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mapplt - Raw file and map plotting program


mapplt [parameters...] filename


Command Line Resource Default Description
-h help No Lists basic help information.
-df=filename default .wxpdef Sets the name of the resource file.
-na=name name mapplt Specifies the name used in resource file parsing.
-ba batch No Run program in batch mode
-me=level message out2 Specifies level of messages to be displayed
  • file information - mess
  • gridding information - out3
-fp=filepath file_path current directory Specifies location of database files.  
-rp=rawpath raw_path current directory Specifies the location of the output raw files generated by the program. These files will not be generated unless the out_file resource is specified and the output is plotted data.
-ip=imagepath image_path current directory Specifies the default location of the output GIF images generated by the program.
-nc=name_conv name_conv name_conv The name convention file specifies how files are named in WXP. This sets which name convention file to use.
-if=in_file in_file raw Specifies the input file name tag. The default is raw, but it can be modified to any value in the filename convention file. A full name convention can be specified as well.
-cf=cityfile city_file sao.cty Specifies the name of the city database file used in finding station locations.
-mf=mapfile[,...] map_file wxp.map or
cont.dat, country.dat for domains outside North America
Specifies the name of the map database file. Multiple maps can be specified along with attributes to describe how to draw the map.
-cu=[hour|la] current None This specifies to use current data files. The current filename is based on the name convention. An optional hour can be specified for older data. If la is specified, the program will search back to find the most recent available file.
-ho=hour hour None This resource specifies the exact hour that a data file is valid for. This locks in the start hour for a multi-file sequence.
-id=identifier identifier None Used to plot a specific observation. If not specified, all stations will be plotted.
-pd=domain plot_domain User prompt
Batch: first domain in wxp.reg file.
This specifies the plotting domain. The projection, aspect ratio and the domain size are specified.
-re=region region Same as plot domain This resource is synonymous with the plot_domain.
-pr=prior stat_prior Depends on domain size This specifies the lowest priority to use in the plot. Priorities range from 1 to 7.
-sc=scale_factor plot_scale 1.0 Specifies a scaling factor for all plotted text, symbols, vectors, etc.
-fm=format plot_format None Specifies the output format of the plots.  This is generally used to specify how many decimal places get displayed on the plot and in the output raw files.
-pp=param[,param...] plot_param None Specifies additional plotting parameters. See the plot_param resource for more details.
-dr=drawable[,...] draw all Specifies which part of the plot is to be drawn.
-la=label[,...] label Program defaults Specifies the labels to be plotted around the plot. By default, labels are generated by the program and plotted above and below the plot. This resource overrides these labels.
-in=interval con_interval None for plots, User prompt for grids. Batch: 0 Specifies the contour interval to use in contouring grids. This can also be used to color code plotted data and vectors.
-cb=base con_base Lowest contour value, maximum wind speed Specifies the base value for color fill contours, and wind speed per grid distance. For more details, see the con_base resource.
-fl=font_list font_list modern.fnt Specifies a list of fonts to use in the plots.
-ct=color_table color_table wxp.clr Specifies the color table to use in the plot. This maps color names to actual RGB color values.
-cot=color[:attr] color_text white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the text color for labels above and below the plot.
-cod=color[:attr] color_data green Specifies the color for plotted data.
-com=color[:attr] color_map red Specifies the color for background maps.
-coln=color[:attr] color_line magenta:st=dsh Specifies the color for lat/lon lines.
-cowd=color[:attr] color_wind white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the color for wind barbs.
-cocd=color[:attr] color_cloud white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the color for cloud cover symbols.
-cowx=color[:attr] color_wx yellow
brown for inverse plots
Specifies the color for weather symbols
-cofr=color[:attr],... color_front A predefined color set Specifies the colors for fronts and pressure systems.
-cocm=color[:attr] color_cmap black Specifies the color for color fill contour maps.
-coco=color[:attr] color_cont white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the color for line contours.
-cof=[val:]color[:attr],... color_fill A predefined color set based on the wxp.clr color table Specifies the color fill contour color set. See the color_fill resource for more details.
-cola=color[:attr] color_label white
for inverse plots.
Specifies the line contour label color.
-cocl=color[:attr] color_clabel black Specifies the color fill contour label color.
-de=device[,...] device User prompt
Batch: display
Specifies the output device.
-ti=title title Program name Specifies the window title.
-ic icon Off Specifies whether to open window in iconified mode.
-bg=color background black
white for inverse plots
Specifies the background color of the window.
-ge=geometry geometry 640x480 Specifies the window and paper geometry.
{filename[-field] or
VH:label }  [filename[-field] or
VH:label ...]
filename None
User Pompt
Batch: current=la
The first specification is for the name of the raw file to be plotted. More than one raw file/label can be listed.

The extra information following the "-" defines which field to use within a raw file. The field specification can be a column number or a field identifier.   The field identifier is a string that accompanies a column header in the raw file or a string that precedes the data such as HGIRG=5.24

The second specification is a text label that will be positioned above or below the plot.  This must be proceeded with a two letter position identifier and a colon (VH:label) which is used to place the text on the plot. This identifier (VH) is one of the following: ul,uc,ur,ll,lc,lr which stands for upper left, upper center, upper right, lower left, lower center and lower right respectively. The text is also justified according to its location.


