McIDAS Celebrates 30th Anniversary

October 2003 marks the 30th anniversary of the McIDAS (Man computer Interactive Data Access System) software. In development since 1970 and first used to display and analyze satellite data in 1973 [Fig. 1], it is still used by meteorological agencies around the world to display and manipulate weather data. We believe that McIDAS may be the oldest, continually used, and supported software package in existence anywhere. As shown in Figure 2 below, McIDAS has come a long way in those 30 years.

Early McIDAS

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Figure 1: 1973: Photograph of hand-traced radar echoes overlaid on a McIDAS computer display of an ATS-III visible satellite image.
  Current McIDAS

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Figure 2: 2003: Satellite-derived winds overlaid on a GOES-East water vapor image, with color-enhanced sea surface temperatures.

A chronology of the McIDAS evolution and milestones can be found in the paper:

Lazzara, M. A., J. Benson, R. Fox, D. Laitsch, J. Rueden, D. Santek, D. Wade, T. Whittaker, J. T. Young, 1999: The Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS): 25 Years of Interactive Processing. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Jan 1999. (PDF)

Last Updated:
July 12, 2005
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