Unidata Users Committee Meeting Summary
30-31 March 1998
Mohan Ramamurthy, Chair
Jim Moore, Policy Committee
Tom Whittaker, ATAC
Mary Marlino, PAGE
Harriet Barker, UCAR
The proposed date for the next meeting is 1-2 October 1998. UserComm
members should contact the UPC immediately if they cannot attend this meeting.
A review of the action items:
- ACTION 1: The UPC will write an article on the NOAAPort data issues in
the next Unidata
Newsletter - in progress
- ACTION 3: Fulker will discuss interagency connections with EPA through
NSF - in progress
- ACTION 9: Melanie Wetzel will work with COMET to create illustrations for
the workshop article and
cover - figures were completed by Steve Chiswell and BAMS article was submitted
- ACTION 11: Ben Domenico will work with Mary Marlino, PAGE, to find out
how and when to
assess the workshop materials, including the students' reaction and usefulness
- Marlino discussion below.
Director's Report - Dave Fulker
An extensive overview of the Unidata five-year proposal peer review that took
place during the previous week in Boulder was provided. There were 20 questions
posed by the review panel for Unidata's response. Fulker reviewed the responses
to those questions, which included items like governance structure, changes since
the submission of the proposal, budget increase, less need for distinct visualization
package and general updates of data access, NOAAPort, DODS, VisAD collaboration
and Java plans.
Fulker provided a general overview, based on his understanding, of the reviewers'
recommendations. The formal recommendations will be provided to Fulker by the
Review Panel at a later date.
Planning for SuomiNet has been placed on hold for about one year. This
will provide time to establish a stronger foundation for the SuomiNet project
by collecting additional information from potential participants, refining multidisciplinary
research/education and scientific rationale, defining mutually beneficial relationships
and working toward establishing Internet-based real-time data flows from existing
GPS systems/networks to expand the prototype product set.
PAGE - Mary Marlino
A brief summary of PAGE activities was given. Six Focus Groups have been
conducted by PAGE. The preliminary analysis of the Focus Groups indicates
four areas of needs. They are:
- Multimedia database
- Development of topic areas for disciplines (Rockwood Matrix)
- Training in pedagogy and assessment
- Clearinghouse function (presence on Web)
Funding issues are consuming much of the time at PAGE. Proposals have
been developed for numerous activities from several sources. There has been
a suggestion that PAGE consider having a conference, similar to the one held years
ago in Madison, WIsconsin for Unidata, to solicit support for PAGE activities,
leading to a proposal for base funding. A proposal for a workshop to be
held in the fall of 1998 to discuss the formal of a PAGE Center is being discussed.
Summer 1997 Workshop Discussion:
Three aspects that should be considered when reviewing last year's summer workshop
- attitude - are participants more receptive
- practice - what have the participants done
- impact - teaching, learning, research
Discussion of the workshop assessment criteria included possible steps to be taken,
e.g., collecting student's input, requesting an article from two or three sites
that describes any affect or change in their role at their institution.
Another approach could be direct telephone calls to about 10 diverse participants
to inquire if the summer workshop had an impact individually or institutionally.
A query should also be made pertaining to a follow on workshop in the future.
Action 1: Sally Bates will send a note soliciting information from
the workshop participants on applicability of the workshop materials and recommendations
for a follow on workshop.
Outstanding Participant Award - Sally Bates
The award subcommittee recommends that the award be:
- with nominations from the community
- and solicitations for nominations via the community e-mail list
- with any current Unidata committee member restricted from nomination
- recommendations for selection made by vote in the Users Committee
- and accepted/rejected by Policy Committee vote
award should consist of letters to the recipient and the chair of the
- signed by the Users and Policy committees chairs
- with a cash award to the recipient's department (if a source of money can
be found) publicity to include community e-mail announcement; newsletter article,
placement on a Web page "Hall of Fame."
The funding for this award is still being sought through various channels.
MetApps Task Force - Ben Domenico
This working group will be formed, based on the Charlie Murphy recommendation
. Discussion about the mission, composition and timing of the working group
led to a proposed
by Ben Domenico. Domenico will work with Charlie Murphy,
who was asked to chair the task force, to carefully define the activities of the
task force. It is envisaged that the group will meet on an "as needed" basis,
after the initial meeting, and much work will be performed through email exchange.
