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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Documentation of the U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Measurement Database

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Software Necessary for Use of Information in the Database

A method of reading Unidata's NetCDF format is required to read the files in this database. We have taken a multiplatform, open-source approach to the storage and access of the files, to make the database accessible from PC, Mac, and UNIX operating systems. A recent computer with more than 1 gigabyte of memory is desirable for the larger files.

The simplest way to view the attributes and variables of a data file is to employ a Web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome); click the "data access via THREDDS" link above the map on each experiment page, then double click the name of the file to display an OPeNDAP view of the attributes and variables.

The freely distributed Java program developed at PMEL called “ncBrowse” provides the capability to view the data attributes and variables, and to generate plots of the data stored in EPIC-compliant NetCDF files. ncBrowse is useful for examining data after files of interest have been selected and downloaded, perhaps through use of the OPeNDAP viewer to choose the pertinent ones.

The CMGP employs MATLAB’s native NetCDF access functions to read, write, and access NetCDF data. Python modules are also available to read and write NetCDF and perform mathematical analysis. ncBrowse, MATLAB’s NetCDF functions, and the Python NetCDF4 module can all access data by using the uniform resource locator (URL) of the file as well as by accessing a local file. Solutions should be chosen on the basis of the user's locally installed software.

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