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I am working with NetCDF files using R & Matlab and I would like to know if the GIS community is using them. I know that ArcGIS can open & display, however most of the times the results are not good, since the structure of the netcdf files is always different.

I would like to know what kind of software/add-ons are you using to open & display netcdf files? do you extract any geographic+time series info?

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I write my own netCDF files, then create the rasters from them using the tools inside ArcGIS and create featureclasses by using the internal data for the geographies. –  Hairy Dec 15 '11 at 9:46
    
unidata provides large list of available tools with links and descriptions. –  radek Mar 9 '12 at 18:37

3 Answers 3

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What I do in R is use the ncdf package to read the data into R, which puts the data into a multidimensional array. Then I use the plyr package combined with basic R tools to perform any processing steps (temporal average, extract timeseries). Finally, I visualize my results using the ggplot2 package. For more information on spatial data in R, please visit the R Spatial Taskview. A particularly interesting package for satellite raster data is the raster package.

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Here are a couple of tools that may interest you:

  • A NetCDF analysis tool called ToolsUI (FYI, this is a Java Webstart link)

  • Depending on your data you may wish to consider the IDV

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We don't encounter them much except out of the Bureau of Meteorology. When we do I tend to use the Panoply netCDF, HDF and GRIB Data Viewer from NASA to initially view the data, and then the Python netcdf4-python library to actually interact with the data - (also using scipy, numpy, etc. for calculations).

As for extrcting time series data, it tends to be for a single point across time, so the geography is ignored, or a single time slice, so time is ignored. You mentioned viewing the data in ArcGIS - to do this as a raster I mostly cheat and extract each time slice as a numpy array, and then put them together as a multilayered TIF using GDAL.

Hope this helps!

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I would not call using numpy cheating :), I would call that working efficiently. –  Paul Hiemstra Dec 16 '11 at 10:41

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