Participants: Members: Visitors: Mohan Ramamurthy (Chair) John Huyler, Facilitator Facilitator Greg Cox Denise Stephenson Hawk David Knight Charles Murphy Melanie Wetzel (portion of meeting) Doug Yarger Ex-Officio Members: UPC Staff: Harry Edmon, ATAC Dave Fulker Steve Mullen, Policy Committee Sally Bates Steve Chiswell Ben Domenico Linda Miller Don Murray Sandra Nilsson Tom Yoksas
The next meeting of the Committee ( 23-24 September 1996) will take place prior to the Policy Committee meeting.
A review of the Action Items left four (6, 11, 13) remaining, or in process. Follow up will take place prior to the next meeting.
Discussion: Ben Domenico pointed out that 21 out of 33 Unidata sites contacted are already using Unidata systems in outreach activities. Additionally, netCDF has been downloaded by over 300 different sites in one month's time. These sites are worldwide and consist of private industry, education, institutes, government, et al.
Other highlights from the Fulker/Domenico document include:
Unidata should create object-oriented libraries or building blocks for the community to make tools easier to use.
ATAC group recommended looking at new applications and checking out alternate platform support.
Unidata needs to explore options for accessing NOAAport data.
The resolution granting Canadian participation in Unidata was discussed and led to the question of granting participation to Mexico.
Another issue pertaining to external participation or sponsored participation in Unidata revolves around COSMIC's version of GEMPAK. COSMIC has been providing GEMPAK 5.1. COSMIC has not maintained updates with NCEP.
There were 33 respondents to the web-based User Committee GOES survey. The results are here.
In general, 30 min data is in demand with 1 & 4 km resolution for visible and IR images, respectively.
Products that would be useful are:
Tom Yoksas contacted CIMMS about sounder product availability for the Unidata/Wisconsin IDD. As a test for the summer, we are collaborating with SSEC to add several of the CIMMS-generated research products to the Unidata/Wisconsin datastream as the research floater. These products would be provided with the caveat that they are research in nature, and should not be considered operational. Currently the funding is not in place at Unidata to provide additional products on a regular basis.
The question of delivery of RAMSDIS data was discussed. The Committee would like to see some of the RAMSDIS data added to the IDD stream.
The ATAC has not met since July, 1995. Harry and Ben discussed the possibility of putting information together for a virtual meeting of the ATAC. Unidata needs their input in the five year proposal planning process for Unidata. It was suggested that the planning document created by Dave and Ben be used as a tool to provide stimulus to collect input from the ATAC.
There are currently 122 sites participating in the IDD.
A number of problems with the underlying Internet has created intermittent difficulties for some sites.
Currently there is no back up source site for FOS products. Unidata is working with CSU to become the back up site.
LDM version 5 is available and running at all relay sites. The sunset date for the LDM version 4 is 15 August.
Near term tasks are:
The Committee shared some of their experiences with the IDD and Internet service providers. To summarize - Internet service providers are upgrading their capacity in an attempt to keep up with rapidly increasing demand.
Long term planning includes tracking of RSVP and RMP developments.
Contingency planning has been underway to cope with the data delivery delays. The most obvious plan is to prioritize or subset data at each site. Ben proposed cutting back on the HDS feed if necessary. This position was not totally supported among the group, but some form of cutting back on the data being fed to sites was supported as a contingency for dealing with a situation where we could not get all of the data into the relay sites.
At present, we are not having problems with the relays getting data. The sites are getting data much more reliably than a month or so ago. remains an option if necessary.
The IDD service at SSEC was discussed. Is there some optional on-call scenario that might be of value for the community? Don Murray indicated that some software is in place at SSEC to provide information to the operators when there are problems with the Unidata/Wisconsin datastream.
Dave Fulker indicated that the UPC planned to support the IDD at about the current level of staffing or with a modest reduction in staffing in the absence of any emergency. However, the IDD remains a top UPC priority and additional resources would be committed in response to a general problem getting data out to sites.
Status reports covering Unidata software and services are available here.
New versions of McIDAS-X and OS/2 were announced in April, 1996. The current Unidata McIDAS-X and McIDAS-OS2 versions contain the first half of the transformation of McIDAS into a client-server application, in addition to Unidata added applications. During the Committee meeting, Unidata received the latest version of McIDAS from SSEC. We will be attempting to release this version along with our own modifications and additions by August.
GEMPAK 5.2.1 was released in January, 1996. GEMPAK now displays NIDS and NOWRAD data from their native formats. Unidata has provided read-only capability for netCDF grid point data. Robb Kambic is working on decoders to write surface and upper air data to netCDF. Work will continue at Unidata to provide netCDF access for point source data within GEMPAK.
Three COMET case studies have been released and the fourth is expected to be released this spring. Case studies are fully compatible with the Unidata GEMPAK 5.2.1 release.
COMET is underway with the development of the GEMPAK Analysis and Rendering Program (GARP) to be used in the COMET classroom. Unidata has received the source for the test version of GARP and is porting to their supported platforms. GARP is expected to be released to the community later this summer.
