Review of operational suitability of HDF-EOS5:
NASA's Earth Science Data Systems Standards Process Group (SPG) is considering the HDF-EOS5 for adoption as a community standard. This is the second review of HDF-EOS5, this one focusing on its readiness for operational use. The questions below are provided to guide feedback from data systems, application providers, instrument teams and others. You only need to answer questions applicable to you. Please send comments to email@example.com.
- Describe in a sentence or two your overall experience related to HDF-EOS5 (e.g., science data provider, science data systems, software tools developer, and science data user, etc).
I'm a science data provider for AIRS and for the NASA NPP Sounder PEATE. AIRS data is so far in HDF-EOS2, not HDF-EOS5. This may change in the future. NPP Sounder PEATE has not yet chosen its data architecture. HDF-EOS5 is one candidate.
- Do you currently use or plan to use HDF-EOS5 in a production setting? What types of applications do you use with HDF-EOS5? Is HDF-EOS5 applicable to your applications (e.g., Does it work well with the data types and data manipulations in your application?)
- Why do you choose to use HDF-EOS5 over other data formats for your applications?
...or why not?
For AIRS there has been no case made or monies provided to change. The installed user base seems comfortable with HDF-EOS2, and would doubtless experience disruption if we changed.
For Sounder PEATE HDF-EOS5 is a viable candidate but:
1) the web presence of HDF-EOS5 is very weak, seeming to signal weak support. For example at http://hdfeos.org/docs.php we see:
Online Overviews and Tutorials
Introduction to HDF-EOS (2000)
Overview of HDF-EOS (9/24/1997) and the link to "NASA's HDF-EOS FAQ" is to a 2000 file which doesn't mention HDF-EOS5: http://newsroom.gsfc.nasa.gov/sdptoolkit/hdfeosfaq.html
Also the draft standard still does not look very solid. Looking just at the table of contents, we see that section 7, "HDF-EOS5 File Format" contains information on all four data structures (swath, grid, point, and zonal average), but sections 6, 8, and the appendices cover only swath and grid.
Finally, I know from hard experience that the "Point" data structure was fatally hobbled in HDF-EOS2 by having very restrictive limits on the number of levels and fields per level. I can't tell by the half-page devoted to point in the draft standard, but I suspect this has not been improved in HDF-EOS5.
One last note. section 9.2 page 44 says "The commercial analysis tools, IDL and Matlab also support HDF-EOS 5 files."
Shortly before reading this, I had looked on the websites of both these products for any mention of HDF-EOS5. Finding none, I contacted the providers. Both providers replied that they do NOT support HDF-EOS5, though the provider of MatLab seemed open to the idea.