Status Report: April 2013 - September 2013

Yuan Ho, Julien Chastang, Sean Arms

This report updates the status of Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) development efforts since the last report (April, 2013). We also highlight RAMADDA achievements that are relevant to the IDV.

Strategic Focus Areas

The IDV group's work supports the following Unidata funding proposal focus areas:

  1. Enable widespread, efficient access to geoscience data
    The IDV is a state of the art geoscience visualization application. It gives users the ability to view and analyze a rich set of geoscience data, including real time data, in a seamless and integrated fashion. This analysis is captured in IDV bundles. RAMADDA is a content management system and service specifically tailored towards the sharing and distribution of IDV bundles facilitating distribution of scientific data and analysis.
  2. Develop and provide open-source tools for effective use of geoscience data
    The IDV has been an open-source project for several years. The IDV is available on the github version control platform for greater open-source collaboration. The IDV provides users the unparalleled ability to analyze, integrate, and visualize heterogeneous geoscience data in two, three, and four dimensions. The IDV coupled with RAMADDA enables geoscience specialists the capability to share and collaborate their IDV analysis via social scientific networks.
  3. Provide cyberinfrastructure leadership in data discovery, access, and use
    RAMADDA allows geoscience specialists the ability to search and publish their IDV bundles on-line. Unidata's RAMADDA installation enables the IDV team to communicate more effectively to our users concerning their IDV issues. Specifically, during support ticket conversations, the IDV team requests that users upload pertinent data to RAMADDA for analysis. The IDV team also takes advantage of RAMADDA to share instructional IDV screencasts with users.
  4. Build, support, and advocate for the diverse geoscience community
    Unidata offers yearly multi-day training and occasionally regional workshops for IDV and RAMADDA. The IDV coupled with RAMADDA enables our earth science community partners to distribute geoscience data and metadata through web-based technologies thereby fostering scientific collaborations. Moreover, the IDV's ability to share bundles through RAMADDA creates a scientific social and collaborative network for the geoscience community.

Activities Since the Last Status Report

System Changes

Latest netCDF-Java Version: A new version of the netCDF-Java library (4.3.18) is included included in this release. Please see the netCDF-Java and TDS update item for more details on these changes.

New version update message: The IDV now has a mechanism to alert users of a new available version of the IDV. As the IDV starts up, the user's version is compared against the latest stable version of the IDV. If the user's version is old, they are presented with an alert message and link indicating where to obtain the newer version. They can also choose to check "Don't show again" in which case they will no longer receive alerts for that newer version. However, if a new subsequent version of the IDV is released, they will again be alerted for that newer version.

Zidv bundles: There is now a quicker way to save zidv bundles with the "Save All Displayed Data" option. This selection allows the user to avoid having to go through many dialogs asking what data they would like saved.

Performance: Various memory usage and performance enhancements were done to speed up the loading of bundles, display of radar data and contour labelling.

Display Changes

Transect Display: A new transect control will be created when a user creates a cross section display on a transect view. Two end points labels are added in the transect display.

Contour labelling frequency: Enhanced the VisAD library in order to better validate numeric ranges.

Units on color scale: It is now possible to label the color scale with a unit. You can access this option through a display control's Edit->Properties menu under the Color Scale tab.

Data Changes

ADDE server list: We have updated the ADDE server list as new servers become available and old servers are decommissioned.

IDV and RAMADDA Training and Conference Attendance

  • Following suggestions from our Users and steering committees, Unidata has begun creating short video tutorials designed to introduce viewers to different aspects of our software. We now have about 30 minutes of training material online. Our plan is to create new videos (and update existing videos) as time and resources allow. The videos are posted on Unidata's YouTube channel.
  • IDV with RAMADDA regional workshop at San Jose State University on March 14, 15, 2013.
  • IDV with RAMADDA one-on-one training at the Unidata summer workshop, August 5-7.
  • The IDV group presented an IDV demonstration at the 14th Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) User's Workshop, June 24-28.
  • Provided IDV training at the WRF User's Tutorial in July.


Added radar data type handlers in RAMADDA to serve NOWRAD, Level II, Level III, and other radial data formats. This improvement allows the IDV to access these radial data from a RAMADDA server.

The IDV team created a new major one day section on RAMADDA for the IDV with RAMADDA training workshop.

Planned Activities

New Activities

Preparing for the IDV Regional Workshop at Millersville University on October 21-22.

Preparing for AMS 2014 Short Course on Integrating WRF and Other Model Output with Remote and In-situ Observational Datasets using Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV)

Spearheading an effort to improve the ADDE image chooser. This task includes adding an image preview tab and moving most property widgets from the chooser to a new advanced tab. We are also experimenting with progressive resolution in the image control, and we expect this change will greatly improve the performance and user experience of the IDV.

Relevant Metrics

The number of both casual and regular IDV users is increasing. For example, in February 2012, there were 454 IDV users starting the IDV more than 5 times per month compared with 523 users for the same period in 2013. In February 2012, there were 68 IDV users starting the IDV more than 30 times per month compared with 80 users for the same period in 2013. Notably, there are large numbers of new IDV users are from China. Readers can find the raw metrics at

In the area of greater collaborative development, since the migration of the IDV project to github, we have accepted 49 "pull requests" or code contributions from internal and external collaborators.

In the area of online IDV training, the Youtube IDV instructional videos have been viewed a total of ~700 times.