NetCDF Reader/Plotter

Sometimes data formats can be a real pain. In the last few days I have been trying to find a way to conveniently open and plot NetCDF files. Matlab was a pain, ENVI couldn’t help. I know it can be done, relatively easily in IDL, but for various reasons I wanted another solution.

Panoply is a Java based tool for working with NetCDF and Heirarchical Data Format (HDF) files. The program is written by Robert B. Schmunk of the Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA. The program is simple and limited in its functionality. However, it does what I need, extremely well. Panoply allows you to open and plot data: the plot tools are excellent. You can also explore the data values in the array and zonal averages. There is an impressive range of map projections available to change the display.

Azimuthal Equal Area projection centred on 45S 0E


You can export data or save plots in a range of formats, including CSV, PNG, TIFF and PostScript. Furthermore, you can create and save animations.

All in all Panoply is an excellent tool. Not flashy, no waste, just very good at doing what it was designed for. Thank you Dr Schmunk!

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