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Re: Supporting other data formats

On Apr 14, 2005, at 9:12 PM, John Caron wrote:

Tennessee Leeuwenburg wrote:

Hi guys,

We're looking at phase two of the project I'm working on at the moment. Phase one involved hooking up our weirdo database to OpenDAP, and it looks that that will be a success. There's one thing that's not as wonderful as we might hope, and a couple of cool extra things we'd like to do.

In order to cope with observational data stored in BUFR format, we've had to write scripts for conversion to NetCDF prior to serving it with thredds. I don't really like messing about in thredds code if I can help it, on account of it makes code maintainance that much harder. So we convert to NetCDF on a product-by-product basis. But it would be way cool if we could serve BUFR data more generally and without the conversion step. So my question is : does anyone on this list care much about BUFR data, and is anyone thinking much about how it might fit into an OpenDAP context?

What kind of data is stored in BUFR?

We have an "I/O service provider" framework in netcdf-java version 2.2, where you can read non-native files as if they are netcdf files.

This sounds really cool! Does this work by subclassing some generic access methods? This would make all sorts of one-off servers easy for us to write.


We have done GRIB files in this way, among others. It would probably be very cool to be able to do that for BUFR files. If you're interested i can tell you more.

The other angle is from the GIS world rather than the data sharing world. We'd love to publish some of our data sets in such a way that GIS packages can read them. To the best of my knowledge, no GIS package reads OpenDAP or even NetCDF. This means we've either got to do a conversion step from NetCDF into something that the GIS packages can read, and then serve it out using a different server - like a shapefile server for instance. So we would have to choose specific products to make available, provide shapefile derivatives from our hi-res NetCDF data, and tell people to go look there. It's not the worst plan I've ever heard, but has anyone here heard about any efforts to integrate OpenDAP more tightly with GIS software?

The next version of the THREDDS server will have OpenDAP integrated into it. It will also have an experimental WCS server for gridded data. The idea is that anything that can be read in through netcdf-java version 2.2 can be served through opendap. If theres enough georeferencing, these can also be served through WCS. Again it would be cool to extend this to a WFS server for features, although it would be a lot of work.

We are also working with ESRI on their project to read in netcdf gridded files, and another project with GDAL/Cadcorp experimenting with netcdf over WCS. Still both in research stage.

James Gallagher                jgallagher at opendap.org
OPeNDAP, Inc                   406.783.8663

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