GRIB Feature Collections

GRIB Feature Collection Datasets are collections of GRIB records, which contain gridded data, typically from numeric model output. Because of the complexity of how GRIB data is written and stored, the TDS has developed specialized handling of GRIB datasets, as of version 4.3, called GRIB Feature Collections.

Version 4.5

The GRIB Collections framework has been rewritten in CDM version 4.5, in order to handle large collections efficiently. Version 4.5 requires Java 7. Some of the new capabilities in version 4.5 are:

Implementation notes:

Version 4.6

The GRIB Collections framework has been rewritten in CDM version 4.6, in order to handle very large collections efficiently. Oh wait we already did that in 4.5. Sorry, it wasnt good enough.

Also see:

Example 1 (timePartition="none"):

1)<featureCollection featureType="GRIB1" name="rdavm partition none" path="gribCollection/none">
2) <metadata inherited="true">
3) <dataFormat>GRIB-2</dataFormat> <!--not used --> <serviceName>all</serviceName>

4) <collection name="ds083.2-none" 5) spec="Q:/cdmUnitTest/gribCollections/rdavm/ds083.2/PofP/**/.*grib1" 6) timePartition="none"/>
7) <update startup="never" trigger="allow"/> 8) <tdm rewrite="test" rescan="0 0/15 * * * ? *" trigger="allow"/>
9) <gribConfig datasetTypes="TwoD Latest Best" />
  1. A featureCollection must have a name, a featureType and a path (do not set an ID attribute). Note that the featureType attribute must now equal GRIB1 or GRIB2, not plain GRIB.
  2. A featureCollection is an InvDataset, so it can contain any elements an InvDataset can contain. It must have or inherit a default service.
  3. The collection must consist of either GRIB-1 or GRIB-2 files (not both). You no longer should set the dataFormat element to indicate which, as it is specified in the featureType, and will be added automatically.
  4. The collection name should be short but descriptive, it must be unique across all collections on your TDS, and should not change.
  5. The collection specification defines the collection of files that are in this dataset.
  6. The partitionType is none.
  7. This update element tells the TDS to use the existing indices, and to read them only when an external trigger is sent. This is the default behavior as of 4.5.4.
  8. This tdm element tells the TDM to test every 15 minutes if the collection has changed, and to rewrite the indices and and send a trigger to the TDS when it has changed.
  9. GRIB specific configuration.

Resulting Datasets:

The above example generates a TwoD and Best dataset for the entire collection, a reference to the latest datset, as well as one dataset for each reference time in the collection, which become nested datasets in the catalog. These datasets are named by their index files, in the form <collection-name>.<referenceTime>.ncx3, eg GFS-Puerto_Rico-20141110-000000.ncx3

The simplified catalog is:

  <dataset name="NCEP GFS Puerto_Rico (191km)">
<metadata inherited="true">
<dataset name="Full Collection (Reference / Forecast Time) Dataset" ID="fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/TwoD" urlPath="fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/TwoD">
<documentation type="summary">Two time dimensions: reference and forecast; full access to all GRIB records</documentation>
<dataset name="Best NCEP GFS Puerto_Rico (191km) Time Series" ID="fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/Best" urlPath="fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/Best">
<documentation type="summary">Single time dimension: for each forecast time, use GRIB record with smallest offset from reference time</documentation>
<dataset name="Latest Collection for NCEP GFS Puerto_Rico (191km)" urlPath="latest.xml">
<catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/GFS-Puerto_Rico-20141110-000000.ncx3/catalog.xml" />
<catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/GFS-Puerto_Rico-20141110-060000.ncx3/catalog.xml" />
<catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/fmrc/NCEP/GFS/Puerto_Rico/GFS-Puerto_Rico-20141110-120000.ncx3/catalog.xml" />

The catalogRefs are links to virtual datasets, formed from the collection of records for the specified reference time, and independent of which file stores them.

Example 2 (timePartition="directory"):

Now suppose that we modify the above example and use timePartition="directory":

<featureCollection featureType="GRIB1" name="rdavm partition directory" path="gribCollection/pofp">
<metadata inherited="true">

<collection name="ds083.2-directory" spec="Q:/cdmUnitTest/gribCollections/rdavm/ds083.2/PofP/**/.*grib1" timePartition="directory"/>
<update startup="test" />
<gribConfig datasetTypes="TwoD Latest Best" />
</featureCollection> <featureCollection name="NAM-Polar90" featureType="GRIB" path="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90"> <metadata inherited="true"> <dataFormat>GRIB-2</dataFormat> </metadata> <collection spec="G:/mlode/polar90/.*grib2$" 1) timePartition="file" 2) dateFormatMark="#NAM_Polar_90km_#yyyyMMdd_HHmm" /> 3) <update startup="true" trigger="allow"/> </featureCollection>
  1. The collection is divided into partitions. In this case, each file becomes a seperate partition. In order to use this, each file must contain GRIB records from a single runtime.
  2. The starting time of the partition must be encoded into the filename. One must define a date extractor in the collection specification, or by using a dateFormatMark, as in this example.
  3. In this example, the collection is readied when the server starts up. Manual triggers for updating are enabled.

