Re: reading raw (packed) data from NetCDF files and avoiding missing-value check

Hi Jon:

Jon Blower wrote:
Hi John,

I need some of the functionality of a GridDataset to allow me to read
coordinate system information.  Also, I might be opening an NcML
aggregation.  Is it sensible to use NetcdfDataset.getReferencedFile()?
In the case of an NcML aggregation, is it possible to get a handle to
a specific NetcdfFile (given relevant information such as the

You are getting into the internals, so its a bit dangerous.

I think this will work:

NetcdfDataset ncd = openDataset(String location, false, null); // dont enhance
ucar.nc2.dataset.CoordSysBuilder.addCoordinateSystems(ncd, null); // add coord 
GridDataset gds = new GridDataset( ncd); // make into a grid

BTW, you will want to switch to the new GridDataset in ucar.nc2.dt.grid when 
you start using 2.2.17. It should be compatible, let me know.

On a related note, is it efficient to read data from a NetcdfFile (or
NetcdfDataset) point-by-point?  I have been assuming that reading
contiguous chunks of data is more efficient than reading individual
points, even if it means reading more data than I actually need, but
perhaps this is not the case?  Unfortunately I'm not at my usual
computer so I can't do a quick check myself.  If reading data
point-by-point is efficient (enough) my problem goes away.

It depends on data locality. If the points are close together on disk, then 
they will likely to be already in the random access file buffer. The bigger the 
buffer the more likely, you can try different buffer sizes with:

NetcdfDataset openDataset(String location, boolean enhance, int buffer_size, 
ucar.nc2.util.CancelTask cancelTask, Object spiObject);

Thanks, Jon

On 26/10/06, John Caron <caron@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hi Jon:

One obvious thing would be to open it as a NetcdfFile, not a GridDataset. Is that a possibility?

Jon Blower wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm writing an application that reads data from NetCDF files and
> produces images.  I've noticed (through profiling) that a slow point
> in the data reading process is the unpacking of packed data (i.e.
> applying scale and offset) and checking for missing values.  I would
> like to minimize the use of these calls.
> To cut a long post short, I would like to find a low-level function
> that allows me to read the packed data, exactly as they appear in the
> file.  I can then "manually" apply the unpacking and missing-value
> checks only to those data points that I need to display.
> I'm using nj22, version 2.2.16.  I've tried reading data from
> GeoGrid.subset() but this (of course) performs the unpacking.  I then
> tried getting the "unenhanced" variable object through
> GeoGrid.getVariable().getOriginalVariable(), but (unexpectedly) this
> also seems to perform unpacking and missing-value checks - I expected
> it to give raw data.
> Can anyone help me to find a function for reading raw (packed) data
> without performing missing-value checks?
> Thanks in advance,
> Jon

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