ATMOWeb Offers WWW/Java-Based Access to AE Data

Volume 14, Number 3, September 1998


By Natalia Papitashvili

The composition and temperature data produced by the NASA Atmospheric Explorer-C, -D, and -E spacecraft in the 1970's remain very important in coming to understand the Earth's ionosphere and upper atmosphere better. To facilitate access to and use of these data, NSSDC created in 1995 a CD- ROM holding 15-sec resolution "unified-abstract" AE data plus selected other data.

This article announces a new WWW-based interface to these data, ATMOWeb, which provides graphical browsing and numeric retrieval of any subsets of these data.

As with the NSSDC COHOWeb and OMNIWeb services ATMOWeb provides data listing and plotting options. These listings and options allow users to display and then to download (using the Web browser's capabilities) a subset of the data by specifying the time interval and any combination of parameters for each of the spacecraft.

However, unlike COHOWeb and OMNIWeb, which are based on CDF format and IDL graphics, ATMOWeb is an interface to data that are available in ASCII on the NSSDC ANON/FTP site. Thus these data can also be FTP-downloaded by users independent of ATOMWeb.

The data retrieval capabilities of ATMOWeb are realized through the C/C++ language, but its graphic capabilities are based on Java applets that are created and built into the Web home page by a C-based script. The applet runs on the user's local computer and reads data remotely from the NSSDC ANON/FTP server (Java language can easily provide such a service.) The suggested approach does not use CPU time on the NSSDC Web-server for plotting of data.

Additionally, this Java graphics applet enables users to specify up to four parameters per screen to be plotted. These parameters can be selected from the main ATMOWeb home page (which is statically displayed on the user's computer).

In the future NSSDC plans to expand this service to data from other spacecraft. ATMOWeb is available at URL http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/atmoweb/ae.html.

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