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Visualizing large data sets in the earth sciences

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2 Author(s)
Hibbard, W. ; Space Sci. & Eng. Center, Wisconsin Univ., Madison, WI, USA ; Santek, D.

The authors describe the capabilities of McIDAS , an interactive visualization system that is vastly increasing the ability of earth scientists to manage and analyze data from remote sensing instruments and numerical simulation models. McIDAS provides animated three-dimensional images and highly interactive displays. The software can manage, analyze, and visualize large data sets that span many physical variables (such as temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind speed), as well as time and three spatial dimensions. The McIDAS system manages data from at least 100 different sources. The data management tools consist of data structures for storing different data types in files, libraries of routines for accessing these data structures, system commands for performing housekeeping functions on the data files, and reformatting programs for converting external data to the system's data structures. The McIDAS tools for three-dimensional visualization of meteorological data run on an IBM mainframe and can load up to 128-frame animation sequences into the workstations. A highly interactive version of the system can provide an interactive window into data sets containing tens of millions of points produced by numerical models and remote sensing instruments. The visualizations are being used for teaching as well as by scientists.<>

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 8 )

Date of Publication:

Aug. 1989

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