Cartopy and Tephi: Open source Python packages for visualising geospatial and thermodynamic data

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Bill Little, Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom; and R. Hattersley

Handout (3.0 MB)

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. At the UK Met Office the importance of using visualisation to clearly communicate scientific data is paramount to its scientists, forecasters and customers.

Developing geospatial software to visualise the oceanographic or atmospheric data from a General Circulation Model on a global scale is challenging. Particularly when considering the cartographic issues surrounding the dateline and the singularities of the poles.

Cartopy is a Python package which addresses these issues head-on and builds upon the capability of Proj.4 to provide object oriented coordinate reference systems for the transformation and visualisation of raster and vector geospatial data. Cartopy has been seamlessly integrated with matplotlib using an intuitive interface, thus leveraging the power of matplotlib and deliver publication quality maps.

Tephi was born out of a simple support request by a scientist with a need to quickly and easily visualise historical radiosonde data. It is a lightweight Python package building upon the capabilities of NumPy and matplotlib to provide pan and zoom tephigram plotting. It also supports wind barb observations and provides a suite of interactive analysis tools.

Both Cartopy and Tephi have been released by the UK Met Office as open source Python packages under an LGPL license to enable free collaboration for and development by the scientific community.

This poster will showcase some of the key capabilities of Cartopy and Tephi; reinforcing why a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.