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Marine Data Literacy

Providing instruction for managing, converting, analyzing and displaying oceanographic station data, marine meteorological data, GIS-compatible marine and coastal data, and mapped remote sensing imagery


1.1 Folder Structure
1.2 Online Calculators
1.3 Saga on Mac
1.4 Identity/Email
1.5 MDL Data Sources
1.6 Data Formats
1.7 Essential Data
1.8 Software
1.9 Sketch Maps
1.10 Marine Atlases
1.11 Scales/Resolution
1.12 Random Subsample
1.13 File Names

Home > 1. Data Basics > 1.8 Software

1.8 Selected Marine Data Software

  • Always make sure you have the latest version of any program; usually joining a user group will insure that you are notified of updates.

  • Some programs are only published for use in Windows.  Try to work around this problem with various Windows-emulators (e.g. Wine for Saga) and disk partitioning methods.  Ask your local systems administrators for assistance. 

  • Version:  12-24-2014

Program Name Description Links Operating System and Other Notes
7zip Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
  • Windows (32, 64)
  • WinZip and WinRAR can substitute, compatible with many OS's
ArcGIS Explorer Desktop "Free GIS viewer that gives you an easy way to explore, visualize, and share GIS information" [Website}
  • Requires Microsoft .NET Framework
ConTEXT ASCII text editor with huge filesize capability; can edit 145 MB text files from Level 3 satellite images

Do not use Notepad or Wordpad for data

  • Only Windows; substitute with very large file-handling capability is mandatory
Degrib (NDFD GRIB2 Decoder) Convert GRIB to points shapes, CSV, NetCDF or raw binary
  • Windows only
Environmental Data Connector Use for advanced server exploration and data mining.  Use the "information" tools on LAS datasets to capture their URLs (or any other sources); then paste them into this program to access the datasets directly.  Server compatibilities:
  • SOS
  • Requires Java 1.6 or higher
  • Windows 32
  • "Designed for use with various types of raster- and vector-based geospatial datasets, including data from photogrammetric, LiDAR, and IFSAR sources."  [From the website]
  • Includes TIN viewing mode for native LAS files.
G.Projector Re-projection of rectangular map and satellite images
  • Mac OS X
  • Windows
  • "Generic" for Linux, OS/2, etc.
GEBCOLite Special stripped-down version of the full publication (vector and grid data; software)
  • Download the zipfile to a convenient location and unzip it.  Just run the program GebcoCE.exe to perform some functions; it will not do everything you see for GEBCO in the MDL exercises.
  • This is a temporary fix for MDL students who need the vector contour lines now.  You must make your own arrangements to obtain the official, full publication and dataset at GEBCO 2003 CD ROM
  • The GRID folder installed here does contain the 1-degree global relief grid, but it is mislabeled as an NC file; it is actually a CDF file, which is quite different. 
GEODAS-NG New version of an old favorite program for US NGDC relief data management
  • HydroPlot - Includes various grid formats, XYZ and shapefiles
  • Shapefile Maker - From XYZ and others
  • Coastline Extractor - From GSHHG and WDBii; apparently can be used as a stand-alone subsetter for all shapefiles
  • Grid Translator - Works with raw BIN and ASC, Arc ASC; can subset
  • Data Reformatter - ASC or BIN XYZ data
GeoTIFF Examiner Converts TIF to GeoTIF through world files and/or internal tags
  • Download (from the UNESCO/IOC/IODE OceanTeacher library)
  • Windows
Google Earth Visualization of georeferenced data (KML and KMZ files)
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Free Geographic Information System (GIS) software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps
HDFView Visualization of HDF and NetCDF grids and their internal metadata; conversion to TXT grids
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Solaris
  • Mac Intel
  • Install the program from the main link
  • NetCDF files can be viewed if FILES OF TYPE is set to ALL FILES
Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) Visualization of operational data of all sorts;  already reads most meteorological data and product formats; good NetCDF capability, but only rudimentary HDF capability; basic OGC WMS client present, but not robust


