Status Report: September 2013 - April 2014

Russ Rew, Ward Fisher, Dennis Heimbigner

Strategic Focus Areas

The netCDF group's activities support Unidata's strategic goals in the following ways:

  1. Enable widespread, efficient access to geoscience data by developing netCDF and related cyberinfrastructure solutions to facilitate local and remote access to scientific data.
  2. Develop and provide open-source tools for effective use of geoscience data by supporting the use of netCDF and related technologies for analyzing, integrating, and visualizing multidimensional geoscience data; enabling visualization and effective use of very large data sets; and accessing, managing, and sharing collections of heterogeneous data from diverse sources.
  3. Provide cyberinfrastructure leadership in data discovery, access, and use by developing useful data models, frameworks, and protocols for geoscience data; advancing geoscience data and metadata standards and conventions; and providing information and guidance on emerging cyberinfrastructure trends and technologies.
  4. Build, support, and advocate for the diverse geoscience community by providing expertise in implementing effective data management, conducting training workshops, responding to support questions, maintaining comprehensive documentation, maintaining example programs and files, and keeping online FAQs, best practices, and web site up to date; fostering interactions between community members; and presenting community perspectives at scientific meetings, conferences, and other venues.

Activities Since the Last Status Report

Project and Issue Tracking

We use a project tracker tool to manage bug reports, track issues, plan releases, and make our development process more transparent to users. Between 25 September 2013 and 13 March 2014, we created 24 new issues, updated 11 issues, resolved 23 issues, and we currently have 77 open issues. (Note: issues vary greatly in size and effort required to resolve, so number of issues is not a useful measure of amount of work to do.)

The migration to a CDash-based test dashboard has proved successful. It has provided a large amount of flexibility with regards to the types of systems we perform our tests on. This has lead to the squashing of a number of bugs which only manifest on particular platforms or architectures.


The netCDF-C 4.3.1 release was made available on 2014-02-05, following 6 release candidates (three of which were made after presenting the last status report). Since then, a bug-fix release ( was made to address several DAP-related issues in the 4.3.1 release. The 4.3.1 release included various bug fixes, as well as portability, performance, and documentation enhancements, as described in the latest Release Notes. Evidence for improved collaboration includes several git "pull requests" from community developers contributing fixes, as well as increased incidents of issue reporting via the github issue-tracking system.

We are currently preparing for the upcoming 4.3.2 release.


Jeff Whitaker (NOAA/ESRL) has developed netcdf4-python, a widely used Python interface to netCDF-4. In February, Unidata agreed to help migrate and host netcdf4-python on Unidata's GitHub site. This has already encouraged new contributions and collaborations that are leveraging the efforts of other Python developers to improve and extend the software.

Planned Activities

With Russ having gone to half-time on 1 October, the C-based netCDF project (which includes Fortran and C++ libraries, as well as netCDF utilities) is working with reduced resources, from 2.5 FTE to 2.0 FTE.

Ongoing Activities

New Activities

During the next six months, we plan to continue efforts to


During the last 8 months, there were 65,300 downloads from 134 countries of the C-based netCDF software from Unidata, in addition to downloads from mirror sites, package management systems, and incorporation into other software packages. Detailed metrics, including for netCDF-Java/CDM, are available.

Other metrics, with comparisons from 6 months ago, include number of

Prepared March 2014