Resulting Datasets:

A time partition generates one collection dataset, one dataset for each partition, and one dataset for each individual file in the collection:

<dataset name="NAM-Polar90" ID="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90">    
  <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/collection/catalog.xml" xlink:title="collection"/>
  <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/NAM-Polar90_20110301/catalog.xml" xlink:title="NAM-Polar90_20110301">
    <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/NAM-Polar90_20110301/files/catalog.xml" xlink:title="files" />
  <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/NAM-Polar90_20110302/catalog.xml" xlink:title="NAM-Polar90_20110302">
    <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/NAM-Polar90_20110302/files/catalog.xml" xlink:title="files" name="" />
de-referencing the catalogRefs, and simplifying:
<dataset name="NAM-Polar90" ID="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90">
1)<dataset name="NAM-Polar90-collection" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/collection"> 
2)<dataset name="NAM-Polar90_20110301" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/NAM-Polar90_20110301/collection">    
3)  <dataset name="NAM_Polar_90km_20110301_0000.grib2" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/files/NAM_Polar_90km_20110301_0000.grib2"/>    
<dataset name="NAM_Polar_90km_20110301_0600.grib2" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/files/NAM_Polar_90km_20110301_0600.grib2"/> ... </dataset>
4)<dataset name="NAM-Polar90_20110302-collection" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/NAM-Polar90_20110302/collection"> <dataset name="NAM_Polar_90km_20110302_0000.grib2" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/files/NAM_Polar_90km_20110302_0000.grib2"/>
<dataset name="NAM_Polar_90km_20110302_0600.grib2" urlPath="grib/NCEP/NAM/Polar90/files/NAM_Polar_90km_20110302_0600.grib2"/> ... </dataset> ... </dataset>
  1. The overall collection dataset
  2. The first partition collection, with a partitionName = name_startingTime
  3. The files in the first partition
  4. The second partition collection, etc

So the datasets that are generated from a Time Partition with name, path, and partitionName:

dataset catalogRef name path
collection path/collection/catalog.xml name path/name/collection
partitions path/partitionName/catalog.xml partitionName path/partitionName/collection
individual files path/partitionName/files/catalog.xml filename path/files/filename

Example 3 (Multiple Groups) :

When a Grib Collection contains multiple horizontal domains (i.e. distinct Grid Definition Sections (GDS)), each domain gets placed into a seperate group. As a rule, one can't tell if there are seperate domains without reading the files. If you open this collection through the CDM (eg using ToolsUI) you would see a dataset that contains groups. The TDS, however, separates groups into different datasets, so that each dataset has only a single (unnamed, aka root) group.

 <featureCollection name="RFC" featureType="GRIB" path="grib/NPVU/RFC">
   <metadata inherited="true">
   <collection spec="/tds2012data/grib/rfc/ZETA.*grib1$" dateFormatMark="yyyyMMdd#.grib1#"/>
1) <gribConfig>
<gdsHash from="-752078894" to="1193085709"/>
<gdsName hash='-1960629519' groupName='KTUA:Arkansas-Red River RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='-1819879011' groupName='KFWR:West Gulf RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='-1571856555' groupName='KORN:Lower Mississippi RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='-1491065322' groupName='KKRF:Missouri Basin RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='-1017807718' groupName='TSJU:San Juan PR WFO'/>
<gdsName hash='-1003775954' groupName='NCEP-QPE National Mosaic'/>
<gdsName hash='-529497359' groupName='KRHA:Middle Atlantic RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='289752153' groupName='KRSA:California-Nevada RFC-6hr'/>
<gdsName hash='424971237' groupName='KRSA:California-Nevada RFC-1hr'/>
<gdsName hash='511861653' groupName='KTIR:Ohio Basin RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='880498701' groupName='KPTR:Northwest RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='1123818409' groupName='KTAR:Northeast RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='1174418106' groupName='KNES-National Satellite Analysis'/>
<gdsName hash='1193085709' groupName='KMSR:North Central RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='1464276934' groupName='KSTR:Colorado Basin RFC'/>
<gdsName hash='1815048381' groupName='KALR:Southeast RFC'/>
  1. This dataset has many different groups, and we are using a <gribConfig> element to name them (see below for details).

