The most significant difference in the user interface is the IDV Dashboard which was created to alleviate the problem of the IDV opening numerous popup windows. The response to this new feature is overwhelmingly positive. The Dashboard is a dock for the Data Chooser, Field Selector, and the Display Control windows. It also provides quick access to users' favorite bundles, history menus, and saved data sources.
In response to requests from the Unidata User's Committee and the IDV Steering Committee, much of the work on the IDV before the 2.0 release focused on improving performance. There are several bottlenecks that affect performance – system configuration, software performance, dataset size and network latency. While a solution for system configuration is to upgrade to the latest and fastest configurations, even the best configured desktop systems are not going to handle the large datasets being produced on multi-processor clusters. One of the new features in the 2.0 release is the ability to spatially subset these large datasets on the fly. This allows users to select sub-regions of model and observed data from the large collections. Users on slow network links can reduce the amount of data through this subsetting capability. Another focus of the 2.0 development was improving the performance of the underlying VisAD library which is used for rendering and data manipulation. In some cases, rendering speed doubled through enhancements to that software layer.
One of the strengths of the IDV is its ability to access large data holdings on remote servers through a variety of access protocols. The 2.0 release added remote access to NEXRAD Level II and Level III data on THREDDS Data Servers (TDS) located throughout the Unidata community. The TDS and associated catalogs are being implemented at national centers such as NCDC making these data available directly into the IDV. The IDV can also access images from the increasingly popular Web Map Servers (WMS) located across the internet.
In addition to the traditional Unidata university setting, the IDV is being used as an analysis and visualizations tool for several high-profile projects in the geosciences. It is the main visualization tool in the Linked Environments for Atmospheric Discovery (LEAD) project for displaying output from localized modeling experiments. The GEON project is making use of the IDV for displaying geophysical data such as earthquake epicenters, GPS velocity vectors and mantle convection models. The Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) is using the IDV and VisAD as the underpinnings for the next version of McIDAS which will have tools for accessing and manipulating hyper-spectral satellite data.
Supplementary URL: http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/idv