Unidata Users Committee Meeting Summary

10-11 April 2008
Boulder , Colorado


Members Attending

Gary Lackmann, North Carolina State Univ, Chair
Sean Arms, Univ of Oklahoma
Eugene Cordero, San Jose State Univ
Elen Cutrim, Western Michigan Univ
Bill Gallus, Iowa State Univ
Chris Herbster, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Univ
(via conference call)
Anton Kruger, Univ of Iowa
Mark Laufersweiler, Univ of Oklahoma (DeSouza Award recipient)
Leigh Orf, Central Michigan Univ
Scott Rochette, Suny College at Brockport
Technical Rep:
Tom Whittaker, SSEC - Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

UPC Staff Attending
Tom Baltzer
Ben Domenico
Tina Campbell
John Caron
Ethan Davis
Ben Domenico
Steve Emmerson
Ginger Emery
Jo Hansen
Dennis Heimbigner
Yuan Ho
Robb Kambic

Brian Kelly
Jeff McWhirter
Terry Mitchell
Linda Miller
Don Murray
Jennifer Oxelson
Mohan Ramamurthy
Russ Rew
Jeff Weber
Anne Wilson
Tom Yoksas

Please Note:  Proposed Fall Meeting - 9-10 October 2008

Resolutions and Actions

Presentation links at end of summary.

Thursday, 9 April 2008

Meeting Agenda 9-10 April 2008

Review of Action Items- 4-5 October 2007

Discussion: Touching base with teaching faculty is important. We need to update the list of contacts to include faculty as contacts are made.

Administrative Items:

Policy Committee Report - Lackmann

There were five people who were unable to attend the Policy Committee meeting. Jeff de La Beaujardiere, the NASA representative, has resigned from the committee, because is now at NOAA. Jeff was responsible for getting Unidata integrated into NASA, so this is a significant loss to the committee.

Following the SuomiNet video, Chris Rocken described the COSMIC data and provided a background of the program in a presentation. Presently six satellites orbit the earth and transfer data to three ground-based stations. The data benefit members of the meteorology, climate, ionosphere, and geodesy communities. Both research and education communities derive benefit from them.

Cliff Jacobs, NSF, discussed the budget and the search for a new Director of GEO at NSF. There is strong support for climate change science at NSF.

Diversity - (Excerpt from Policy Committee meeting summary) - The wrap-up portion focused on diversity: primarily what steps should be initiated to achieve it. There were a couple of specific suggestions: 1) A Unidata representative at a diversity workshop to be held the last week of March in Boulder; 2) the deliberate inclusion of an MSI representative on the Users Committee.

A second question was Unidata's role in the inclusion of community colleges in its community. Because this is a multi-faceted complex topic, the discussion was tabled until a future meeting. However, there has been considerable e-mail dialog amongst committee members subsequent to the Policy Committee meeting.

PolComm Resolutions

The resolutions were approved by e-mail vote immediately following the meeting.

  1. The Policy Committee recommends that the Program Center continue to facilitate climate data services development.
  2. The Policy Committee encourages the Program Center to explore the feasibility of delivering real-time air quality data to the community.

Policy Committee Action Items relevant to Users Committee

  1. The Policy Committee recommends that the Unidata Users Committee explore the possibility of adding an NCAR representative to its membership which could be ex-officio. (There was discussion that ex-officio makes the appointment less attractive; however, Policy Committee agency reps, and observers are ex-officio, non-voting. The issue remains unresolved.)
  2. The Policy Committee requests that the Users Committee determine which of the available EPA data should be distributed using Unidata technology.

Discussion: A discussion about adding an NCAR rep to the Users Committee took place without resolution. There were various considerations:

The Users Committee is not familiar with all EPA data and wanted additional information.

The Users Committee could solicit information from various people about the air quality data. Possible contacts mentioned were Sean's advisor at OU, Perry Samson, Univ of Michigan, Jennie Moody, Univ of Virginia, John Merrill, Univ of Rhode Island. Anton might be able to obtain additional information from Rudy Husar, Washington Univ and a member of the Policy Committee.

Director's Report - Ramamurthy

Highlights included:

Mohan provided a brief summary from the 2013 proposal, "A Transformative Community Facility for the Atmospheric and Related Sciences," submitted to NSF this week. There is an emphasis on climate, ensemble modeling, case studies, promoting diversity, along with supporting the core atmospheric community. The six focus areas are:

Dave Fulker received the AMS Cleveland Abbe Award and UCAR Office of Programs presented him the Director Emeritus title. Dave is the first Director Emeritus in the UOP.