This can be used for any of five purposes:

  1. Geographical Maps
  2. Annotating Plots
  3. Raw File Plotting
  4. City Database Plotting
  5. Station Identifier Plotting

Depending on the type, the program will prompt the user for the plot domain. This is done through a region menu which has predefined regions available. If needed a full plot domain can be specified to get a precise domain. The domain can be interactively changed using the mouse once the plot has been generated.


Simple base maps can be drawn by specifying domain information via the region or plot_domain resource. This is also handy for adding maps to overlay plot when the plot is complete rather than when the programs want to display the map.


Plots can be annotated by placing text labels above and below the plotting area. This is done by specifying labels on the command line.


The location and alignment of the labels are specified a location prefix VH: followed by the text string. This will place text either above 'u' or below 'l' the plot, either left 'l', right 'r' or centered 'c'.

NOTE: When annotating, it is useful to put variable and plot type information upper left and date/time/forecast information upper right. Plot type information is up to the user. Date/time/forecast information can be generated by the wxpfile program using label for the output resource.


This program can be used to plot raw files that have been created with programs like sfcwx and upairwx. If the user has created a raw data file, use this program to display the results. If the raw file contains multiple fields, all columns can be plotted or a specific one can be selected.


The extra information following the "-" defines which field to use within a raw file. The field specification can be a column number or a field identifier.  The field identifier is a string that accompanies a column header in the raw file or a string that precedes the data such as "HGIRG=5.24".  An additional set of plotting attributes can be appended to the filename.  These are standard plotting attributes as described in the Users Guide.

Also, a list of station identifiers can be specified using the identifier resource to limit plotting to only those sites. Also, the raw file may contain annotation and attributes information that can modify a station's output. If needed, the stations can displayed with a marker such as a dot, plus sign or an asterisk instead of the identifier text. This can be done by specifying mark:# for the plot_param resource.


Station locations can be plotted from a city database file. This can be handy in locating various reporting stations and for determining which stations have a certain plotting priority. If the prior is set to be greater than zero, those station identifiers with priorities less than or equal to prior will be displayed on the map as their three or four letter identifier. By default, these stations are plotted in the color specified by the color_data resource. If necessary, the station color can be based on priority. If multiple colors are specified for the color_fill resource, the first color will specify the color for priority 1 stations, the second color for priority 2 stations and so on. If a color is not specified for a priority, those stations will not plot. If needed, the stations can displayed with a marker such as a dot, plus sign or an asterisk instead of the identifier text. This can be done by specifying mark:# for the plot_param resource. The WMO number can be plotted by specifying wmo. The optional numeric column in the city database file can be plotted with the num parameter. This numeric field is often used for tabulating occurrence of reports by station. An example of plotting these data is:

   mapplt -cf=citynum.dat -pr=7 -re=us -sc=.4 -pp=num


Plotting specific stations or specific locations can be done using the identifier resource. This can be used to plot the location of a specific set of stations either by searching for its location in the city databases or by specifying a latitude and longitude. Up to ten station identifiers can be specified. These identifiers will be looked up in the city database for locations, if location is not specified, and plotted. If the location is known, the latitude and longitude can be specified along with the station identifier as [ident:]lat:lon. If the station identifier is not specified, the ID defaults to a "+". With this capability, text can be placed on a plot. Also, annotation with attributes can be plotted by specifying:

[ident][:lat:lon] [:attributes][:data]

The format for the attributes and data are the same as for the If needed, the stations can displayed with a marker such as a dot, plus sign or an asterisk instead of the identifier text. This can be done by specifying mark:# for the plot_param resource.


   mapplt -re=mw -de=d

This plots a map for the midwest region.

   mapplt -dr=text ul:left_label lr:right_label

This labels a plot. If the labels contain spaces, they either have to be quoted or underscores can be used.

   mapplt -re=31,-40,3 /data/hurricane/1997/ERIKA/track.raw-LINE

This plots the LINE field from the hurricane Erika track file.  The region is selected to encompass the entire track.

   mapplt -pd=cat,0,0,4,3,50,140 -pp=lalo:10:10,line \

This a category plot of wind speeds from hurricane Erika. A background grid every 10 points in each direction will be plotted.  A line will be drawn connecting each point. The plot_domain specification will plot data on a coordinate system that runs from 0,0 on the lower left to 50,140 in the upper right. The clat and clon parameters are the coordinates of the lower left corner of the plot. The dx and dy are the extent of the plot in each direction. This is different from standard map-type plot domains. Also, note that the X coordinate in this example is category and not X distance so that each item is plotted equally spaced in the order they appear in the raw file. The nx and ny (4,3) specifications are to set the aspect ratio of the plot as nx-1 by ny-1.

   mapplt -cf=sao.cty -pr=7 -re=us -sc=.4 \

This will plot the stations of priority less than or equal to 7 on a US map.  Each station is color coded based on its priority.


  • sao.cty - the surface station location database file


  • grid - the raw file gridding and contouring program
  • sfcwx - the surface plotting program
  • upairwx - the upper air plotting program

For further information about WXP, email technical-support@weather.unisys.com
Last updated by Dan Vietor on July 28, 1998