Category "Data"

The IDL DataPoint has an article about native OPeNDAP support in IDL 8.2. This allows the use of IDL’s netCDF API to access remote data served via the DAP protocol (this is new for the Mac on 8.2, already present in Linux, and still not working on Windows as I mentioned in my review of IDL 8.2).

Mark shows an example of how to access some AIRS data at The HDF Group’s OPeNDAP-enabled server. I have some netCDF bindings that will work for remote data as long as the underlying library is capable; the seven NCDF_OPEN, NCDF_VARID, and NCDF_VARGET commands in the example can be replaced with:

IDL> topo = tx_nc_getdata(url, 'TopographyU274')
IDL> latitude = tx_nc_getdata(url, 'LatitudeU271')
IDL> longitude = tx_nc_getdata(url, 'LongitudeU272')

Contact me if you are interested.

NASA is hosting a series of challenges relating to pulling information from its collection of over 100 terabytes of data stored in its planetary data system (PDS):

But, while rich in depth and breath, the PDS databases have developed in a disparate fashion over the years with different architectures and formats for different scientific needs; thereby making acquisition of data problematic!

So, NASA is holding a series of Challenges to generate some simply awesome ideas for mobile or web based applications that will appeal to general users, to search and display compelling facts about the data. Instead of just scientists, our audience will be the millions of school age students, their teachers and parents, game designers and general civilians of the world. We want to deliver this incredible data to users in a way that excites them – and thus, to help them understand the value and potential of this data.

Prizes range from $500 to $10,000, as well as being named “Space Coder of the Galaxy 2012”. Some contests are restricted to teachers or high school students.

While catching up on recent TED talks, I watched two on topics of interest to this website: one focused on data, Tim Berners-Lee’s “The year open data went worldwide”, and one demonstrating a novel visualization system, Gary Flake’s “Is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?”.

Wired has an article about an informal group of NASA insiders and outsiders trying to free NASA data:

A bunch of data nerds from inside and outside NASA will gather at a house in Cupertino, California called the Rainbow Mansion this Saturday to hack through the agency’s data jungles.

The event isn’t NASA-sponsored. None of the bureaucracy is involved at all. Instead, the event is being coordinated by a small group of people who just love the space program and want to help open up the agency’s troves of information.

I find several aspects of the article that are fascinating—opening up NASA data, the Sunlight Foundation’s Great American Hackathon, and TinyApps (motto: “Never spend more than 4 hours on the first release.”).