Unidata Users Committee
11-12 April 2011

Committee Members
Acronym List

Members Attending:
Tom Whittaker, Univ of Wisc-Madison-Space Science & Engineering Center, Chair
Anne T. Case-Hanks, Univ of Louisiana, Monroe
Brendon Hoch, Plymouth State Univ
Steven Lazarus, Florida Institute of Technology
Patrick Market, Univ of Missouri-Columbia
Larry Oolman, Univ of Wyoming
Kevin Tyle, Univ of Albany

Student Rep:
Stefan Cecelski, Univ of Maryland

NCEP Reps:
Becky Cosgrove (CONDUIT) - virtual participation
Michelle Mainelli (GEMPAK-NAWIPS/AWIPS II) - virtual participation

Richard Signell

Staff Attending:
Tina Campbell
John Caron
Julien Chastang
Ethan Davis
Doug Dirks
Ben Domenico
Steve Emmerson
Ginger Emery
Dennis Heimbigner
Yuan Ho
Michael James
Robb Kambic
Linda Miller
Terry Mitchell
Mohan Ramamurthy
Mike Schmidt
Jeff Weber
Tom Yoksas

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Fall Users Committee meeting may be a combined meeting with the Policy Committee. The two possible dates suggested by the Users Committee are: 24-26 October or 26-28 October. Final dates for the meeting will be negotiated with the Policy Committee at their spring meeting.

Review of the October 2010 action items:

New Actions

  1. Action:  A UserComm member will work with Linda to send the DeSouza Award solicitation.  The solicitation will be sent by the UserComm member to the community email list.  A form will be used for the nominations.
  2. Action: Linda will check to see if POES data with specific headers (eg TIT A61?) or any other headers is available in NOAAPORT.
  3. Action: Unidata should poll the community on what additional satellite data to provide.
  4. Action: A community email message will be sent about global lightning data availability.
  5. Action: CONDUIT activities:
    • Becky Cosgrove will add the fire weather forecast data and NAM 221 grid to 84 hours.
    • Becky Cosgrove will find out what data will be on the DVB-S NOAAPORT upgrade.
    • Unidata will send a message to the community asking what products should be added to CONDUIT..
  6. Action: Rich Signell will chair a THREDDS steering committee and work with UPC staff to recruit other members.
  7. Action: Staff members who have not provided responses to survey concerns and questions from their area should follow through and provide those answers to the appropriate email lists.
  8. Action: Unidata should consider putting Unidata source code on an open source repository, in order to facilitate collaborative development.
  9. Action: UserComm members will contact sites. Each member will pick one school, contact the appropriate professor, and work with him one-on-one to see if he's aware of Unidata. (Yuan offered to help the contact create an IDV bundle of choice). The goal is to raise student and faculty awareness of Unidata software and data.
  10. Action: Users Committee members should send ideas for the 2012 Triennial workshop title. Ask your colleagues for ideas.
  11. Action: Ask a Policy Committee member to join the Triennial workshop planning sub-committee.

Director's Report - Mohan Ramamurthy

Highlights include:

Polar Satellite Data - Kevin Tyle

Kevin raised the question of additional satellite data to be included in the NOAAPort broadcast. He provided the following TIN, but users were not aware of this being made available to the community:


Satellite imagery is not on N-image channel. Polar Operational Environmental Satlelite (POES) imagery does not get into the IDD; other types of data available are Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data. Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) data might be made available from the University of South Florida after a delay of 24 hrs.

Discussion: Is it possible to get the polar data from Wisconsin's Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC)? UPC could provide data via ADDE. A question of what data is on NOAAPORT that has a header starting with TIT. Linda will research this issue, and also find out what is currently on NOAAPORT. A survey of the community should be done regarding what additional satellite data sets are needed.

Lightning Data - Tom Yoksas, Doug Dirks, and Linda Miller

WSI is providing global lightning data to the Unidata community for use in education and research. This is a great opportunity to see an international lightning set that has not been available in the past. The UserComm suggested that this data set is very important, and a community email notification should be forwarded to the list to be sure no one missed the newsletter announcement.