Ben will be the UPC point of contact. The working group will report
to the UserComm. The UserComm will help set guidelines and the charter for
the task force.
Action 2: A WXP user should be represented on the MetApps Task Force.
Java Transition - Dave Fulker
Fulker led a discussion on the current work that is underway and future tasks
related to Java development. This covers data management access underpinnings
and user interface to applications. He provided an overview of the Gempak-Java
development and the VisAD collaboration between the UPC and Bill Hibbard at the
University of Wisconsin. A demonstration was given by the technical staff
on progress of NTrans-Java, McIDAS-Java and VisAD.
NOAAPort - Dave Fulker
A brief overview
was provided to facilitate the NOAAPort discussion. Channel 1 consists of
the NCEP/NWS telecommunications gateway data (e.g. Family of Services).
Initially, this will be the most important channel for the universities.
Satellite data will continue to be received through the Unidata-Wisconsin broadcast.
Channel 4 of NOAAPort just began broadcasting some experimental data and Wallops
Island data. It was agreed that the addition of Channel 4 would be added
at a later time. Unidata will work with COMET to coordinate the downlink
to benefit the community.
Action 3: Users Committee recommends that the UPC budget for NOAAPort
Channel 1 for 3 sites dispersed over the U.S.
The future of DIFAX is uncertain due to budgetary cutbacks at the NWS.
To counteract this threat, the committee proposed:
Action 4: Form a task force (Rockwood) working with the UPC and the
UserComm (Jim Moore and Michael Morgan have interest) to create emulated Difax
data stream from FOS and NCEP data streams. The solution must include
Model Data Access & Distribution - Steve Chiswell
Testing has been underway using the IDD/LDM for access and distribution. NCEP
and NWS/OSO will be installing the LDM within the next month or so making the
data available using the IDD. NASA/Goddard, acting as a relay site, will
be forward the data on to universities who have subscribed for the data.
This is high resolution experimental data that is currently being made available
at the NIC and OSO servers, and may not be of interest to all universities.
NEXRAD Level II - Tim Crum
Tim Crum, Operational Support Facility (OSF), Norman, Oklahoma provided an update
on the NEXRAD
program. There will be a total of 158 systems deployed. There are
less than 10 RIDDS available for deployment. RIDDS is the system currently
used for direct connection
to a local 88D radar.
There are "technology refreshments" being considered by the Tri-Agencies (NOAA,
DOD, DOT) in the NEXRAD program to provide additional capabilities. Movement
toward Unix systems is gradually taking place. The current maximum modem
speed is 14.4 kbps.
The NIDS contract will end in September 1999, and there are negotiations taking
place on changes to the contract. The emergency management community will
more than likely be included in the future arrangement. The university
community would like to obtain the data for use in research and education
There has been discussion among the NIDS vendors to provide a core set of products
freely available on the Web.
There is no plan in place to assist universities with license fees or support
for WXP. There was concern voiced about the transition between WXP to Java.
It was suggested that a WXP user be a participant on the MetApps Task Force (see
The next release of McIDAS will be during the June-July time frame. Tom
Yoksas explained that there are usually two releases from SSEC each year, but
the UPC tries to release only one per year to reduce the impact on university
sites. Documentation has been a major issue that has hindered the process.
The next release will be a combination of 7.3 and 7.4.
Tony Rockwood initiated a discussion on community representation; how can the
overall community be better represented by the UserComm. There was not
total agreement among the Committee that this is an issue. There are announcements
of upcoming UserComm meetings with the draft agenda being sent to the "community"
email list. At the October 24-25, 1994 meeting, the UserComm agreed to
divide the community among the members and solict comments. This activity did
not produce a lot of feedback to Unidata. The action item from Oct 24-25,
- ACTION: The Users Committee will divide the Unidata sites list and telephone
the site representatives to discuss their needs and obtain feedback on their
relationship with Unidata.
There was agreement among the Committee that Users Committee representatives
should be collecting information from students and gathering concerns from the
community, in general, as one of their responsibilities associated with participation.
Action 5: Dave Fulker will draft a resolution and send it to the Users
Committee via email about providing WSR-88D NEXRAD data mosaics for the university
There was discussion about the possibility of having two-day UserComm meetings.
This issue was not resolved and will be included on the next UserComm meeting
Prepared by Linda Miller
Questions or comments can be sent to Linda Miller
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