  • Windows 32, 64
  • Linux
  • Mac OS/X
  • Solaris/SPARC
  • Solaris
  • Generic Java
  • Excellent tutorials in IDV, by Brian Mapes are now on You Tube.  Click HERE to open the play list.
  • GEON Version of IDV
  • Documentation and Training at UNIDATA
  • If IDV does not run, but immediately shuts down, then read the note in RUNIDV.BAT (in the top-level folder of the installed program) to find simple setup instructions.
  • Especially attractive is the ability to capture displays in "XIDV" files (even those that specify automatic updatating from sources), enabling broad dissemination of synthesis products without massive data transfer.
IrfanView Graphics editor
  • Windows
  • OSX Intel (reportedly can run on a Mac)
Java OceanAtlas "JOA is a multi-OS application for viewing and exploring ocean vertical profile data. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux and supports a variety of data formats."  [Website]
  • JOA is very much like Ocean Data View, and shares many format and product options
JujuEdit Text editor
  • Very Large File Support - edit files up to 2GB in size, and browse them instantly with special "Open From Disk" mode.
  • Very Big Undo Buffer - virtually unlimited undo buffer (preserved after save so that saved changes can still be undone while the file is still open)
  • "Supports ESRI ASC grids
  • Supports floating-point for BIL & TIF output
  • Can create elevation OR intensity raster
  • Can read from multiple LAS files and merge them" [All from website]
Mapserver (University of Minnesota) MapServer is an Open Source platform for publishing spatial data and interactive mapping applications to the web.
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Mac OS/X
MAXENT Software for Species Habitat Modeling "This software takes as input a set of layers or environmental variables (such as elevation, precipitation, etc.), as well as a set of georeferenced occurrence locations, and produces a model of the range of the given species."  [From the website] - All layers use the same grid template.
Microsoft GIF Animator Make animation from series of GIF images Recommended by an ODV user for adjusting the speed of ODV animations.  Apparently the standard speed is a bit too fast.
Nautical Chart Reprojector "The Digital NOAA Nautical Chart Reprojector is a stand-alone application developed to reproject raster NOAA nautical charts. Approximately 30 projections are available, and the ability to change datums is included."
ncBrowse Quick-look browsing of NetCDF files (station or grid formats); can also browse CDF files
  • Windows 32
  • UNIX
  • Max OS/X
  • Solaris
  • Linux
NOTEPAD++ Notepad++ is a free source code that supports several languages.  Can handle very large files.

Do not use Notepad or Wordpad for data.

  • "There is also a plug-in for Notepad++  which will recognize the syntax of MapServer (see above) map files and highlight it. You can download the plug-in from HERE and install the syntax file for .map files."  [Greg Reed]
  • Windows
Ocean Data View Most popular data visualization and management program for marine station data (scalars and vectors)
  • Installs with a good GEBCO relief grid; other packages not really needed
  • Windows
  • Solaris i386
  • Mac OS/X
  • Linux i386
  • Registration and login is required to obtain the software
  • Check out the high-resolution coastline add-ons, available from the OPTIONAL PACKAGES page.  Click HERE to see a map of what's available now.
  • If animations are intended, see Microsoft GIF Animator, above.
Ocean Sneaker's Tool Tool to analyze and process table-organized data files...offers import routines for the output of different gears and a universal routine for ASCII text files which are also generated and shared by several other standard programs [From the website]
  • Windows
  • Windows-emulators on Mac and Linux machines
  • Use EXE to install and create a shortcut
OPCPlot Earliest "operational" GIS program
  • Able to plot about 20 data products that were required by MMS Gulf of Mexico Studies Program to be posted on the old Omnet/Sciencenet electronic messaging system from 1989-mid 95.  Became obsolete thereafter due to the rise of the Internet.
  • DOS, but could run on most 32-bit Windows systems
  • Unknown if any digital copies remain available
Pan2Applic Convert PANGAEA tabular data to various formats, especially Ocean Data View
Panoply Display of NetCDF, HDF and GRIB grids; can export XYZ tables
  • Windows
  • Mac OS/X
  • "Generic" for Linux, OS/2, etc.
RasterImporter Converts between many grid and image formats, including some military ones
  • Windows
  • Last known site where the software can be found
Saga This is the general-purpose, "workhorse" program we recommend to all data management students, even if they also use other commercial or public domain GIS solutions.  One shortcoming is the minimal documentation.


General information:

Saga installation files.

VPFImporter Extracts shapefiles from VPF map libraries.  Makes unnecessary the many commercial sites that charge for these files.
  • Windows
  • This the last known location where the software can be found.
  • Download includes some documentation

 "Software to run Windows applications on Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X" [from the website]


  • 32-bit Saga is known to run on a Mac (although not completely stable, at times)
WRPLOT Wind rose plots for meteorological data
  • "Windrose plots
  • Frequency distribution tables
  • Wind Class frequency distribution graphs
  • All of the most common file formats are supported; and for those that are not, an Import from Excel utility allows simple importing."

[From the website]


The exercises, notes and graphics in this website are copyrighted, and may not be copied or abstracted in any way, without my explicit permission (in writing).  Making one copy for your personal use is allowed.  If you see any of these materials copied into any other website than MARINEDATALITERACY.ORG then they have been illegally pirated by others.  Please report any such instances of copyright infringement to me. Murray Brown m.brown.nsb <at>