RadarScope has SuperRes products - Why can't GR3? Allisonhouse/WDT

J Tyler

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Mar 6, 2010
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The point of this post is to figure out why RadarScope on the free WDT feed gets high resolution reflectivity and velocity products added to the regular Level 3 data feed, but GR3 with an Allisonhouse subscription can not. I fully understand, I do not want to simply buy GR2A because while chasing I do not want to try and support a FULL Level 2 data feed on cellular during chaser convergence. But somehow, RadarScope and WDT have figured out how to get only 4 tilts of high res Reflectivity and Velocity to their customers, along with the basic Level 3 data. This gives the user the ability to have that data on a limited bandwidth connection. I want that same thing on GR3.

If I use WDT for the data feed on RadarScope, I get high resolution reflectivity and velocity products. If I switch it to my Allisonhouse feed, I lose them.

Question 1:
Is WDT paying the huge yearly fee and getting the special high resolution Level 3 products? OR, are they using the Level 2 data and simply stripping out the 4 lowest scans for velocity and reflectivity and adding that to the typical Level 3 feed? Or are they doing it some other way?

Question 2:
Can Allisonhouse do whatever WDT is doing, and give us these same high resolution products (only the 4 lowest tilts for super res velocity, and 4 lowest tilts for super res reflectivity).

Question 3:
If Allisonhouse won't/can't do it, is WDT interested in selling us a data feed for Gibson Ridge/GR3?
 
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Jeff Duda

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There's a difference between level 2 and level 3 radar data. Level 3 are more processed than level 2 data. Part of that processing is to perform spatial averaging to reduce errors. So not only are level 3 data more coarse than level 2 data, but level 3 data are generally more accurate and less noisy than level 2 data as well. I would have to think the two data types are provided from their sources by completely different data streams.

As far as I know, Radarscope actually offers level 2 data. I just bought it to confirm, and it offers both the level 2 products and some level 3 products as well.

GR3 is radar software specifically designed to display level 3 radar data. I don't know why you would think GR3 should be able to display level 2 data. If you are paying for a level 3 data feed from Allisonhouse, you are NEVER going to get level 2 data from it. If you want to get level 2 data, buy a feed from Allisonhouse or buy GR2 and use the free NOAA feed.
 

J Tyler

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Mar 6, 2010
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I have no problem paying the $250 for GR2a, plus pay for the level 2 feed from Allisonhouse. However, that solution would require me to download the full level 2 feed while chasing over cellular for all the updates. Not a problem as long as I'm sitting in a metro area, but you guys all know it won't work in the rural areas.

I am asking Gibson Ridge and Allisonhouse to work together to provide a solution like what RadarScope and WDT data currently provide. It appears to me that WDT is stripping the lowest 4 scans out of the Level 2 data, and providing ONLY that along with the standard Level 3 data. By doing this instead of sending the entire Level 2 data package for each scan, they keep the file sizes smaller so it is usable in the field while chasing. ------- So, I am asking Mike at Gibson Ridge to give GR3 the ability to do what RadarScope does (continue to be a Level 3 display program but add support for the lowest tilts of Level 2 data for reflectivity and velocity), and Allisonhouse to do what WDT has done for its feed and add that same stripped down Level 2 data. WDT does this for their feed to RadarScope, so it is possible technically. RadarScope has done this, so it is possible technically.

Right now, I chase with a laptop that includes GR3 because I need all of its features, but I also have a dash mounted tablet running RadarScope so I have access to the higher resolution radar. IMO, the full features of GR3 AND hi res radar of RadarScope need to be combined into ONE program.
 
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Jeff Duda

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I am asking Gibson Ridge and Allisonhouse to work together to provide a solution like what RadarScope and WDT data currently provide. It appears to me that WDT is stripping the lowest 4 scans out of the Level 2 data, and providing ONLY that along with the standard Level 3 data. By doing this instead of sending the entire Level 2 data package for each scan, they keep the file sizes smaller so it is usable in the field while chasing. ------- So, I am asking Mike at Gibson Ridge to give GR3 the ability to do what RadarScope does (continue to be a Level 3 display program but add support for the lowest tilts of Level 2 data for reflectivity and velocity), and Allisonhouse to do what WDT has done for its feed and add that same stripped down Level 2 data. WDT does this for their feed to RadarScope, so it is possible technically. RadarScope has done this, so it is possible technically.
I understand your plight. However, Stormtrack may not be the best place to make such a request, as neither Mike Gibson nor Tyler Allison appear to be active on this forum. Neither one has posted in the last 12 months, and Mike hasn't even logged on in over 6 months. You'll probably have more success reaching out to either one via private message, e-mail, or by visiting their forums and posting this. You can also try a Twitter-style link to their name by placing '@' in front of their user names when posting on the board. I think they will be notified that someone mentioned them in a post.
 

