NCAR has a wealth of digital media, from photos to animated 3D
visualizations. We need to catalog and share this content openly
for use in education, multimedia presentations, and to tell the
story of atmospheric research to the world at large.
Visualization Catalog is currently under development
which will store detailed metadata about each NCAR scientific visualization
in a relational database, and provide a flexible web interface for
searching and browsing visualizations by any criteria of interest.
A metadata specification draft has been completed as well as wireframe
interface prototypes. Database development and coding will begin
in mid-September with an expected completion date in November.
A Streaming Video service will be announced
in September/October. In collaboration with the Web Engineering
group (WEG), the Visualization & Enabling Technologies group
(VETS) has been researching and testing streaming video formats
and servers. Using a centralized, WEG-managed Real Networks Helix
Server, any UCAR or NCAR web author will be able to provide streaming
video content on their website in Real, QuickTime or Windows Media
Player formats. We are also recommending MPEG downloads be offered
for UNIX users who do not have the Real player installed. A streaming
video guidelines document is available and the server is currently
accessible within the UCAR network. VETS is currently encoding all
of it's MPEG visualizations for both QuickTime and Real streaming.
Since many VETS visualizations are over 20 MB in size, streaming
video is an essential improvement in the user experience since viewing
starts almost instantaneously instead of at the end of a long download.