Status Report: April 2014 - September 2014

Yuan Ho, Julien Chastang

This report updates the status of Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) development efforts since the last report (April, 2014).

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: 4.3.22

Install4J installers now on Java 7: The IDV installers now run on Java 7 (in contrast to the IDV itself which has been running on Java 7 for some time now). The IDV team made this change because Java 6 was end-of-lifed quite a while ago. In addition, some NOAA users were reporting problems running Java 6 on their OS X machines. Also, we continue to enhance the install4j IDV deployment workflow as issues arise.

New version warning: Continue to fix bugs and make improvements to the mechanism that provides an old version warning to users.

IDV Java 7 / Java3D 1.6 migration: Continue to address minor issues concerning the migration to Java 7 and Java 3D 1.6 especially on OS X.

Display Changes

New ADDE Image Chooser: Added an image preview panel in the data subset window, and moved the image property widgets from the original chooser to the Advanced panel in the subset window. The result is a more intuitive and efficient user experience when selecting the area of interest before creating the final display.

Adaptive Resolution (AR): This capability is a new advanced feature in the IDV. When loading large datasets with AR enabled, the IDV calculates the resolution of the the map view window, dynamically sets the magnification, and loads sufficient data to generate a high quality image. The result of this improvement is more efficient use of both client and server system resources thereby reducing network traffic significantly.

Match Display Area (MDA): When the user selects this option in the data source property or subset panel, the IDV will automatically spatially subset to match the display area in the view window. This feature will allow IDV users to switch to new areas of interest by simply defining the area before creating the display. Users can also redefine the area of interest for a bundle created after 5.0 release.

Backwards trajectories: Fixed a bug associated with the display of backwards trajectories reported by Jim Steenburgh.

Data Changes

GEMPAK Upper Air format Support: Continue to collaborate with Kevin Tyle and the IDV community to improve the GEMPAK upper air data format display capability.

Multiple CF Trajectory Support: Collaborated with Adam Houston from the University of Nebraska and Jim Biard from NOAA to have the IDV handle and display CF compliant trajectory data. This effort is ongoing with these researchers and there will likely be more development in this area over the next 6 months.

IDV and RAMADDA Training and Conference Attendance

  • Produced three new IDV training videos:
    1. Matthew Dewey explores synoptic meteorology
    2. Professor Mapes IDV Seminar on Climate and Weather
    3. Adaptive Resolution and Match Display Area
  • Provided IDV training at the WRF User's Tutorial in July.


There is a new RAMADDA plugin available in the IDV. The image generators now allows users to create a movie and save it as a zip file of images. Users can then publish the zip file to RAMADDA to be animated by the RAMADDA image player.


Collaborated with University of Wisconsin, Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) to submit a proposal for a NASA ROSES grant. Unidata proposes augmenting existing Unidata and SSEC technological infrastructure to support the NASA Precipitation Measurement Missions (PMM) and specifically the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.

Planned Activities

New Activities

Preparing for the IDV fall training workshop at Unidata on November 3-6.

Preparing for Advanced Operational Aviation Weather System (AOAWS) Fall Training Sep 3-18, 2014.

Submitted an abstract on adaptive resolution in the IDV for the AMS 2014 meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

Relevant Metrics

The IDV team continues to provide the geoscience community with high-quality support through e-support software and idv-users mail list. In the last half year the IDV team has closed ~150 e-support tickets many of which had involved back-and-forth discussions.

The number of both casual and regular IDV users is stable or increasing. For example, in August 2013, there were 436 IDV users starting the IDV more than 5 times per month compared with 549 users for the same period in 2014. In July 2014, there were 68 IDV users starting the IDV more than 30 times per month compared with 77 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 81 "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 over 3,000 times compared with 2,000 from six months ago.