Mark Blue

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Are you using the latest GRL3 product (version-wise) with all of the extras built in such as dual pol and SAILS? I could be wrong, but I think with GRL3 that's as close as you can get to super res L2 data.
 

J Tyler

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Fantastic! Jeff, thanks for the suggestion to reach out to them directly.

My original thought was to post here and try to learn more on the subject before I even bothered them. Maybe others had found a way around this, or already knew why this was not possible,etc. Kind of an open discussion on the topic. I'll go ahead and reach out to them as you suggested, and will post back here to share any info I may receive back.

By searching the forum here at StormTrack, I do see where Skip Talbot had brought this up to the parties involved back when they were still on the forum because they replied back to him. However, in reading that discussion, I don't think they ever really understood what Skip (and now I) was trying to say. They kept explaining that GR2 was for Level 2 data, and GR3 was for Level 3. Skip and I are trying to say, why not cut out those couple of low level scans out of the Level 2 data and include it with the Level 3 feed, so you keep the total file size small and give chasers what they are wanting for when they are out in the field on cellular data. Leave the regular Level 2 feed with its large size and GR2a for those who are working on projects where you need the 3d modeling and are sitting in an office on a fiber internet connection.
 
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J Tyler

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Hey Mark! Yes, in fact I'm running the latest Beta 2.30 v2. It has support for MESO-SAILS and support for high DPI devices which my laptop does benefit from. But it is still only the classic Level 3 data. Thanks for bringing it up, however.
 
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Jeff Duda

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Skip and I are trying to say, why not cut out those couple of low level scans out of the Level 2 data and include it with the Level 3 feed, so you keep the total file size small and give chasers what they are wanting for when they are out in the field on cellular data. Leave the regular Level 2 feed with its large size and GR2a for those who are working on projects where you need the 3d modeling and are sitting in an office on a fiber internet connection.
My guess is 1) there's bureaucracy associated with what information can go out on either feed, and 2) most people who use radar data are not storm chasers, so there really isn't much reason to make anyone do anything about it. It seems you will require the assistance of a middleman to collect both the level 3 and level 2 data and then combine them in one piece of software, as WDT has done with Radarscope. If you have the coding chops, you could probably do this for yourself, too.
 
I understand your plight. However, Stormtrack may not be the best place to make such a request, as neither Mike Gibson nor Tyler Allison appear to be active on this forum. Neither one has posted in the last 12 months, and Mike hasn't even logged on in over 6 months. You'll probably have more success reaching out to either one via private message, e-mail, or by visiting their forums and posting this. You can also try a Twitter-style link to their name by placing '@' in front of their user names when posting on the board. I think they will be notified that someone mentioned them in a post.
Tyler may not frequent this forum, but I do.

The point of this post is to figure out why RadarScope on the free WDT feed gets high resolution reflectivity and velocity products added to the regular Level 3 data feed, but GR3 with an Allisonhouse subscription can not. I fully understand, I do not want to simply buy GR2A because while chasing I do not want to try and support a FULL Level 2 data feed on cellular during chaser convergence. But somehow, RadarScope and WDT have figured out how to get only 4 tilts of high res Reflectivity and Velocity to their customers, along with the basic Level 3 data. This gives the user the ability to have that data on a limited bandwidth connection. I want that same thing on GR3.

If I use WDT for the data feed on RadarScope, I get high resolution reflectivity and velocity products. If I switch it to my Allisonhouse feed, I lose them.

Question 1:
Is WDT paying the huge yearly fee and getting the special high resolution Level 3 products? OR, are they using the Level 2 data and simply stripping out the 4 lowest scans for velocity and reflectivity and adding that to the typical Level 3 feed? Or are they doing it some other way?

Question 2:
Can Allisonhouse do whatever WDT is doing, and give us these same high resolution products (only the 4 lowest tilts for super res velocity, and 4 lowest tilts for super res reflectivity).

Question 3:
If Allisonhouse won't/can't do it, is WDT interested in selling us a data feed for Gibson Ridge/GR3?
1. Yes, WDT is paying a huge yearly fee. It's called Family of Services (FoS) and it's going away very soon. The NWS is dropping FoS and beginning to make the products that are exclusively on FoS available via NOAAPort and Fiber.

2. No. AllisonHouse is too small to afford the FoS fees. Plus FoS is going away now.

3. WDT is about to lose their FoS / exclusivity. Once the Super-Res products are available on NOAAPort and/or Fiber to AllisonHouse or the public NWS servers, you can bet Mike will update his programs.

This is all an economical issue. Mike has been anxious to develop Super-Res products for some time. However the exclusivity that FoS provides has kept AllisonHouse from getting that data to Mike. We are excited that the data will finally be available to the general public. As I mentioned, there is no doubt that Mike will update his programs once it is.
 

rdale

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Ben - that's possible (guess WDT reps need to chime in :) ) but Ryan is correct on the big picture... If you want to use the NWS's version of high-res L3 data, you gotta pay a lot for a system that is being discontinued shortly.
 
