Unidata Users Committee Meeting Summary

October 4-5, 2007
Boulder , Colorado



UPC Staff

Gary Lackmann, North Carolina State Univ, Chair
Sean Arms, Univ of Oklahoma -remote
Elen Cutrim, Western Michigan Univ
Bill Gallus, Iowa State Univ
Chris Herbster, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Univ
Leigh Orf, Central Michigan Univ
Scott Rochette, Suny College at Brockport
Tom Whittaker, SSEC - Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

Tom Baltzer
Tina Campbell
Steve Chiswell
Ethan Davis
Ben Domenico
Steve Emmerson
Ginger Emery
Jo Hansen
Yuan Ho
Linda Miller
Terry Mitchell
Jeff McWhirter
Don Murray
Jennifer Oxelson
Mohan Ramamurthy
Russ Rew
Jeff Weber
Anne Wilson
Tom Yoksas


Please Note:  Proposed Spring Meeting-10-11 April 2008

Meeting Agenda http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/committees/usercom/2007OctMtg/agenda.10.07.html

Action Items from 17-18 May 2007 Meeting  http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/committees/usercom/action.0507.html

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Administrative Items:

Outstanding action items were covered with the following results:

ACTION 1 : an E-letter item describing THREDDS Data Servers (TDS) and THREDDS Data Repository (TDR) will be written by Sean Arms, as soon as he is able to populate the TDS and has the chance to learn more about the TDR.

Another regional workshop is being planned at Plymouth State, May 2008.  This workshop was an element of an equipment award-winning proposal from Brendon Hoch.  The regional workshop will focus on IDV training.  The question of broadening the focus of the workshops to include other Unidata tools and software was discussed.  It is reasonable to ask if regional workshop hosts would like other tools included, but the hosting site should make the final decision.

Policy Committee Report - Lackmann

The next Policy Committee meeting will take place 29-30 October 2007.  AWIPS2 was discussed with focus on the incompatibility between AWIPS and the NCEP centers.  AWIPS2 is supposed to represent a unified package of open source software to be used at the national centers, as well as forecast offices. The Unidata Proposal to the NSF is due during the Feb-Mar 2008 timeframe. Some discussion during the Polcomm meeting was a Windows based LDM lite, along with integration of climate data. Break out sessions were convened focusing on the six strategic plan areas. The Unidata COSMIC data survey was an action item from the Policy Committee. The discussion is summarized below.


Comments about the use of AWIPS in the classrooms rendered the following comments:

Director's Report – Ramamurthy

Some highlights taken from the report:

The data flow statistics now indicate that Unidata is serving 450 hosts in 238 unique domains running LDM.  TIGGE data volume is 12-13 GB/hr with bursts to 23 GB/hr—10 operational centers worldwide will be contributing to the TIGGE archive.

Unidata has been working to make COSMIC data available to the community using LDM technology.  The survey results were positive toward distributing the data via LDM

Mohan and Linda attended meetings about a NOAAPORT backup.   The NWS requested a white paper that was submitted, and a response was recently received from the NWS. Additional discussions need to take place.  The CRAFT/Level II project could be a poster child for working together to make other datasets available.  CONDUIT is a perfect example of collaboration that continues to work. 

Unidata will coordinate a meeting with NWS and NCEP at the AMS Annual Meeting in New Orleans to discuss CONDUIT and data distribution.

IDV is experiencing steady growth (approximately 100 sites who have used the IDV during the last month)  with new capabilities (charting, data saved into bundle, experimental remote level II data chooser).  The IDV for developers workshop in August attracted 14 attendees.

GEMPAK continues to grow with 1735 unique users.  NWS/NCEP is migrating NAWIPS  to AWIPS2 with a Service Oriented Architecture.  Unidata is working with NCEP and NWS to meet the challenges of GEMPAK and AWIPS2. 

McIDAS-X usage is decreasing, i.e., 2004 there were 104 downloads, 60 downloads in 2005, and 50 downloads in 2006.

NetCDF4 provides full backward compatibility and allows users to read and write HDF files with the NetCDF API.—38 people participated in the netCDF training workshop.  Shanna Shaye Forbes, SOARS student, created a new C++ API.

Training workshops-75 people attended which included several international participants.

A Regional Workshop was held at University of Oklahoma with 25 participants with the focus of IDV and additional presentations on THREDDS and LEAD.

Community Equipment Awards - Funding of six equipment awards were granted with the focus of broadening participation and entraining users in IDV.  Per Users Committee recommendation, we followed up on the idea of expanding the budget base to other NSF Directorates to cover the equipment awards funding.  This will take some time, but we will continue working through ATM to expand to other Directorates.

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Interoperability Workshop in September, organized by Ben Domenico, was well attended by 63 people.  It was one day out of a five-day workshop that included GALEON (Geo-interface for Air, Land, Earth, Oceans Netcdf)  and GEOSS sessions.   

AGU and EGU - Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) programs are now sanctioned at AGU and EGU. 

LEAD - 10 universities used the LEAD system to make WRF model runs available in preparing forecasts for the Weather Challenge and NOAA Hazardous Weather Test Bed. LEAD PIs met with NSF principals to discuss LEAD's future beyond the current 5-year proposal period.

