As part of our work funded through the Earth System Grid Center for Enabling Technologies (ESG-CET) project, we have developed a suite of flexible web-based data access and scientific visualization tools that facilitate direct model-to-model comparisons and visualizations. These new tools break down many of the traditional barriers that have inhibited model inter-comparisons such as the vast size of the datasets; physically distributed files; differing and sometimes challenging coordinate systems; and the subtle metadata that explains the differences between model configurations. This paper will focus on one of the premier tools in the LAS suite for inter-comparison called the Interactive Earth Science Data Visualization Gallery, known as vizGal.
The vizGal takes advantage of the remote data sub-setting capabilities of OPeNDAP and server-side analysis available via F-TDS to move only the minimum data necessary to create the product. Additionally, the LAS system uses a sophisticated cache system to reuse plots and computations whenever possible. The vizGal user interface, which offers a level of interactivity that rivals desktop applications, was built using the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). The paper will explore how we overcame the challenge of building highly interactive software in a Web environment and of visualizing and performing analysis on large remote data collections.