Unidata Users Committee Meeting Summary

6-7 April 2009
Boulder , Colorado


Members Attending

Gary Lackmann, North Carolina State Univ, Chair
Sean Arms, Univ of Oklahoma
Brian Etherton, UNC-Charlotte
Bill Gallus, Iowa State Univ
Brendon Hoch, Plymouth State Univ
Larry Oolman, Univ of Wyoming
Scott Rochette, Suny College at Brockport
Technical Rep:
Tom Whittaker, SSEC - Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

UPC Staff Attending

Tina Campbell
John Caron
Ethan Davis
Ben Domenico
Steve Emmerson
Ginger Emery
Jo Hansen
Michael James
Yuan Ho
Robb Kambic

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


Acronym List

Monday, 6 April 2009

Meeting Agenda
Meeting Action Items

Administrative Items:

PolComm report-Gary and Mohan

It has been suggested by Rudy Husar, who sits on the Unidata Policy Committee, that EPA data be made available to the Unidata community.  This is air quality data. Unidata has unsuccessfully tried to access the data in the past.  Rudy has recommended that we hold off on real time data distribution of air quality data.  AirNow data is available via WebServices.  Collection of the data is done on a daily basis.  The committee is unsure about the interest in various departments in the community. Within the Green River project–people do not want to release data until it’s validated.  EPA is an enforcement entity, so the culture has been not to release the data. It was suggested that a poll of the community be done to gauge the level of interest and then to go back to EPA to see if any progress can be made.  If we had more evidence of need, it could add more strength to the argument for providing the data to the community.

Action 1: Conduct a poll of the community to gauge level of interest in real time air quality products. (Gary Lackmann will coordinate with Rudy Husar)

Mike Bevis gave a presentation about the synergy between geodesy and meteorology during the last Policy Committee meeting.
Eric Barron gave a talk- on perspectives of collaborations Mohan commented that subsequent to that meeting NCAR is developing its strategic plan.  Nearly done with first draft—Eric has been breaking up imperatives and frontiers—must versus like to do.
3rd category-fabric area-guiding principles and values-who we are-strategic plan should be available to community very soon.

Director’s report - Mohan

Unidata participated in the UOP's open house, where each program provides information and refreshments to the UOP participants about their program. Unidata had about 60 people show up for the event.

Planning has been underway since the last UserComm meeting for the 2009 triennial users workshop. Coordination with the sub-committee and several Unidata staff has worked well. The workshop information is available from the home page.

The DeSouza Award was presented to Elen Cutrim for dedication, enthusiasm, and inspiration that truly reflect the goals and ideals of the Unidata program. Elen has been a member of the Unidata Users Committee since 2003, and has been actively engaged in the Unidata triennial workshops.  Elen has been an inspiration and a source of strength for her colleagues on the Users Committee, as well as the Unidata staff, always projecting her enthusiasm, radiant smile, unrivaled optimism, and incredible kindness.

Other information includes:

Check the Director's report for additional information.


The question of the value of status reports was raised and a suggestion of creating a "CliffsNotes version" (a quick glance) was mentioned. An idea of posting the question of what's new with a focus of where we're going might be useful. This is a change to be considered by the UPC.

Status Reports

Following is a synthesis of comments made during the discussion of the status reports:

Action 2: Request to add early hours of NDFD on CONDUIT feed, as well as the individual members of the SREF ensemble. (Tom Yoksas will coordinate)

New resources are available via RAMADDA and we would like to see the RAMADDA federated at various Unidata sites. Gary Lackmann and Bill Gallus both said they have lots of data available to add.

Action 3: RAMADDA demos should be provided semi-regular at the UserComm meetings when new features become available. (Jeff McWhirter and/or Jeff Weber)

Workshop discussion

Work needs to be done to come up with creative methods to advertise and to increase attendance, although we're ahead of schedule from the 2006 workshop. Advertising should pick up by sending the workshop announcement to email lists, and people/groups who might be interested in attending.

Co-chairs are typically responsible for final paper to be submitted to AMS/BAMS – Brian, Sean, Larry and Gary. They can coordinate with Jo Hansen on the workshop summary/article after the workshop.

Jen mentioned the work on the Web site from the 2006 workshop.  She will retain that information. Jen could provide a mailing list and could begin a RAMADDA site for bios, data, abstracts, etc. 

Action 4: The workshop sub-committee should touch base with each presenter to find out what software datasets, format for data, storage requirements are needed. The presenters need to register, and provide their bios and abstracts.  

RAMADDA will fill the role of being a resource for participants

How do we engage the participants to provide information to RAMADDA? Jeff McW will give a talk about RAMADDA at 2:10-2:40 on Monday 8 June to provide an overview of RAMADDA capabilities, focused on the workshop.

Action 5: Set up email list for workshop sub-committee, speakers, and certain staff. (Email the list of presenters to Jen for setting up email list.)

Some site contacts were made by committee members. Results have been placed in Google.docs.

Action 6: Do a demo to show workshop speakers how to use RAMADDA for upload of their presentation materials. Create a one--page summary of instructions for presenters.

Discussion of AWIPS-II

Discussion of Brent Gordon's Presentation: 

User Stories:

Action 7: Obtain a collection of GEMPAK scripts and outcomes to compare with IDV capabilities.

Discussion of Metrics Information

List of questions and ideas:

Example: Learning outcomes-Scott teaches a senior seminar class-capstone experience-were they able to design project?

It's valuable to keep track of non-academic sites for technology transfer and things used operationally and in the private sector

How much time do we spend on service to our outside community-beyond NSF funding. How much support is academia and other? Uses in non-academic settings, i.e., WMO adopting NetCDF. Agency use of netCDF-use makes it possible for the core Unidata community to use our technologies. Why is Unidata helping NASA, NOAA, etc. - the answer is that it comes back to help everybody. We have a large infrastructure community--netCDF, THREDDS, UDUNITS, etc.

Action 8: Explore how to make better use of metric stats, for example provide input to UserComm for better targeted site surveys.

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