Unidata Users Committee Meeting Summary

10-11 April 2006
Boulder , Colorado


Members UPC Staff
Jim Steenburgh, Univ. of Utah, Chair Tom Baltzer
Elen Cutrim, Western Michigan Univ. Steve Chiswell
Chris Herbster, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Univ Ethan Davis
Kevin Knupp, Univ of Alabama, Huntsville Ben Domenico
Anton Kruger, Univ. of Iowa Emily Doremire
Gary Lackmann, North Carolina State Univ. Steve Emmerson
Leigh Orf, Central Michigan Univ Joanne Graham
Michael Voss, San Jose State Univ Jo Hansen
Steven Ackerman, Policy Committee Representative Linda Miller
Tom Whittaker, SSEC - Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Don Murray
  Jennifer Oxelson
  Sandra Petrie
  Mohan Ramamurthy
  Russ Rew
  Jeff Weber
  Tom Yoksas

Please Note: Proposed Meeting Date: 2-3 October 2006 changed to 25-26 September 2006

Monday, 10 April


Meeting Agenda

Review of Action Items from October 2005 Meeting

Director's Report-Mohan Ramamurthy

Highlights include:

  • 350 hosts in 192 network domains are running LDM-6. IDD average has increased to 5.5 GB/hr.
  • IDV selected as visualization tool for T-REX Field Project
  • LDM-6 was selected for data collection activities in the THORPEX
    Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE).
    • During the testing, the LDM was demonstrated to be able to relay over 17 GB/hr in a a single
      datastream originating at the ECMWF and being received at NCAR/SCD.
  • TDS/WCS interface for NAM and WCS interface for EPA air quality data
  • 2006 UsersWorkshop-10-14 July 2006
  • THORPEX-TIGGE-LDM use for data distribution
  • STORM funds case study underway
  • Unidata Assessment to include survey, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, evaluation of Unidata software development, and case studies to determine Unidata's transformative impact on the community
    • survey is aligned with NSF goals of people, tools and ideas
  • Community services and outreach include AGU, AMS, cyberinfrastructure/informatics meetings
  • Equipment Awards Review Panel taking place 11-12 April 2006
  • Unidata Vision for 2013 - "Unidata will be a premier developer and provider of cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences..... "
  • Community Broadening - natural "organic" growth
  • Service oriented architecture
  • Web services
  • Seamless access of data and sharing from anywhere


Arden Bement, NSF Director, created a special Office of CyberInfrastructure (OCI) due to its importance to the future. Dan Atkins, University of Michigan, will become head of the OCI office in the fall for a term of three years. Bement recognizes CI as key to NSF's future.

Broadening to different disciplines can be resource intensive. Collaboration and sharing of resources can help, but there is a need to be careful that everybody gains in that scenario. An example of Web services is CUAHSI pulling the NAM from a subset region over the watershed. The Web services approach can help community colleges. Community colleges are big users of GIS.

Unidata Status Reports


  • Unidata's online newsletter is evolving and the number of readers is increasing.
  • When possible, the staff should visit nearby university departments when on travel
  • Dr. Brian Etherton, UNC-Charlotte is working on the STORM grant case study effort with Joanne Graham and Jeff Weber. Progress will be revisited at the fall meeting
  • Linda made a request for topics of interest for Unidata Seminar series topics.

ACTION 1: Online newsletter status will be discussed at the October meeting. The Users Committee should review the last few months of online newsletters and be prepared to discuss how to better engage the community in Unidata and how we might improve our relations with the community.

Report on the Task Force on the Future of Unidata Analysis and Visualization - Russ Rew

A task force on the Future of Unidata Analysis and Visualization report was written by the group and was presented to the Users Committee for their input. This was in response to an action item from the Unidata Policy Committee. Salient points include:

  • The IDV was not meant to replace all other packages.
  • GEMPAK is very popular among its constituents, and McIDAS still has its place.
    • NCEP develops the decoders for GEMPAK. IDV and McIDAS both use ADDE.
  • Redirecting resources to IDV does not make sense.

IDV - support is cutting into development time; the user guide updates are instrumental but time consuming

  • User forums will be implemented this summer to stimulate more user interaction and support


Unidata and EOL are collaborating to facilitate IDV development by EOL developers in support of field projects. If IDV is adopted by the Virtual Operations Center (VOC), the EOL developers will conduct development for the IDV application. A framework is being created to facilitate forums for use by developers and support of IDV. Consideration should be given on how to have a collection of bundles available for use by the community, including creating an area for contributions of bundles from the community. This could help to encourage use of the IDV.

The visualization document was reviewed carefully by the Users Committee with suggestions for two amendments. Russ Rew incorporated the amendments which were discussed the next day. All were accepted and the report is ready for submission to the Unidata Policy Committee.

RESOLUTION to Policy Committee:

The Users Committee supports the recommendation of the Report of the Task Force on the Future of Unidata Analysis and Visualization Applications to continue to maintain a suite of analysis and visualization packages to meet the needs of the community. To accelerate IDV development we recommend that the Unidata Program Center aggressively seek external funds and examine options to streamline IDV support and increase programmer development time.

ACTION 2: The Users Committee will examine how to better engage the community in IDV development, support, and use at the fall meeting, including how to best provide input to the UPC to determine the future development trajectory of the IDV.

Data Service Issues

Discussion of data issues and a data matrix that was put together by Jeff Weber. There were suggestions on providing additional information on the matrix. Eventually, the table will be posted for use by the community. It will contain information on Unidata applications, data access, data formats, decoders, etc.

Chris Herbster discussed the USPLN lightning network. Chris will provide additional information for the community on the provision of the data at a later date. This service will be a point-to-point distribution using the LDM, similar to the ACARS distribution. There will be certain requirements for access of the data, but that will be covered in the information provided by Chris Herbster.

Unidata Assessment Progress - Dr. Sarah Nelson, Nelson Consulting

A short presentation was provided on the status of the Unidata assessment. The community survey will be sent by Nelson Consulting this week. Focus groups will be convened during lunch at the Users Workshop in July, staff software interviews will be conducted during in May, and case studies will be developed during August. The final report is due during December 2006.

Committee Phone Calls to Community Members

Phone calls were summarized by members of the Users Committee. Members will probably call some of the people that have been called in the past to follow up with them.

ACTION 3: Users Committee members will have phone conversations with two Unidata sites prior to the next meeting. Members may contacts sites that they have surveyed in the past or new sites if desired.  During the phone calls, members should inquire to find out who the best technical and academic contact individuals are, if the institution is aware of IDV, and what their plans are for using IDV in the future. What does the Unidata community want and need?

Workshop Planning and Coordination - Gary Lackmann, Chris Herbster - all

The summer triennial workshop titled, Expanding the Use of Models as Educational Tools in the Atmospheric & Related Sciences, is scheduled for 10-14 July 2006. Updates to the document will continue to be provided, so be sure to keep tracking the site. The workshop has several great speakers and many labs will be provided. Student opportunities will be available for workshop support and participation. The Users Committee will:

  • help get the word out to colleagues and students
  • finalize the workshop schedule
  • finalize panelists participants
  • create an outgoing survey
  • volunteer for facilitating and recording sessions
  • more....

Additional information will be exchanged among the planning committee and Users Committee as progress is made.

ACTION 4: Usercomm members will promote the 2006 Summer Workshop throughout the Unidata community.

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