Integrating Scientific Data with GIS: NetCDF and HDF Data in ArcGIS

ArcGIS for Desktop software provides tools to help you access, read, and manage data formatted in Network Common Data Form (netCDF) and hierarchical data format (HDF). These file formats have been designed to support creating, accessing, and sharing scientific data.

Major organizations, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and US Geological Survey (USGS), deliver scientific data in netCDF and HDF. Used extensively by the atmospheric, oceanographic, and remote-sensing communities, these formats are built to store data such as temperature, wind speed, and wave height or satellite imagery representing land surface temperature or evapotranspiration.

A GIS user quickly accesses historical precipitation data in netCDF format to create a weather map and uses the Time Slider tool to see changes in weather patterns over time.

A GIS user quickly accesses historical precipitation data in netCDF format to create a weather map and uses the Time Slider tool to see changes in weather patterns over time.

ArcGIS supports netCDF in the following ways:

  • Read netCDF files natively and access data without converting or importing it.
  • Represent netCDF data as a raster layer, feature layer, and table view.
  • Use netCDF data in spatial and statistical analysis workflows.
  • View a two-dimensional slice of three- or fourdimensional data in the map window.
  • Animate a time-aware netCDF file, use the Time Slider tool, and record and save video clips of the animation.
The ArcGIS Multidimension toolbox provides tools for working with netCDF files.

The ArcGIS Multidimension toolbox
provides tools for working with
netCDF files.

ArcGIS supports HDF in the following ways:

  • Read HDF4 and HDF5 files as raster data, natively, gaining immediate access to the data without the need for converting or importing data.
  • Select which subdatasets to use from a multidataset HDF file interactively in ArcMap™ or using a geoprocessing tool.
  • Manage huge collections of HDF data using a mosaic dataset.
  • Use HDF data in spatial analysis and statistical analysis workflows.
Moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) evapotranspiration data in HDF format can be brought directly into the ArcGIS mapping environment.

Moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) evapotranspiration data in HDF format can be brought directly into the ArcGIS mapping environment.

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