I thought the Level 2 data WDT was sending to radarscope was actually processed on their end with wdssii. Been awhile since I've worked there, but I thought it was actually processed and put in a more friendly for radarscope product.
So again, licensing fees for the WDS-II software are also astronomical. I contacted OU for pricing last year and can assure you that no business of AllisonHouse's stature can afford the costs. Their fees are based on how many radars are processed with the software, in chunks of 10, or for the full CONUS (which we would require.) A 3 year agreement is also required instead of a standard year-to-year agreement. The cost of the three-year agreement easily extends into the six figures.

Also notice when the L2 stream dies, Super-Res dies. So you are correct in that they don't use the L3 Super-Res files from FoS, but they use FoS for their Level 2/3 + Canadian Radar data ingest, which obviously has products and data exclusive to them.

Mike had toyed with the idea of breaking up the L2 volumes into the individual products and tilts. However the time investment to create a decoder which does this and then the software to parse and display the new data format proved to be too much. MESO-SAILS and all of the other changes we've seen to the weather data landscape over the last 2 years have kept Mike too busy. Plus we knew that the FoS exclusivity was coming to an end and there have been rumblings that the L3 Super-Res stuff would reach Fiber and/or NOAAPort soon. There is little reason to bust open L2 files and do a bunch of post-processing when the work has already been done and the data is just sitting there waiting to be disseminated.
 
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J Tyler

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OUTSTANDING. Ryan Hickman, thank you for jumping in here. That is exactly the explanation I was looking for, and you were able to deliver some excellent news as well! I am very excited at the idea of Mike adding superres capability to a program aimed at chasers. Very glad to hear Allisonhouse will have access to these via NOAAPort/Fiber in the near future. I've been a continuous Allisonhouse subscriber for 5 years now. Now we can all start bugging the hell out of Mike!
 

Steve Miller

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Sorry for the slow reply to this thread. Been out of town and away from data.
WDT does indeed offer the feeds you seek but, as has been mentioned, the cost for single license use would be pretty high. We do have value added to the data delivered through the RS app. This same data is available to anyone via API: http://wdtinc.com/product-service/skywise-radar-satellite
Should you have specific questions, or you're a developer reading this thread and are interested in pricing, hit me up in PM and I'll get you with the right people.
 

J Tyler

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Mar 6, 2010
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Is there any talk/consideration of offering a PC version of RadarScope? Steve, you chase so you know what I'm looking for. I'm also a huge fan of RadarScope, and use it a lot more often than GR3 (it gets daily use in addition to use while chasing). But, when in serious chase mode, I need the extra features/flexibility of GR3. I know its a small market, but is there any interest in growing RS into a PC program that offers what GR3 does???
 

Steve Miller

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Is there any talk/consideration of offering a PC version of RadarScope? Steve, you chase so you know what I'm looking for. I'm also a huge fan of RadarScope, and use it a lot more often than GR3 (it gets daily use in addition to use while chasing). But, when in serious chase mode, I need the extra features/flexibility of GR3. I know its a small market, but is there any interest in growing RS into a PC program that offers what GR3 does???
In the past couple of months there has been some discussion regarding a Windows app version of RS. The market will support it and our infrastructure is already capable of scaling to handle it. Don't hold your breath but do look for more chatter about this as GR products grow older and a lack of competitors on the Windows platform sweetens the potential for us.
Glad you enjoy RadarScope! The guys down the hall are brilliant and are working on some cool new stuff for next spring. I think you'll be very happy!
 

J Tyler

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Mar 6, 2010
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Dallas TX/Born & Raised in OK
Wow! That is exciting news, Steve. A Windows App version (especially with so many people beginning to make the migration to Windows 10) would become a "must have" app for the general population, not just chasers. Thanks for sharing, and I'll keep my eyes open!
 
May 1, 2005
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Keep coming back across this thread, and been wondering if there has been any change on the situation with Super Res public availability over the past 19 months? Any changes to the contract or timeline?
 
Keep coming back across this thread, and been wondering if there has been any change on the situation with Super Res public availability over the past 19 months? Any changes to the contract or timeline?
Negative. WDSS-II is still as expensive as it was and prohibitive for us (AllisonHouse) and RadarScope/WDT still doesn't have a Windows offering.

My next step is to tackle the conversion of Level 2 to separate elevations / products myself. An understanding of the data combined with the time and desire to bring this product to our customers makes this an easy choice for us.
 
May 1, 2005
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So was there an additional extension of the contract, or just a continuing decision by NOAA not to open it up? Pity so little information is available easily, and very appreciative of you filling us in :)
 
May 1, 2005
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I've solved this using the ROC's RPG. We're working with application developers to bring this to market for AllisonHouse customers.
Thank you Ryan, Tyler, and AllisonHouse for pushing forward to solving it for AH and any pushing to NOAA to get the feed finally into the public domain. About the most vital data there is, and you got it done.