Resulting Datasets:

For each group, this generates one collection dataset, and one dataset for each individual file in the group:

  <dataset name="KALR:Southeast RFC" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/KALR-Southeast-RFC/collection">
    <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NPVU/RFC/KALR-Southeast-RFC/files/catalog.xml" xlink:title="files" name="" />
  <dataset name="KFWR:West Gulf RFC" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/KFWR-West-Gulf-RFC/collection">
    <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NPVU/RFC/KFWR-West-Gulf-RFC/files/catalog.xml" xlink:title="files" name="" />
Note that the groups are sorted by name, and that there is no overall collection for the dataset. Simplifying:
1)<dataset name="KALR:Southeast RFC" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/KALR-Southeast-RFC/collection"> 
2)  <dataset name="ZETA_KALR_NWS_152_20120111.grib1" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/files/ZETA_KALR_NWS_152_20120111.grib1"/>
    <dataset name="ZETA_KALR_NWS_160_20120111.grib1" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/files/ZETA_KALR_NWS_160_20120111.grib1"/>
3)<dataset name="KFWR:West Gulf RFC" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/KFWR-West-Gulf-RFC/collection">
    <dataset name="ZETA_KFWR_NWS_152_20120111.grib1" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/files/ZETA_KFWR_NWS_152_20120111.grib1"/>
    <dataset name="ZETA_KFWR_NWS_161_20120110.grib1" urlPath="grib/NPVU/RFC/files/ZETA_KFWR_NWS_161_20120110.grib1"/>
  1. The first group collection dataset
  2. The files in the first group
  3. The second group collection dataset, etc

So the datasets that are generated from a Grib Collection with groupName and path :

dataset catalogRef name path
group collection   groupName path/groupName/collection
individual files path/groupName/files/catalog.xml filename path/files/filename

Example 4 (Time Partition with Multiple Groups):

Here is a time partitioned dataset with multiple groups:

 <featureCollection name="NCDC-CFSR" featureType="GRIB" path="grib/NCDC/CFSR">
   <metadata inherited="true">
   <collection spec="G:/nomads/cfsr/timeseries/**/.*grb2$"
1)     timePartition="directory"
2)     dateFormatMark="#timeseries/#yyyyMM"/>
   <update startup="true" trigger="allow"/>
3)   <gdsHash from="1450218978" to="1450192070"/>
4)   <gdsName hash='1450192070' groupName='FLX GaussianT382'/>
     <gdsName hash='2079260842' groupName='FLX GaussianT62'/>
5)   <intvFilter excludeZero="true"/>
  1. Partition the files by which directory they are in (the files must be time partitioned by the directories)
  2. One still needs a date extractor from the filename, even when using a directory partition.
  3. Minor errors in GRIB coding can create spurious differernces in the GDS. Here we correct one such problem (see below for details).
  4. Group renaming as in example 2
  5. Exclude GRIB records that have a time coordinate interval of (0,0) (see below for details).

Resulting Datasets:

A time partition with multiple groups generates an overall collection dataset for each group, a collection dataset for each group in each partition, and a dataset for each individual file:

<dataset name="NCDC-CFSR" ID="grib/NCDC/CFSR"> 
1) <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCDC/CFSR/collection/catalog.xml" xlink:title="collection" name="" />
4) <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCDC/CFSR/200808/catalog.xml" xlink:title="200808" name="" />
8) <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCDC/CFSR/200809/catalog.xml" xlink:title="200809" name="" />
de-referencing the catalogRefs, and simplifying:
<dataset name="NCDC-CFSR" ID="grib/NCDC/CFSR">

1)<dataset name="NCDC-CFSR"> 
2)  <dataset name="FLX GaussianT382" urlPath="grib/NCDC/CFSR/NCDC-CFSR/FLX-GaussianT382"/>
3)  <dataset name="FLX GaussianT62" urlPath="grib/NCDC/CFSR/NCDC-CFSR/FLX-GaussianT62">

4)<dataset name="200808" >
5)  <dataset name="FLX GaussianT382" urlPath="grib/NCDC/CFSR/200808/FLX-GaussianT382">
6)     <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCDC/CFSR/200808/FLX-GaussianT382/files/catalog.xml" xlink:title="files" name="" />    

7)  <dataset name="FLX GaussianT62" urlPath="grib/NCDC/CFSR/200808/FLX-GaussianT62"> 
	     <catalogRef xlink:href="/thredds/catalog/grib/NCDC/CFSR/200808/FLX-GaussianT62/files/catalog.xml" xlink:title="files" name="" /> 
8)<dataset name="200809" >

  1. Container for the overall collection datasets
  2. The overall collection for the first group
  3. The overall collection for the second group, etc
  4. Container for the first partition
  5. The collection dataset for the first group of the first partition
  6. The individual files for the first group of the first partition, etc
  7. The collection dataset for the second group of the first partition, etc.
  8. Container for the second partition, etc

So the datasets that are generated from a Time Partition with name, path, groupName, and partitionName:

dataset catalogRef name path
overall collection for group path/groupName/collection/catalog.xml groupName path/name/groupName
collection for partition and group path/partitionName/catalog.xml groupName path/partitionName/groupName
individual files path/partitionName/groupName/files/catalog.xml partitionName/filename path/files/filename

This document is maintained by John Caron and was last updated Oct 2014