Skip to Main Content
Many atmospheric and oceanographic data sets are being archived in hierarchical data format (HDF). HDF is self-documenting and enables the storage of large scientific data sets in a common, efficient machine-independent binary format. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) along with the Atmospheric Sciences Competency at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), have developed an interactive visualization and analysis tool, view_HDF was initially developed for the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) project at NASA/LaRC, then later extended to HDF files in general. This tool is designed to work with any HDF file and provides a broad range of visualization and analysis capabilities that allow researchers to select, analyze, and manipulate information stored in HDF files. view_HDF can also read column formatted ASCII text. Examples of the tool's versatility and utility are presented using atmospheric and oceanographic data sets. The included data products come from the CERES, TOPEX/Poseidon, MODIS, and Pathfinder missions. From these data products, view_HDF is demonstrated to extract and geolocate, sea surface height, sea surface temperature, scene identification, and wind speed over ocean for a common data day. The software is written in interactive data language (IDL), and although originally developed on a UNIX platform, it has been ported to Microsoft Windows environment. It should be portable from NASA/LaRC Atmospheric Sciences Data Center at http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/HPDOCS/view_hdf.html. The software packages also contain a user's guide in PDF and a sample data file.