The gap in service from NLDN does not exist any longer and the data is flowing. We thank the folks at University of Albany and Tom Yoksas, Unidata, for working together to get the data flowing again.

Users Committee Nominations - Mohan Ramamurthy

The solicitation for nominations for both Users Committee and Policy Committee will be sent during June 2011. This is a great time to nominate people who are interested in the community and who are users and familiar with Unidata services, software and community to serve on Unidata's governing committees. It is particularly important for the Users Committee nominees to know Unidata and to have the time to serve. The Policy Committee nominees deal with policy, so the nominees may not necessarily work as closely with the tools and data as the Users Committee members. A nomination form will be provided so there is consistency on the information collected on the candidates.

DeSouza Award - All

No award will be made in 2011, as there were no nominations, and there will be some changes for next year's nomination procedure. It was suggested that the UPC provide a list of previous nominees and people who stand out in the community providing community support and other services. The nominations from community members will be added to the list from UPC and Users Committee members will select a winner from that list. A UserComm member will work with Linda to send the DeSouza Award solicitation.  The solicitation will be sent by the UserComm member to the community email list.  A form will be used for the nominations.

AMS Experience - Stefan Celcelski

Many students were interested in Unidata and, overall, either the students already knew about Unidata or they were oblivious to what Unidata is or does. Most students are taking "short cuts" to get at the data, and thus may not be aware of its provenance. Students use web sites, hand held devices, smart phones, i-Pads, etc. Stefan suggested that Unidata consider creating a mobile app. (This was discussed in the Blue Sky session on Tuesday.) Stefan suggested that we should hand out CDs or some device with IDV and other software ready for downloading as a method to get students interested in the software and services we provide. The lack of knowledge about Unidata might stem from the faculty. If the professors don't let the students know where the data and software and various community services are coming from, the students will not know.

GEOPOD (Geosciences Probe of Discovery)

Michael Root and Ky Waegel, Millersville University students, gave a remote presentation of the GEOPOD during the working lunch. It was well received by the committee, and there was at least one committee member who was interested in testing it out when it becomes available. GEOPOD uses IDV as its core application. Yuan noted that he had worked with the students to modify the IDV so that they could configure GEOPOD as a plugin, rather than having to modify the IDV code itself.

Seminar Presentation: GEOPOD

CONDUIT - Becky Cosgrove

The CONDUIT data stream has not changed since the October 2010 meeting. Becky presented several options for data that could be added to the data stream; Unidata needs to seek user input to decide what to add next. The last time Unidata solicited information from the CONDUIT group, we only received one response - NAM 221 grid to 84 hours. Becky will add the requested NAM data to CONDUIT. The list of NCEP products published in February 2011 still exist. Users should review that list for information. Becky will provide the latest information and the update on the NOAAPort offerings as soon as they are available. Rapid Refresh model output will replace RUC output in summer/fall 2011.

There was a discussion of how the updated NOAAPort offerings will affect CONDUIT. The consensus was to wait for the list of NOAAPort offerings, then resubmit a request to the community for input. Becky said that fire weather forecast data is now available. The UserComm suggested adding that now.

AWIPS II - Michelle Mainelli, Michael James

Michelle Mainelli said that Raytheon plans to release its AWIPS II package in June 2011. After the Raytheon release, NCEP's additions to the software will be baselined with Raytheon's code and sent to NWS/Office of Systems Development. A testbed has been created at NCEP for field Operational Test and Evaluation, which will take place during FY12. There has been a four month slip for the operational Test and Evaluation. Deployment at the National Centers will be starting in the first quarter of FY12 (October 2011). Unidata should be getting the release during the winter timeframe. Michael James and one other from Undiata will be going to training at NCEP. There may be an opportunity for one or two from the community to attend the NCEP training as well. Many questions continue over the release of source code, and there is still no specific answer. There are still questions about the AWIPS architecture - will it satisfy performance requirements? The 32 bit to 64 bit system issue is not being resolved until after national deployment. Testing is a big issue. Training and documentation materials will be available online.

