Unidata was formed nearly 30 years ago at the request of the university atmospheric science community (and funded by the NSF) to facilitate access to a broad range of observation and forecast data (e.g., station, satellite, radar, and model) and to support the community's use of that data.
Unidata works with the broad Earth Science community, including agencies like NOAA's National Weather Service and other data providers, to gain access to important datasets and make them widely available. Data are made available to the community in two main ways. First, the IDD/LDM system pushes data to over 200 institutions around the world in near real-time (generally with sub-second latencies, depending on a sites network capacity) for local access. Second, Unidata works to make sure data are available for remote access through various web services such as OPeNDAP and OGC WMS.
Unidata provides and supports software tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing data. For managing data, Unidata provides and supports a number of software packages including netCDF, LDM, and THREDDS Data Server (TDS). For analysis and visualization, Unidata provides and supports the IDV, GEMPAK, McIDAS-X, and AWIPS II. Unidata developed many of these software tools, but also provides support for a number of externally developed software tools (e.g., AWIPS II, GEMPAK, and McIDAS). All software developed at Unidata is free and open source software (FOSS).
Besides providing software development and support, Unidata works to engage with geoscience educators and researchers by offering training, hosting workshops, and serving as their advocate in securing open data access.
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