[gembud] Unidata AWIPS II 14.2.1 status update

Hi GEMPAK users,

I want to pass along the latest AWIPS II project status update for our User and Strategic Advisory Committees. I should mention up front that the beta program is only open to US-based universities at this time. If you are interested in joining, please email support-awips@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the name of your institution to discuss participation and hardware requirements.

Let me know if you have any questions about the project or would like more information about anything mentioned below.

Michael James
Unidata

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Given current progress, the expected release date for the Unidata AWIPS II beta is July 2014. An announcement will be made on this list and elsewhere prior to that date; documentation will also be published prior to the release date and shared here and elsewhere.

The development baseline AWIPS II source code is maintained in a git repository on National Weather Service servers. Unidata has been allowed access to this repository thanks to our partnership with NCEP. The NCEP 14.2.1 source code branch is the baseline for the upcoming Unidata AWIPS II beta release.

Going forward, the supported operating system for AWIPS II is 64-bit Linux (Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora Core). I encourage everyone to upgrade any machines designated for CAVE or EDEX to 64-bit RHEL/CentOS 6. Fedora Core is being evaluated and the only version I can support is fc12 x86_64. I'll be evaluating more recent fc releases in the coming weeks. NWS is not building RPMs for 32-bit Linux anymore, and I will follow suit unless there is a need in the Unidata community for 32-bit binaries.

Release Check-list

   * connect to AWIPS II development baseline git repository and gerrit
     (done)
   * branch remotes/origin/ncep_14.2.1 to upc for next beta release (done)
   * CAVE UI updates, map and menu reconfiguration. (in progress)
   * database updates for new grid, radar, scatterometer products (done)
   * mute alertviz and prevent from adding to startup scripts for all
     users on install
   * GEMPAK 7 should be able to read from remote HDF5/PyPIES, Postgres
   * build RPMs for all components (in progress)
   * test test test built RPMs for install and runtime errors on
     various Linux systems.
   * release Unidata AWIPS II 14.2.1 beta to the .edu community.


Differences between Unidata CAVE NCP and NCEP CAVE NCP

The National Centers Perspective (NCP) will be the primary GUI offered and supported by Unidata, with the user having the ability to switch into different perspectives (D2D, Hydro, GFE, etc.), but the extent of UPC support for the function of these other perspectives is still uncertain.

NCEP CAVE NCP is designed to run continuously on a forecaster's workstation, and as delivered in the NCEP 14.2.1 branch, takes a significantly long time to load, freezing the splash screen as it loads, finally alerting the user with a large red error message immediately on startup. This is operational software that spends a significant amount of time building data set inventories in the client at startup, and we need to deliver it to a student / research environment where click-to-load does not take 30 seconds (even 10 seconds loading is an extremely long time for desktop software).

UI updates:

   * A number of NCEP-required geographic areas, which require slow
     pre-rendering, have been removed from startup, shortening the load
     time of CAVE by half. The geographic projections offered in the
     default suite of Area in the CAVE GUI offer enough.
   * The D2D progressive-disclosure default base maps, which
     dynamically load county outlines based on zoom level, have
     replaced the static world and state base map used in the NCP.
   * The Data Resource Legend was moved from bottom-right to top-left
to better work as a kind of "loaded inventory" for map-maker end users
   * Use of the Font Awesome bootstrap icon set to replace the two-tone
     NMAP2 icons.

EDEX Data Server Engineering

Our standalone EDEX data throughput is approximately 120 GB/day, including the global 0.5 degree resolution GFS and GEFS (via CONDUIT) and the full nationwide suite of level 3 NEXRAD products. The default NWS configuration for EDEX can not support such data throughput in standalone mode. I found a way that requires a solid state hard drive and increased parallel decoder threads for grib and radar products. The LDM is installed with the EDEX server package, and the entirety of data ingested into the server will be from the Unidata IDD. 1 km national NEXRAD composites for DHR, DVL, HHC and EET are supported in Unidata AWIPS II as McIDAS Area files (should support nexrcomp GINI files as well). Fixed-domain WRF-NMM output in grib2 has also been added, and support for floating-domain WRF grids is being investigated.