Status Reports

Community Services
Equipment Awards
IDV Development
Next Generation Case Studies
International Activities
Web Development
NEXRAD-Hydrology ITR Project
Support by Project

Discussion points from Status Reports:

Student Survey and Site Contact Reports - Sean Arms conducted a student survey with a total 127 respondents. The issue of how to deal with the input was raised. Sean will be considering that for the next meeting. There is a need to evaluate the results and determine what’s next. It was suggested that we establish a Student Section in E-letter to provide information on how students are using Unidata technologies. This could be done in the form of setting up a forum for students or a student email list. Online training for freshman and sophomores was discussed, but Unidata developers already provide tutorials on line for training workshop. Perhaps a "Tips of the Week" for each package could be considered. Another idea was selecting a " region of interest" to learn by example. No definite action item was determined.

Site Contacts -Some committee members did not make their contacts, or are still waiting to gather input. Each member will use the Google.docs to add information gleaned from the personal site contact.

Workshop Forum discussion - how can we reinvigorate the Forum discussions from the 2006 workshop?
Should we try to get BAMS to publish the data? Perhaps thinking beyond the scope of the theme of the workshop?

ACTION 2 : Committee members need to mention the Workshop Forum when making site contacts. This will help to faciliate interaction and discussion among Forum participants.
ACTION 3: Gary Lackmann will contact John Snow regarding the point-counterpoint article for BAMS.
ACTION 4: Please provide a graphic, description, etc for the summer 2006 workshop publication in the Forum.
ACTION 5: Committee members divided the names of workshop presenters to get presentations and data used during the 2006 summer workshop. A thumbnail picture to go along with the data would be beneficial. Addition of tutorials and/or lesson plans would be useful.


FaceBook - Sean Arms

Sean provided a remote presentation about FaceBook. It is a thought provoking framework that is flexible and easy to use.  Some comments included:

ACTION 6:  Sean can provide a demo using FaceBook as a scientific demo, and UserComm should get an account.

Regional Workshop Discussion - all

The workshop was hosted by the University of Oklahoma with 25 participants. The workshop focused on IDV training, with a short presentation by Don Murray of THREDDS, and a Unidata community seminar provided by Mohan. Should there be some promotion of other tools, i.e. LDM, GEMPAK, THREDDS? The regional workshops have appeal because the students do not have to pay to come to Boulder for the Users training workshop. Suggestion of entraining the workshop participants to present what they have used and what they are doing with Unidata tools for future workshops. Brendon Hoch, Plymouth State, is going to host a spring regional workshop.

Strategic Plan and input to Proposal - all


LEAD - Ramamurthy, Baltzer and Wilson

Questions of problems with LEAD runs.  Previously the runs were about 50% successful. There’s a strong partnership with TeraGrid, and TeraGrid is going to make its part more robust.

Proposal Development-cont

There are several challenges that should be addressed in the proposal:


This development needs to be monitored closely by the UPC. Depending on schedules, AWIPS2 will impact us in some way during the next proposal period. We may need to make course corrections during the period. The question of the type of open source license by Raytheon remains unanswered. We must track this carefully. We need to leverage off of NWS changes for any transition to AWIPS2. Questions such as porting GEMPAK to Java need to be answered. There was a discussion of a potential letter to NWS regarding the open source license.

ACTION 7: Find out if a decision has been made regarding the open source license. If not, draft a letter to NOAA/NWS legal counsel requesting the LGPL or similar licensing be provided for AWIPS2.

Graphical Representation of Data and Tools - Jeff Weber

Jeff presented the new graphical representation of data and tools available on the Unidata web site. Kudos were given to Jeff for providing this information in such a user friendly way. Several committee members indicated that it would be very useful for explaining the data and tools to students.

Case Study Demo and Discussion - Jeff Weber and Mohan Ramamurthy

Jeff and Mohan led the discussion of the next generation case study project. This project will deliver a new generation case study that incorporates learning modules from COMET and other external sources, and a full suite of atmospheric data delivered via THREDDS catalogs utilizing OPeNDAP and ADDE server technologies and visualized in the Unidata IDV. The project was funded through the UCAR/UOP STORM funds. It combined the efforts of collaborators at UNC-Charlotte. The committee was enthusiastic about the demo, and indicated that it has great potential. The Users Committee can be beta testers by late October or early November. They recommended that it become one of the goals for the five-year proposal.


Access Data Workshop - Domenico - April 2008 – if people on the UserComm would like to be involved, the meeting will be in Portland. It is a follow on to DLESE Data Services Workshops. Unidata is hosting the 2008 workshop with the focus on undergraduate education. Contact is Ben-there is a planning meeting in October.

A catalog which would point to other catalogs or other resources for real time data and other discovery metadata will be beneficial. Data Discovery is important, and digital libraries are supposed to solve the problem. The question of what Unidata can realistically do still remains an unknown.

Model data catalog-clearing house for current model runs-ADDE/MotherLode

Suggestion to Users Comittee-Provide a list of suggested reviewers for the Unidata proposal, especially in the Climate area- Mark Chandler and Ruby DeLeung would be good, because of their summer workshop involvement.

NWS-NOAAPORT issue- CONDUIT— send an email to the CONDUIT community

ACTION 8:  Sean will create datapedia entry for WikiPedia

ACTION 9: Move forward toward distribution of COSMIC data via LDM.

ACTION Items from this meeting (October 4-5, 2007).

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