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NCAR Advancing the NCAR Strategic Plan  

Building NCAR's Digital Media Catalog


  Data Portal
  Earth System Grid
  Media Catalog




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.

Project Status

A 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.



QuickTime | Real | MPEG


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.


The NCAR Digital Media Catalog is being upgraded to a full-fledged photo asset management system called Hyperion which will provide search functionality as well as an e-commerce component to enable people outside UCAR/NCAR to purchase the rights to high resolution images. Low resolution images will be free to the public. This project is being led by the UCAR Visual Communications group in collaboration with the NCAR Library.

Prototypes & Development Sites

Future Direction

Access Grid events can be recorded and played back. We plan to make select Access Grid events and scientific presentations available for on-demand video streaming. Eventually, we will have a growing catalog of video presentations for visitors to browse and view.


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