2.2 McIDAS: Visualizing Weather Data for Nearly One-half Century!

Monday, 13 January 2020: 10:45 AM
104A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
D. A. Santek, CIMSS, Madison, WI; and B. schaffer, M. A. Lazzara, and S. S. Lindstrom

In development since the early 1970s, the Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) has been in use for nearly 50 years. From its beginnings in October 1973 at the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, McIDAS has been used to visualize satellite data and integrate it with other weather information and geophysical parameters. It is the premier software package for accessing and manipulating real-time weather satellite data, as evidenced by its use at NOAA, and other weather service, research, and commercial entities worldwide.

The software was originally developed on a Datacraft /5 computer and has gone through four major hardware configuration changes spanning nearly five decades. These adaptations and continued updates for new satellite platforms, observational datasets, and numerical model output have resulted in a longevity that is rare. McIDAS is one of the oldest, continually supported software packages still in use today.

We will report on early visualizations of weather and satellite data developed at SSEC and its growth as an interactive processing system. Significant milestones in the history of the McIDAS software will be outlined and how it affected the use of satellite data in research, forecasting, and operational environments. A glimpse of the future will be provided as McIDAS approaches its 50thyear in service to the meteorological community.

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