What is it?
SPI is a scientific and meteorological virtual globe offering immense processing, analysis and visualization capabilities, with a user interface similar to Google Earth and NASA World Wind. It was developed over the past 8 years within the Environmental Emergency Response Division of the Canadian Meteorological Center to enable operational and R&D users to manage the reponse and the execution of dispersion models in a highly user-friendly way.
What can it do?
- Launch atmospheric dispersion models such as Eulerian, Lagrangian and 3D trajectory models.
- Process and analyse scientific and geospatial data, including an API for automated processing.
- Visualize data and results in 2D, 3D and 4D.
- Generate products.
What are the main features?
- Support for meteorological data formats, including RPN's standard format, BURP observation files and meteorological ground RADAR data.
- Support for most geospatial data formats, including popular georeferenced raster and vector data such as GeoTIFFs and Shapefile formats.
- It has a simple User Interface which allow the user to easily manipulate data.
- Extensive visualization control of 3D volume data and time animations, such as cloud fields and particules dispersion.
- Multiple fields and layers of data can be displayed, each one with its own color palette, transparency and associated symbology.
- Extensive control on how data is displayed: using customizable color palettes, numerically stretch data from histograms, choose interpolation algorithms, mask certain values, etc.
- Its full fledge yet simple API grants the user incredible flexibility to automate data processing and product generation with TCL scripting.
- Easy computations of numerical calculations such as field additions and substractions, averages, interpolations, including logical operators such as equals and greater than, statistical operators and conditional calculations.
- Easily generate data cross-sections, vertical profiles, time series, scatterplots and other graphs.
- Offers some useful GIS (geographic information systems) capabilities, such as data buffering, vector data attribute queries and manipulation, spatial intersections and unions, etc.
Why use SPI?
- Speed - SPI is blazing fast even for displaying very large images, such as georeferenced raster data of 43,200 pixels x 21,600 pixels SRTM-DEM data.
- It's always 3D with on-the-fly geographic projections.
- It uses the OpenGL API and fully takes advantage of 3D graphic accelerators such as pixel and vertex shaders.
- Since SPI is a fully operational tool that is used in a 24/7 environment, it is actively supported by the EER staff under clear operational mandates for emergency response.
- It's in constant development, with bugs squashed and new features added on a regular basis.
- Capabilities available using xrec and max can all be done, and much more, using SPI.
- It uses the open source GDAL/OGR librairies, making sure it's geospatial data formats support is always up-to-date. SPI provides access to GDAL/OGR commands through a TCL API.
- You can use it to automatically generate products (batch mode).
- It is fully customizable - you can have many workspaces with several viewports to suit your needs.
- You can quickly add scale, clock, compass, legend and many other widgets to your viewports.