About McIDAS         McIDAS-V        

About McIDAS

McIDAS (Man computer Interactive Data Access System) is a suite of sophisticated software packages for use with geophysical data, such as satellite and radar imagery, in-situ observational reports, and gridded numerical forecasts. McIDAS has been in use and under continual development by the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1973. [McIDAS History]

The McIDAS packages perform a wide variety of functions with these data. Those functions include acquiring, displaying (static and time-lapse), analyzing, interpreting and managing the data. Designed to handle large amounts of data in a convenient manner, the McIDAS packages are a vast resource of image-processing and applications programs and subroutines. McIDAS hardware and software are used by a network of users around the world.

The four main packages, McIDAS-V, McIDAS-X, McIDAS-XCD and SSEC Data Ingestor, are described below.


McIDAS-V is a free, open source, visualization and data analysis software package that is the next generation in SSEC's 40 year history of sophisticated McIDAS software packages. McIDAS-V displays weather satellite (including hyperspectral) and other geophysical data in 2- and 3-dimensions. McIDAS-V can also analyze and manipulate the data with its powerful mathematical functions. McIDAS-V is built on SSEC's VisAD and Unidata's IDV libraries, and contains "Bridge" software that enables McIDAS-X users to run their commands and tasks in the McIDAS-V environment. The functionality of SSEC's HYDRA software package is also being integrated into McIDAS-V for viewing and analyzing hyperspectral satellite data.

See the McIDAS-V software page for the available versions. User support is available through the McIDAS-V Support Forums. Only registered users can post on the forums; however, anyone can view the forums and their contents (i.e., visit as an unregistered "Guest").


McIDAS-X is SSEC's sophisticated package used for visualization and manipulation of geophysical data in a wide variety of formats. Typical data types include geostationary and polar orbiting meteorological satellites, NEXRAD radar, surface and upper-air observations, gridded numerical forecasts, NOAAPORT text products, and data from special observing networks. The McIDAS-X package is designed to work in both real-time operational and in research environments.

Visit the links below for additional information about McIDAS-X.

See the McIDAS-X software page for the available versions. Only McIDAS Users' Group (MUG) members subscribed to the McIDAS-X participation category can download the McIDAS-X software.


McIDAS-XCD (McIDAS-X Conventional data Decoder) enables workstations running McIDAS-X to process and serve the NWSTG/NCEP channel of the National Weather Service NOAAPORT broadcast. McIDAS-XCD stores and serves its data in formats that are compatible with McIDAS-X. Thus, users of the data normally run McIDAS-X to display, analyze and interpret the data.

See Chapter 1 of the McIDAS-XCD Administrator's Guide for more information about McIDAS-XCD.

See the McIDAS-XCD software page for the available versions. See the NOAAPORT Receive System page for information about the NOAAPORT ingest system. Only McIDAS Users' Group (MUG) members subscribed to the McIDAS-XCD participation category can download the McIDAS-XCD software.

SSEC Data Ingestor

The SSEC Data Ingestor (a.k.a SDI-104 or SDI) is a reliable, low-maintenance weather satellite ingestor. The SDI was designed for the collection of research-quality data from geostationary satellites such as GOES, and polar-orbiting satellites such as POES.

See the SDI Information page for more information about the available data types, features and equipment.

See the SDI software page for the available versions. Only McIDAS Users' Group (MUG) members subscribed to the SDI participation category can download the SDI software.