Dennis Heimbigner was hired as netCDF developer. No replacement yet for Steve Chiswell.

NOAA recently announced that GOES-R Level II and Level II+ products will be made available in NetCDF4 format.

There are now 467 LDM hosts and 241 unique network domains. New technologies will augment the LDM for the future to deal with the terabytes of data from satellites, radars, etc.

The IDV has enjoyed continued growth to 200 institutions. The IDV now reads GEMPAK grids and implements many of its grid diagnostics.

AWIPS II is a reality with migration from NAWIPS to AWIPS II to the NCEP Centers. It was a unilateral decision by NWS to make the transition. Unidata can no longer leverage what several developers have done at NCEP. According to NCEP and NWS, NAWIPS will have no further development beyond Aug 2008. Unidata developers have signed an Non-Disclosure Agreement to gain access to the AWIPS II code and will be monitoring the project very carefully. The licensing issue (open source) will also be tracked. Unidata will stand behind the final version of GEMPAK out of NCEP until its functionality is available in other packages.

COSMIC (radio occultation data) is now flowing to 9 universities via LDM. They signed up for the data after Unidata announced making the data available to the community. There are over 1500 data points per day.

USPLN data will be in the offing very soon. Users Committee member, Chris Herbster, Embry Riddle, has spearheaded this effort.

There were only four proposals for the Equipment Awards this spring. We're still mystified over the lack of response to the call for proposals.

See Mohan's presentation for additional information.

Status Reports:

Community Services
Equipment Awards
IDV Development
IDV Steering Committee Report
Next Generation Case Studies

International Activities
Web Development
NEXRAD-Hydrology ITR Project
Support by Project


GEMPAK-Unidata conducted a national search to replace Steve Chiswell and was unable to find a replacement at this time. Don Murray, Tom Yoksas and Jeff Weber have been sharing the support load. We are hoping that knowledgable users on the GEMBUD mailing list will help with  support until we fill the position. How can we best encourage the community to provide help with support? As mentioned earlier, Unidata is tracking the NAWIPS and AWIPS-II activities very closely. GARP, the GUI for GEMPAK, has not been developed or revised for years, and now GEMPAK development will cease in August 2008.

GEMPAK (NAWIPS) is used at the NCEP national centers, but the Centers are transitioning to AWIPS-II. This will take time, but it is inevitable. NCEP is evolving to a Java-based development shop to develop and support AWIPS-II. It is prudent for Unidata evaluate AWIPS-II for use by the community. AWIPS-II will have GIS integration. The question of GEMPAK becoming community supported was raised, but no resolution was made.

IDV-Now reads GEMPAK grids. There is no student representative for the IDV steering committee yet. GEMPAK researchers would like the functionalities from GEMPAK in the IDV. Don Murray provided a strawman list of capabilities to be added to the IDV, and solicited additional help from the Users Committee to add more. The Users Committee will edit the list of desired functionalities and provide additional information to Unidata IDV developers for consideration. The information will be posted to Google.docs.

IDD-LDM-The next generation LDM is being designed to accommodate new things that the UPC would like to take advantage of. If the community could make reasonable suggestions for changing or improviding the LDM, it would be appreciated.

Data suggestions included TDWR and additional mesonet datasets. Mesonet data is available through MADIS (Patty Miller) at NOAA/GSD. LDM is used for MADIS data distribution, if desired. Chris Herbster will follow up on TDWR data access. The UPC could follow up with NCAR/RAL to explore feasibility of TDWR data, if desired. NOTAMs is another data set that Chris Herbster suggested.

LEAD-No Phase II funding is available to continue LEAD. The next inception could be going in a different direction. NSF seems to be struggling with ITR and cyberinfrastructure efforts into the future. The major hit in the budget this year did not help. Many new projects are on hold. The Indiana group is working to shrink wrap the LEAD system from the Teragrid to "LEAD in a box", funded by Microsoft. If the effort is successful, the Unidata community might be interested. Microsoft will be a .net service. There are many new players at NSF now, and many people are leaving, including several vacancies.

Web Development-Unidata community members can contribute to developer blogs. Jen is working with UserComm members to get the final workshop 2006 information posted from presenters, including Web pages, demos, etc.

Next Generation Case Studies-No more funding from the UOP-STORM funds. The effort is alive and is described in the 5-year funding proposal. RAMADDA and the case studies, along with the THREDDS Data Repository will leverage on each other.

