2015 McIDAS Users’ Group Meeting

2015 MUG Meeting Group photo

2015 MUG Meeting Group photo. Credit: Bill Bellon, SSEC.

This week the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosts the 2015 McIDAS Users’ Group (MUG) Meeting from June 8-11, 2015. Nearly 40 attendees from across the country and around the globe will gather in Madison to learn about the latest developments and uses of McIDAS (Man computer Interactive Data Access System), a revolutionary visualization and data analysis software developed at SSEC.

First released in 1973, McIDAS offered a new way of displaying, analyzing, interpreting, acquiring, and managing geophysical data. Over the years, as the number of innovations within McIDAS grew, so did the number of sites using the software. To support these users, SSEC formed the MUG in 1989. Each site pays a yearly subscription fee to join and maintain membership within the MUG, which helps support the maintenance and continued development of the McIDAS software, as well as the MUG meetings.

Of the roughly 40 current MUG sites, about a dozen are sending representatives to attend this year’s meeting, including both newcomers and seasoned McIDAS users.

“It’s a good chance for users to come together… and to get face-to-face contact with us,” Becky Schaffer, McIDAS Program Manager, said of the MUG meetings.

Many of this year’s presenters are from SSEC’s MUG team, providing updates on and demonstrations with the software. For example, with the recent launch of Himawari-8 – the Japanese geostationary satellite – and the launch of GOES-R next year, McIDAS is being updated to accommodate these new data types.

The agenda also includes presentations from researchers at SSEC and users at other sites, showcasing the novel and interesting ways in which they use McIDAS. Schaffer noted that an interesting presentation from NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) at the last MUG meeting highlighted how JSC has used McIDAS for nearly three decades.

In addition to a day and a half of presentations, attendees also had the option of participating in a two-day workshop, with detailed instruction on either the basics of McIDAS-V or scripting in McIDAS-V, the latest version of the software. SSEC’s Jay Heinzelman, Barry Roth, and Bob Carp will lead the basics workshop, while Rick Kohrs, Joleen Feltz, Mike Hiley, and Kevin Hallock will teach the scripting workshop.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, the MUG team will begin incorporating feedback into their software development plans. And, before long, it will be time to start thinking about the next MUG meeting, tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2016.

More information on McIDAS and the MUG can be found on SSEC’s website: http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/mcidas/

by Leanne Avila