1.0 What is McIDAS?
The Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) is a suite of applications for
analyzing and displaying meteorological data for research and education.
McIDAS has been in use and under continual development by the University
of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) since
1972. The Unidata McIDAS software (a superset of SSEC McIDAS) has
been under development since 1985 and in distribution since 1988. The
software can be used with conventional observational, satellite, and
grid-point data. Unidata distributes a version of McIDAS
(McIDAS-X) for a variety of platforms running Unix, Linux, and MacOS-X
(see platform information).
Unidata McIDAS-X software can use data included in a data stream
that is generated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space
Science and Engineering Center and subsidized by the National Science
Foundation through the Unidata Program. This datastream has for years
provided the only source of fully navigated satellite data generally
accessible to the university community in near-realtime (this is
changing, however, with the growing availability of GINI imagery
Unidata IDD Data Streams Containing Imagery
presents information on the products currently available to Unidata IDD
users including those in the Unidata-Wisconsin datastream.
Internet Data Distribution (IDD)
system provides access to an even greater range
of data. Sites using the McIDAS-X software can make use of this
data by installation of an add-on package of decoders called McIDAS-XCD.
Unidata bundles McIDAS-XCD with its releases of McIDAS. McIDAS-XCD
allows sites to decode all Family of Services/NOAAPORT and High-Resolution data
service data for display with the McIDAS.
- Multiple data types. McIDAS may be used to analyze the
full range of meteorological data: conventional observations, FSL wind profiler,
NLDN lightning, gridded numerical forecast, NEXRAD radar, satellite data, etc.
- Access to satellite imagery. The McIDAS software can be used to
analyze any of the major satellite data sets: GOES, POES, METEOSAT, GMS,
MODIS, FY-2, etc. McIDAS allows the user to:
- view a time sequence of real-time satellite images
- track cloud motions
- color enhance displayed images
- combine satellite imagery in a variety of ways to create products
- Standard meteorological analysis programs. The software can
perform standard meteorological analyses for conventional observation and
grid-point data. McIDAS allows the user to:
- overlay surface and upper air contoured analyses on satellite imagery
- calculate derived parameters
- display thermodynamic diagrams
- Fully navigated displays. All earth-depicting displays
produced by McIDAS are fully navigated; earth positioning is available for
every point on the screen.
- Multiple visualizations. Observational data can be analyzed
into grid-point data, and grid-point data can be transformed into image
- Multiple graphic overlays.
- Remapping of images into other coordinate projections.
- Multiple frames and windows. McIDAS has multiple frames for
image and graphic displays and multiple windows for text; the number of frames
is defined by the user and limited only by workstation resources.
- Image and graphic storage. McIDAS can store images and
graphics in internal memory for quick redisplay and for combining displays
into an animation.
- Scheduled operations. McIDAS includes a scheduler facility that
allows sites to create analyses at user-specified times.
- Tools for site-specific software development.