THREDDS server should server all data sets in IDV. There is no way to easily query and subset satellite, upper air, profiler and point data on THREDDS servers so the IDV still uses ADDE for access to those datasets. Wants to have the data on a disk and not have to have all data in IDV. Want to be able to point someplace to get the data and bring what is needed into the computer.

NEXRAD project-Anton: there is no mechanism for additional funding at this time. The situation is similar to the one described above regarding LEAD. They have talked with the Bureau of Land Management for funding, but at this time, there's no additional funding.

GALEON-Ben reminded the committee of the work with NCAR GIS and CUAHSI GIS with Unidata. Proposal was put together and NSF wants to broaden it to include NEON, etc. A Fall workshop hosted by Olga Wilhelmi will be held to discuss climate and weather and ecology for needs and tools. Elen indicated that she is working some people regarding connecting with the communities too.

DeSouza Award Winner WebCast Presentation-Mark Laufersweiler, OU

This was the first time that the DeSouza winner joined the Users Committee in Boulder to receive the DeSouza Award and to make a presentation on his or her use of Unidata data, tools, software, and services.

For additional information, see the Unidata Seminars.

Site Contact Reports:

Some members were unsuccessful contacting the sites. Generally, from the sites contacted, concerns were expressed about GEMPAK support. They are happy with netCDF. The LDM is used for many projects, including one in Antarctica. Concern was also expressed about possible changes in LDM. Many sites are using LDM, netCDF, GEMPAK, GARP, and some are beginning to check out IDV. IDV seems useful for the future of Unidata working with GIS environments. Suggestions made that the IDV GUI should be 3-4 clicks to pull up everything needed for running the application, similar to a search engine. Question of crashes and performance continues to be discussed. End proc for cross-sections would be a good feature. It was pointed out that the IDV can be used with GIS data.

Workshop Planning 2009

Some unfinished actions items from the 2006 workshop exist. These will be completed during the next six months. (see action items)

For the 2009 workshop, Elen suggested having more focus and having an in depth workshop topic. Field campaign studies was discussed, along with satellite data workshop and overarching umbrella of observations, but the topic selected by the committee was, "Observations: Remote sensing, in-situ, and field project data in the classroom." Dates will be checked for Center Green availability, and in depth planning will take place at the October Users Committee Meeting.

DataPedia and THREDDS-Arms

Sean Arms gave presentations on Datapedia and THREDDS server using free BSD. This ties into the concept of Web 2.0 ideas.


Dr. Louis Uccellini, NCEP Director, sent an email to Gary Lackmann, in response to Gary's community email, about the lack of attendance at the CONDUIT meeting during the AMS, 2008 in New Orleans. Only two university people showed up for the meeting. Dr. Uccellini has worked with Unidata for over 10 years to distribute high resolution model data to the university community using LDM technologies.


Though there are 120 sites reporting statistics, the recipients are not very actively involved in providing input on types of model data to be included in the CONDUIT feed. CONDUIT could be used with climate data to serve a new community of climatologists. A sub-committee was formed to research CONDUIT data stream issues.

Case Study Archive Using THREDDS-Leigh Orf

Leigh Orf provided an excellent presentation on creating a case study archive using THREDDS. He and Max Baxter worked on this together. They wanted to experiment with serving up the data using THREDDS. The presentation provides all of the steps followed, and some of the problems they encountered as they worked through the process.


RAMADDA (Repository for Archiving, Managing and Accessing Diverse DAta) is a new activity at the UPC. The goal of this project is to provide an open and extensible data repository framework/server.

RAMADDA work builds on and advances the prior efforts on the Thredds Data Repository (TDR). The TDR's was on providing data upload and management facilities for the Thredds Data Server (TDS).

NCAR/EOL is vetting RAMADDA for field work. The code is considered alpha, but it would be great to have the Users Committee members use it and comment.


A Unidata Web page will be created and the Web site will provide the WSI conditions of use. These are very similar to the current conditions for the NLDN. An educommunity email will be sent to provide information on the data set. There will also be an E-letter article written about the new data availability. The plan is for Chris Herbster to administer the data set from Embry Riddle.

REMINDER! There will be a Regional Workshop at Plymouth State Univ-18-20 May 2008. Brendon Hoch is the contact.


Mohan Ramamurthy, Director, Unidata Report
Mark Laufersweiler, DeSouza Award Presentation
Sean Arms, DataPedia
Leigh Orf, THREDDS
Jeff McWhirter, RAMADDA


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