Michael James talked about support plans, training, and deployment of AWIPS II. Unidata does not have the source code yet. Two or three beta sites from the community will provide testing of the system. Michael will provide on-line tutorials and include AWIPS II in Unidata' training workshops. Jeff Weber and Steve Emmerson will be working with Michael on training and development. Some training could be done via blogs and wikis.

Status Report Miscellaneous Discussion:

The question of AWIPS II and IDV advisory committee was discussed. It was suggested that steering committees come from the Users Committee membership for all projects. It was suggested that the THREDDS development could use a steering committee and Rich Signell offered to chair the group. University members will populate the committee.

It was pointed out that Unidata's tech group is evaluating different options for source code control and distributed development. One option currently in use/testing is JIRA, which provides issue tracking with bug tracking. The goal is to unify bug tracking systems for all projects. It was suggested that visibility of development plans to the outside world is an important goal for Unidata's developers.

IDV demo by Yuan Ho showed some unique capabilities. Do the changes made satisfy the request for "publication quality graphics" that users have expressed? Discussion revealed that McIDAS V will be dropping ISL in favor of Jython. Should IDV do the same? Yuan notes that ISL would still be available, but perhaps not used or discussed as the primary scripting mechanism.

NetCDF status: There was a question of availability of CDM in Python, R, etc. CF feature types. John Caron reponded with the option of using a THREDDS-lite server with a C-library that can talk to Python, R, etc.

Investigation of the feasibility of providing the NOAAPort ingest software will likely come to fruition, thus making it an officially-supported Unidata product. When work is complete, it will be added to the Unidata web site.

Survey Discussion - Tom Whittaker, et al.

Unidata received helpful information from the community on the last survey. Anne did a good job with her sub-committee in creating the survey. The length of the survey was good, allowing people the time to complete it. There were many issues covered, including GEMPAK transition and IDV performance. The final goal from the committee was to collect the information provided by the staff pertaining to the issues revealed in the survey responses. Kevin Tyle, who compiled the survey groupings, pointed out that there are still some unresolved questions that came up in the survey responses. Some staff have followed through with providing information, based on survey responses, but we need all staff responsible for projects to provide the information.

The question of timing for future surveys was discussed. It helps to have updated information for the strategic plan and proposal every five years.

Student Survey - Stefan Cecelski

Stefan discussed the idea of creating a student survey to find out where the students are getting their data, if they know about Unidata, and what software they are using. Teachers could be helping by providing information about Unidata (at minimum crediting Unidata for the data and tools provided). Students seem to be looking at pre-generated products, rather than doing analysis. After discussion, it appeared that the students are using data from the web and web services. Stefan suggested that UPC develop mobile apps. This is discussed in the Blue Sky session. We need to engage university professors to be sure they are aware of Unidata. Workshops (Triennial and Regional) can help people better understand the data, software, tools and community that Unidata provides.

Site Contacts - All

Overall, some were not successful in making contacts, but the personal touch makes a difference in the input and interest in communicating with the UserComm member. Users seem fairly content.

Blue Sky Session: All

This session is used to discuss what Unidata do for the community now and in the future.


Demo of water current modeling using web-accessible resources: Rich Signell

Rich Signell demonstrated how to quickly create models of particle motion using tools from NOAA GEO-IDE and data accessible via an ERDDAP server. Rich was able to create a simulation of water currents near Fukushima prefecture in Japan showing the potential movement of contaminated water in a matter of a few minutes.

2012 Triennial Workshop - All

The theme of the next Triennial workshop was discussed. Many ideas were suggested:

The consensus of the committee was that the topic should not be too broad. Focus is important.

Other workshop comments, ideas, and questions that arose:

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