Introduction to WXP

The Weather Processor
Version 5.0

What is WXP?

WXP (The Weather Processor) is a set of analysis and visualization programs for standard meteorlogical data.  The goal of the software package is to give the user a means for ingesting data from the National Weather Service (NWS), decoding the data, parsing the products, and visualizing the data.

Brief History

WXP was initially developed at Purdue University in the early 1980s as a set of programs written in the Basic programming language to quickly analyze meteorological data on IBM PCs.  In 1986, Purdue got a grant from IBM to develop meteorological analysis software on IBM's new Unix platform (the IBM RT) in which the original Basic code was ported to C and enhanced into a fully functional weather analysis package.  During the winter of 1988, WXP was displayed at the American Meteorlogical Society (AMS) Annual Meeting during which it was successfully ported to a Sun workstation.  As a result of that port, WXP was adopted as the primary Unix analysis package for the Unidata community. Unidata is a National Science Foundation funded group to provide universities with access to weather data and analysis software.  In the following years, WXP grew as more than 50 universities became licensed to use it. During the same period, the Purdue Research Foundation became responsible for selling and licensing to the private sector.  In the early 90s, WXP became the focus of a project called Campus Weather Display, which was an effort to use WXP to automatically generate graphics for an kiosk-like system based on FTP.  This set up WXP for use with Gopher and eventually, the World Wide Web.  WXP is one of the top weather analysis packages for generating images for web sites.  In 1999, Unisys corporation took over responsibility for developing, maintaining and supporting WXP.

Today, WXP (version 5.0) has matured into a robust analysis package.  Its toolkit nature makes is ideal for weather data processing and batch generation of products.   It uses X windows (Unix) and Win32 (Windows 95/98/NT) for graphics display and has a postscript and HPGL driver for hardcopy.  It is a menu driven software package that has strong command like and resource interface for tailorability.  It manages and visualizes most of the data presented on NOAAPORT and the Family of Services.

WXP's Input Data

WXP is set up to use data from the National Weather Service including:

NOAAPORT and FOS data are not required in order to use WXP.  Data with similar formats can be used or transformed into format WXP can use.  WXP has a generic raw (value at a point), grid and image file formats.

WXP has direct support for the following data formats:

What WXP does with the data

You can organize the above data into two categories:

WXP is a toolkit of programs which allow you to access, process and display each of the above data types.  The WXP toolset of programs can be put into the following groups:

Now you have a feel for what WXP does.  Now on to the Tutorials.

For further information about WXP, email
Last updated by Dan Vietor on June 20, 2001