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.