GEMPAK version 5.4 is scheduled for release in June from NCEP. COMET and Unidata will seek to synchronize their releases with NCEP with this distribution. GARP will not be part of the NCEP distribution, but will likely be provided as contributed software.
The Unidata surface observation decoder (satogem) has been modified to accept METAR format bulletins, and has been provided to Unidata sites to allow for a smooth transition. NWS is expected to convert to METAR observations in July.
There was a request to provide an update on WXP. The status is that Dan Vietor continues to work on version 5.0. Testing is taking place at a number of Unidata sites. The Univ of Wyoming and NC-Asheville have been very active. NOWRAD and lightning data can be displayed using WXP 5.0.
Dave solicited advice from the User Committee for the next five-year proposal to NSF.
The committee discussed the future directions to take in each of the following areas within the Unidata's mission:
Ease of Use: Charlie Murphy suggested that commonality of data formats for users be a major emphasis in the proposal.
Greg Cox suggested the use of conversion tools should play a priority role in Unidata's plans. Communication should continue to be highlighted in Unidata's future. The community needs to be informed of the services provided by Unidata.
Denise also suggested that if software was developed in a more user friendly format, additional disciplines would embrace Unidata and participation would increase.
A discussion about access to retrospective data evolved. This topic appealed to several Committee members. How could this service be achieved for the Unidata community?
A number of issues were discussed involving the selection criteria, query system, tools needed, etc.
It was pointed out that other disciplines also rely on historical data and by providing archive capabilities, Unidata might attract the interest of other disciplines.
One method to facilitate current sites to participate in archiving activities might be through the use of equipment grants to purchase a juke box for archiving data.
Unidata should explore a closer working relationship with CDC (Boulder) and NCDC (Asheville) if there is a move toward a retrospective data mission.
Unidata will need to learn from other disciplines about archived data. Groups such as DODS, IRIS, EOS, HARVEST, etc should be investigated to see if their methods may be adopted by Unidata.
The indexing and cataloging aspects were mentioned as being difficult areas to define. Agreement on this might be difficult due to different needs of the sites. Other questions related to the frequency of purging data and Unidata's function in providing such a service. For examples, should Unidata be a clearinghouse of data and tools?
Should Unidata be moving toward an integrated system (e.g., a CoVis model) for getting educational and training materials, and data made available to all Unidata sites?. This would expand Unidata's mission and build on the theme of a virtual community.
There was a caution extended from the Committee on clarification of the Unidata and COMET missions to be made at the joint meeting of the Unidata Policy Committee and the COMET Advisory Committee. It is good to explore the mutual interests among the communities that each program serves, but there are differences that need to be identified, e.g. COMET compact discs work well for the single NWS office, but not for university students, due to the costs and the number of students and computers required to use the discs.
The new hire who will be working on case study availability using the CODIAC system should strengthen the relationship between the two communities by making the case studies easily accessible via the Web and in a user friendly form.
There was a suggestion of putting COMET modules on the web. This would result in use by the university community and the NWS personnel.
It was suggested that Unidata is the pulse of the community and there is a need to coordinate the community in the aforementioned areas.
Software - the need of 3- and 4-D visualization packages exists. Greg Tripoli's use of Vis5d software was provided as an example. A slicer/dicer method needs to be created or adopted for community use.
There was a discussion about the usefulness of netCDF to overcome the data format obstacles. Getting the data in proper format is a problem.
Denise Stephenson Hawk suggested that GIS-compatible data are needed for interdisciplinary studies.
Another suggestion was to create an API that works across disciplines; design the software so it's transparent to the user and can be adapted to other machines (e.g. Java network applets). One model would be that some sites would run low-cost network appliances while others run the full suite of applications. The former approach would require community involvement. SSEC's Abstract Data Distribution Environment (ADDE) works similar to the client-server scenario above.
Unidata needs to continue monitoring the progress of JAVA.
Providing access to ensemble forecasting systems should be investigated for the future.
Unidata should look beyond their conventional borders to facilitate international outreach activities. Perhaps Unidata could use data from other nations or international projects.
NIDS Level II data needs to be accessed for use by universities. This data is useful for:
Follow the development of GPS technology. GPS sounder data should be made available to the community.
Can the collocated university/NWSFO sites share their local and regional data with others?
Three proposals were presented for the 1997 Summer Unidata Workshop theme.
It was felt that the audience for the workshop needs to be identified before a theme can be adopted. There is also a need to address the interdisciplinary aspects of Unidata. Suggestions for reconciling among the different workshop proposals were made.
To stimulate discussion, Dave Fulker proposed a topic, " Using real-time remote sensored satellite data in Web-based curricula".
Charlie Murphy pointed out that we need to identify the goals for the workshop. We need to show people that the Web works and demonstrate its usefulness.
Sandra Nilsson pointed out that the proposal needs to be submitted to Cliff Jacobs, NSF, by the first week of August, 1996.
After the remainder of the agenda items had been covered, the following draft proposal for the 1997 Summer Workshop matured:
These could include topics from the following list (adapted from Melanie's proposal):
There was some question on the usefulness and resource impact of providing hands on labs.
to be determined
Several tasks identified for ACTION are:
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