Methodology

Data Conversion

In order to view the eight time step files in Data Explorer, the information needed to be undergo two modifications.

The first of these was the translation of the data from a binary to ASCII format readable by IBM DX. In conjunction with this, the reflectivity data needed to be matched with the cooresponding coordinate value.
This was accomplished using a modified version of the provided data viewer, a simple C program called testReader. By altering the output parameters of the program, the coordinate and reflectiving values were placed in to a columnar format, listing the values line by line in this fashion [ coordX coordY coordZ Reflectivity]

This process had the unfortunate result of producing enormous files - files so large that the completely used up all of the available disk space. A method was needed to reduce the size of the files down from 588000 values to something more manageable. This was accomplished by again modifying the testReader program to search the data and discard all reflectivity values of 0. A zero value corresponds to dry air, so the impact of eliminating these values should be negligable on the value of the visualizations.

IBM Data Explorer

IBM's Data Explorer visualization tool was the chosen method for making the data viewable. This application provides a Visual Program Editor that allows custom visualization applications to be created using pre-existing modules or modules programmed by a user. Once imported into Data Explorer, the data was first visualized with the default renderer. As the data was refined new program modules were added to enhance the visual result. Emphasis was placed on color, glyphs, view angle, and animation when created visualizations of the data set.

Animation

All animations were created by capturing individual images of each time step. These images were then imported into Adoby Imageready and output as animated gif files.