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10.1.1 MCGUI GUI Exercises

In the McIDAS Basics exercises, you were typing commands to create plots and contours. In these exercises, you will use the Unidata Tcl/Tk GUI to create plots and displays.

  1. Start the mcstart interface.

    Type: mcidas config

    Make sure that your session is started with 17 frames. If the default number if frames indicated by the Number of Graphic/Image Frames scale is not equal to 17, adjust the scale so that it is. Alternatively, you could select the EXIT button at the bottom of the mcstart interface; edit .mcidasrc and set the -f option to -f 17; and then rerun mcidas config.

    If the GUI radiobutton is not already selected (near the bottom of the mcstart interface), select it using a left mouse button click. The radiobutton will show red when it is selected.

  2. Start McIDAS-X and the Unidata GUI.

    To start McIDAS-X and the Unidata GUI, you need to select the Start button at the bottom of the mcstart interface.

The following exercises are designed to introduce you to the functionality and flexibility of the Unidata GUI interface.

Simple Plots/Contours


  1. Display the latest NIDS Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 image for one of the available locations. Then, display a loop of the Base Reflectivity Tilt 1 images for that location.

  2. Display a loop of the GOES-East Infrared images earth centered over Washington, D.C. (DCA) with a blowup factor of 2.

  3. Display the latest Educational Floater image centered at the floaters central latitude and longitude using a blowdown factor of 2.

Point Source Data

  1. Determine the time of the latest available surface data. Is the data current on your system?

  2. Plot a surface map of temperatures over Colorado using the latest available data.

  3. Plot a 500 mb station model plot over the U.S. for 00 UTC today. Overlay 500 mb height contours for the same time on the plot.

Gridded Data

  1. Determine the time of the latest available Early Domestic Product (NGM) grids on your system. Is the data current?

  2. Change the default background map to a North American map in CONFormal projection with latitude/longitude lines.

  3. Put up a loop of the latest NGM Sea Level Pressure contours. Overlay the 1000-500 mb thickness contours using DASHed lines. Overlay the contours of precipitation on the loop.

Meteorological Diagrams

  1. Plot the available upper air stations for 00 UTC today over the U.S.

  2. Plot a meteorogram for a station of your choosing. If you don't know a 4 letter station ID, plot a map of the available stations for a region.

  3. Plot a Multiple Station 8-hour Space-Time Graph from LaGuardia Airport, New York (KLGA) to Dulles International, Virginia (KIAD).

Weather Text

  1. List out the latest decoded surface observations for the state of Colorado.

  2. List today's decoded observations for Denver (KDEN).

  3. List the decoded upper air data for Green Bay, Wisconsin for either 00 or 12 today. Use the MSL command to find the station ID.

  4. List out the raw (undecoded) upper air sounding for Green Bay for the same time.

  5. Display the state forecast for Alabama. Display the forecast discussion for Colorado.

Changing Menu System Parameters

  1. Change the output frame for profiler data to be frame 1. Plot a cross section of profiler data for Platteville, Colorado.

  2. Change the data bar for images to be displayed HORizontally instead of VERtically. Display the latest GOES-West Infrared image on frame 6. How do you know that it is on frame 6?

  3. Change the default background map to be a North American CONFormal projection TOPOgraphic image earth centered at 40° N and 98 ° W with no change in resolution and no latitude/longitude lines.

  4. Overlay the NGM 500 mb 12 hr forecast Geopotential heights on the new background map.

  5. Change the list of current data plot types to surface (ISFC), ship (ISHP), upper air (IRAB) and NGM MOS (FO14). Plot a map of the current data availability for these data types.

  6. Reset the default Menu Strings without changing the newly defined background map.

Complex Plots/Functions

  1. Display a cross section of potential temperature and wind speed through the Global Model (MRF) output on a line from 10° N to 80° N along longitude 104° W. Overlay the 500 mb heights from the Global Model grids on the map in the upper right corner of the cross section plot.

  2. Display the latest GOES-East/West Water Vapor Composite.

  3. Erase the graphics in the frame. Use the EB option in the menu to change the contrast stretch of the image in the frame. End the EB command and restore the default enhancement to the frame.

  4. Display a loop of GOES-East images. Overlay fronts on each frame of the loop using the times associated with each frame. Overlay negative lighting flashes on the loop as well.

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