Offsite links to data sources, data formats, programming resources, and other topics which may be of interest.

Data Sources


When plotting some of our other data, it can be very nice to have just a simple outline of the coast also to help put things in context.

Coastline Extractor
This page lets you enter in the longitude-latitude bounds of the window your interested in and it (optionally) shows you a picture of the shoreline and gives you the dataset describing it in one of several formats. The "Matlab" format is really just a simple text file, which is easy to convert into Candis.


NASA's Quick Scatterometter. The QuikSCAT satellite measures the speed and direction of winds over the ocean by reflecting microwaves off of little water waves.

Missions: Seawinds on QuikSCAT
The WINDS page about the QuikSCAT mission. Gives a little history and some short descriptions of equipment and objectives and such.
Index of
Direct access to the Level 3 processed QuikSCAT data, and a more in depth description of the project, including meanings of flags and units of measurement in the data sets.

Hurricane Tracks

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provide some formatted ASCII files of the "best" track of hurricanes in the Atlantic and the Eastern North Pacific. These are called HURDAT files. These are available from the NHC/TPC Archive of Past Hurricane Seasons. There's also a page explaining the HURDAT format.


Remote Sensing Systems





Data Formats


network Common Data Format by Unidata. Some of the software/languages we use work well with netCDF, and it's easy to convert back and forth between Candis and netCDF format.


Hierarchical Data Format by NCSA. Some of the data we've run into is in HDF format.

Programming and Scripting


Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language, that combines power with clear syntax. An expansive standard library is distributed with the language.

Bourne Shell

An Introduction to the Unix Shell Steve Bourne's original tutorial.


Gri is a command-driven language for scientific graphics programming. One data format it supports is netCDF.


Make is a tool which controls the generation of files. Make gets its knowledge of how to build your target file from a file called the makefile, which lists each of the target files and how to compute it from other files. There are several versions of make. We have GNU make.


"Our" lab by Ian Searle

Rlab is a high-level programming language whose focus is matrix math. It is no longer under active development. It is Matlab like, but is not intended to be a Matlab clone.


GNU Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations, and is mostly compatible with Matlab.