust on CI - should Unidata be part of it?
  • Need to spend time on frontiers
  • Need a different mission statement that would lend itself to "end-to-end service system to enhance what services are needed
  • Unidata is transforming itself - how to work with broader community and how to contribute advancing tools education and research
  • Ben and David indicated high volume data in the cloud - create visualizations from the cloud to the 64 bit desktop (render it on the desktop)
  • It's a struggle using 12km NAM today - advances could really help out - Google Earth has provided a way to visualize down to one meter - powerful interface (it's an image) not analysis
  • Google has over 1 million servers worldwide
  • Search issue is coming up frequently
  • Whether it's a browser or an app, need to think about user interface
  • UPC's strength is what's under the hood - integrating of the underpinnings (CI) people with expertise - need to leverage cloud computing advances

Triennial 2012 workshop - Tom Whittaker

Tom asked for themes for the 2012 workshop. He also suggested a Policy Committee representative be involved in the workshop from the planning to attending the workshop. A poster session was recommended for the next workshop. That helps people who need to present to enable them to attend to be able to do so. We want to attract researchers to the workshop, as well as educators and students.

Action 1: Discussion of triennial workshop during the joint committee meeting in October 2011.

Action 2: UPC should reestablish the orientation for new committee members.

Action 3: Re-post the white paper created by Russ Rew about "Branding" and consider an article in IOS or some publication about Unidata. Here is the slightly revised white paper (6/9/2011).

Action 4: Publish another article on the Web about acknowledging Unidata in publications

Action 5: Policy Committee will provide input for the new Strategic Plan.

Linda Miller
Community Services - Unidata
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
303 497-8646 fax: 303 497-8690