New NASA satellite data tool, 'forbidden' right out of the box

From Elsevier  and NASA, comes this press release, which when you try the URL they give, doesn’t seem all that inviting compared to the headline:


Guys, you really ought to read and try out your own press releases before putting them on Eurekalert. h/t to Dennis Wingo.

Satellite visualization tool for high-res observation accessible from anywhere with internet access

THOR-Online available for examining of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite data remotely

Amsterdam, January 29, 2013 – A paper published in the February issue of Computers & Geosciences, describes a case study in which an earth-observing satellite tool, the Tool for High-Resolution Observation Review (THOR), using minimal coding effort, is converted into a practical web-based application, THOR-Online. In addition, a 3D visualization technique is also described in this paper.

Initially only operable from a desktop computer, with the approach outlined in the study, THOR is now accessible online from NASA’s Precipitation Processing System website. This allows researchers to remotely examine the 15-year archive of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite data. Efforts to improve THOR have been on-going since the 1997 launch of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, which carries first space-borne radar capable of observing detailed three-dimensional structure of regions of precipitation inside of storm clouds.

“The 3D display technique can be used to make features of, for example, a hurricane, visually accessible even to those without technical training in meteorology,” explained Owen Kelley, author of the study. “The TRMM satellite observed Hurricane Sandy a day before its U.S. landfall affecting New Jersey and New York, among other states. Using this technique, TRMM 3D images of the storm’s overflight and other tropical cyclones during the final months of 2012 could be made available through NASA Hurricane Resource Page (”

“Addressing an important problem at intersection of the geosciences (remote sensing, hydrology, meteorology) and computer sciences, this article is a poster child example of what we aim to publish in Computers & Geosciences,” explains Jef Caers Co-Editor-in-Chief of Computers & Geosciences. “It uses modern computer science paradigms such as the World Wide Web, code re-use and practical graphical user interfaces to address an important geoscience problem.”

The approach outlined in the paper may be of interest to other organizations responsible for earth-observing satellites that have custom desktop visualization tools which may need to be converted to online applications for broader usage, or that have 3D datasets that require the development of an interactive visualization tool.


The paper “Adapting an existing visualization application for browser-based deployment: A case study from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission” can be found at:

The THOR-Online application described in the study can be found at:

Notes for editors

“Adapting an existing visualization application for browser-based deployment: A case study from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission” by Owen A. Kelley, appears in the Computers & Geosciences 51 (2013) 228-237 published by Elsevier; the article is available online on ScienceDirect.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact

About Computers & Geosciences

Computers & Geosciences publishes high impact, original research at the interface between Computer sciences and geosciences. Publications should apply modern computer science paradigms, whether computational or informatics-based, to address problems in the geosciences.

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January 29, 2013 3:23 pm

The bad link is in the paper abstract as well. I believe they mean to use this link.
Or this:

January 29, 2013 3:29 pm

Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by a webmaster screwing up. It looks like a permission problem on the containing directory.

January 29, 2013 3:29 pm

^^ Indeed. These are the droids you are looking for
they screwed up with the press release it seems

January 29, 2013 3:35 pm

Thanks jeez, the ftp works quite well. It has 3 versions for linux, osx, and windoze in the v2 release.

January 29, 2013 3:36 pm

Maybe they should get some of the people over at Giovanni to give them a hand.

January 29, 2013 3:46 pm

Although we see these URL strings everywhere nowadays, they were originally designed by academics and computer geeks, and were never really meant for human consumption. Thus it is often too easy to mess them up in print. But as you say, one should do a quick click-check before issuing the press release. 😉

January 29, 2013 4:01 pm

“Guys, you really out to read”
speel chex

View from the Solent
January 29, 2013 4:10 pm

As the cliche says, ‘Don’t they have sub-editors?’

January 29, 2013 4:12 pm

Huuuummmmm….no prob accessing any of the links. Not that they are really worth reading.

Tom in St. Johns
January 29, 2013 4:15 pm
Phil's Dad
January 29, 2013 4:37 pm

“…you really out to read and try out your own press releases…”
You see the irony here don’t you.
[Fixed, thanks. — mod.]

January 29, 2013 4:54 pm

Appears to install ok on Win 8 64bit. Haven’t worked out how to access the pps files yet.
Got bored and went to look at
Nice rendition of ex-Oswald.

Robert M
January 29, 2013 5:06 pm

Phil’s Dad says:
January 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm
“…you really out to read and try out your own press releases…”
You see the irony here don’t you.
[Fixed, thanks. — mod.]
ROTFL – Hilarious guys. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very good while.
On a more serious note, the fact that that you (The folks at WUWT) left this in public view says good things about the ethics of the folks running the show here. Everyone is human and makes mistakes. Of course that means they also have the urge to cover them up. Kudos for letting it all hang out!

January 29, 2013 6:28 pm

Speaking of satellite data, is there a WUWT discussion of the JAXA first public release (finally) of 12 months of GOSAT (“IBUKI”) carbon dioxide data? Unfortunately it’s been convolved with ground-based data and is not independent.

ferd berple
January 29, 2013 6:58 pm

Here is a scary document. With Kerry as Secretary of State, the US foreign and domestic policy for the next 4 years is written here. Obama Care in the first term, Climate Change in the second.

b. johnston
January 29, 2013 7:44 pm

@ferd berple,et al. When I see credible evidence of an unbiased group of researchers looking at ALL the relevant information out there, we just might be able to believe the results.

January 29, 2013 8:33 pm

Will not peer review articles for Elsevier- please don’t give them the time of day.

January 29, 2013 8:50 pm

Nine Canadian pennies says this is due to a copy-editor switching things to lower case because it looks better. That’s the kind of thing Elsevier is known for.

More Soylent Green.
January 30, 2013 7:02 am

This is just an admin error. People should test these things, but they often don’t.
Close enough for gub’ment work

February 2, 2013 7:57 am

“Computers & Geosciences publishes high impact, original research at the interface between Computer sciences and geosciences”
may be, but i don’t think so….

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