XMDF Analyst is a new technology that provides visualization of scientific and engineering (S&E) data within a commercial Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. This data is created by complex multi-dimensional numerical modeling and simulation software typically run on large servers and supercomputers. These large datasets are both spatial and temporal in nature and occur in a wide range of data models/structures, dimensionality, and formats. Current applications that process S&E data tend to be specialized applications tailored to specific sub-domains and used by modeling experts. As such, these applications have limited capabilities for integration with other mapping and geographic analysis systems. Commercial GIS software provides rich support for mapping, geographic data handling, spatial query, and geographic analysis, but does not include native and comprehensive support for integration of S&E data.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has developed a data standard, “XMDF”, to develop, store, and manage all their enterprise scientific and engineering information resulting from various models and finite element analysis. XMDF is a superset of the industry standard HDF5 format. XMDF files are written and read by a wide variety of the modeling software tools used by the Corps of Engineers. The Corps’ need was to have access to the information stored in these files via ArcGIS, the software more commonly used by the community of planning engineers.
Ultra Electronics, ProLogic developed an extension that natively accesses and visualizes this spatio- temporal information with ArcMap and ArcGlobe applications. The extension reads the metadata in the XMDF file and presents the user with an intuitive interface thought which they can select the model parameters, time ranges, and time interval of the data to be viewed. The selected data is extracted from the file and displayed as familliar ArcGIS layers. Custom temporal layers are created allowing the data to be animated through time. This data can all be integrated with any other data supported by ArcGIS for visualization and analysis. The result is a significantly improved enviroment in which planning engineers can make decisions.