I want to install the netCDF plugin for Geoserver, in order to publish radar data in netCDF format. I'm following the instructions listed at Geosolutions IT Training. I have to add




to the setenv.bat.

As stated in the training:

Support for timestamp is not part of the DBF standard (used in shapefile for attributes). The DBF standard only supports Date, and only few applications understand it. As long as shapefiles are only used for GeoServer input that is not a problem, but the above setting will cause issues if you have WFS enabled and users also download shapefiles as GetFeature output: if the feature type extracted has timestamps, then the generated shapefile will have as well, making it difficult to use the generated shapefile in desktop applications. As a rule of thumb, if you also need WFS support it is advisable to use an external store (PostGIS, Oracle) instead of shapefile. Of course, if all that’s needed is a date, using shapefile as an index without the above property is fine as well.

I'm not sure I understand this correctly..so my question is:

Adding datetime=true in the setenv.bat will affect my capability to download WFS features in a .shp format, even if they don't have a Date field?

2 Answers 2


The DBF standard use only year, month and day, and most of the tools expected to have dates only in this format.

If you add hours and minutes, your clients may not understand this format and will not able to use your data.

So you have to ask to whom the data are intended : if it is an internal use, it is OK. If you want external (and unknown) users to use it, it could be problematic.


In my experience, you can add the NetCDF plugin for GeoServer and loading NetCDF files "just works". The files do need to have relative time set (time since date) for the time dimension to work.

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