OGC Seeks Comments on NetCDF Climate and Forecast Data Encoding Standards

Lance McKee
Senior Staff Writer
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
tel: +1-508-655-5858
Tuesday, 7 September 2010 UTC

September 7, 2010 - The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) members are seeking comments on OGC candidate standards Network Common Data Form (NetCDF) Core Encoding Standard, and NetCDF Binary Encoding Extension Standard - NetCDF Classic and 64-bit Offset Format.

NetCDF (network Common Data Form) can be used to communicate and store many kinds of multidimensional data, although it was originally developed for the Earth science community. The NetCDF data model is particularly well suited to providing data in forms familiar to atmospheric and oceanic scientists: namely, as sets of related arrays. NetCDF is self-documenting, which means it can associate various physical quantities (such as location, pressure and temperature) with spatio-temporal locations (such as points at specific latitudes, longitudes, vertical levels, and times). Climate and Forecast (CF) Metadata Conventions are often used in conjunction with NetCDF as a means of specifying the semantic information that promotes the processing and sharing of climate and forecast data created with the NetCDF API. The semantic metadata is conveyed internally within the NetCDF datasets.

NetCDF is developed, maintained and actively supported by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) (www.ucar.edu).  This standard has been formally recognized by US Government NASA and NOAA standards bodies. With the other OGC members listed below, UCAR has introduced NetCDF as a candidate OGC standard to encourage broader international use and greater interoperability among clients and servers interchanging data in binary form. This is the initial step in a longer-term plan for establishing CF-netCDF as an OGC standard for binary encoding. This will enable standard delivery of data in binary form via several OGC service interface standards, including the OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS), Web Feature Service (WFS), and Sensor Observation Service (SOS) Interface Standards.

The following organizations submitted these candidate standards to the OGC:

  • IMAA-CNR Italy
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) UK
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
  • US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The candidate OGC standards and information about submitting comments on this document are available at http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/requests/71. The public comment period closes on October 7, 2010.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 395 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC Standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/contact.