Digital Atmosphere FAQ

This list was developed to answer general and technical questions that are frequently asked by our customers. For items not answered here, the best way of contacting us is by E-mail at support@weathergraphics.com (E-mail rather than phone calls helps give us a paper trail and time to research your question). Also consider joining our E-mail list (WX-SOFTWARE) by visiting http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wx-software (this is strictly a discussion and announcements list; the subscriber list is not farmed out to third parties).


CONTENTS OF THIS FAQ

1. ORDERING & INSTALLING      
2. ACCESSING DATA
3. PLOTTING
4. CONTOURING
5. MAPPING
6. RADAR

7. FRONTS
8. CLIMATOLOGY
9. SOUNDINGS
10. PRINTING
11. MISCELLANEOUS
12. ERROR CODES


ORDERING & INSTALLING


How do I order or register Digital Atmosphere?
Please see our ordering page at: http://www.weathergraphics.com/buy.htm .
howorder

I am trying to download Digital Atmosphere via AOL. However, downloading only goes as far as 1.5 Mb instead of the 10 Mb as advertised. This 1.5 Mb program does not work.
We have had this report from a few users but have not been able to diagnose it. The fault is definitely in AOL's software or AOL's network, as the reports have originated only from AOL users. We suggest contacting AOL technical support for assistance.
aoldl

Can I trust you with my credit card number? Is the Internet safe?
The risk of credit cards in E-commerce has, not surprisingly, been hyped out of proportion by banks and the media in an attempt to profit off of consumer fear with largely ineffective gimmicks and services. The bottom line is that banks really couldn't care less. We've had people placing orders with obviously-stolen cards, and the bureaus have shown no interest in taking action. Consider how many times you've dined at a restaurant and handed over your credit card to some unknown person making minimum wage. In contrast, any hacker who is able to intercept credit card numbers on backbone routers has skills that are worth a lot of money, and would not need to stoop this low! In 6 years of operations on our secure servers, we've never had any kind of incident, and we do not store order data there. Still not comfortable? For more info, see these stories in USA Today and InfoWorld.
creditcard

Can you notify me when an upgrade comes out?
We don't maintain notification lists. The best thing to do is regularly check our web site at www.weathergraphics.com or subscribe to our WX-SOFTWARE list.
notification

Please send me my key number so I can get Digital Atmosphere to work.
We will need your serial number, found in Digital Atmosphere's Help > Register menu (if this is grayed out, it means you're already registered). This varies on each computer and is necessary for us to determine the key number. Also be sure to send your name and mailing address so that we can verify you are on our books as a registered user. We will then send you the key number.
getkey

I typed my key number into Digital Atmosphere but it still tells me I have a trial version.
Without fail, 100% of all instances of this problem are a result of mistyping or improper key use by the end user. We have processed thousands of serial-key requests without any "bugs" on our end. For example, we copy & paste all numbers between E-mail and our key generator, eliminating all procedural error, and our key generator is exactly the same as that embedded in Digital Atmosphere, eliminating mathematical error.
The culprits are invariably:
  • The user mistyped/misread the serial number when sending it to us.
  • The user mistyped/misread the key number into Digital Atmosphere.
  • The user inadvertantly or intentionally mix-matched keys and serials between two or more computers. A specific serial-key combination is useable on ONE MACHINE only and can't be transferred to another machine (which in turn requires its own serial-key combination).
  • The user reinstalled Windows, wiping out all stored registration information on the machine.
    To solve this problem, send your serial number again to support@weathergraphics.com and we'll verify the information.
    badkey

  • I would like to move Digital Atmosphere to my laptop for travel. How do I install and register the program on the laptop?
    Just install it on the new computer then check it under Help > Register and let me know what the serial # is. I'll then look up the key number.
    moveapp

    How can I safeguard my original, registered copy, in the event of a hard drive crash?
            The registration is lost with any hard drive crash, and can't be transplanted onto another computer since it is unique to each Windows installation. I wouldn't even be able to divulge the exact technique since we have to keep it safeguarded to curb the software pirating problem.
            Some users say that requesting a key is a problem. I'm not sure why, since A) you get full use of the program for 30 days while you wait, and B) you can get a new key from me anytime. I've been on E-mail almost daily since 1991. We have never received a complaint about being unable to get a key number.
            Also I should mention that we do sell the Digital Atmosphere Professional version, which contains no serial/key process. This is designed for agencies and individuals who have mission-critical operations and don't want any vulnerability to not having a key. It's priced at $199, partly to keep the number of unprotected copies floating around at low levels. It is not available for download and must be ordered.
    permkey

    I cannot connect to the Weather Graphics FTP site or web page, or transfers from the Weather Graphics site are slow.
    If our site doesn't work but other Internet sites do, wait a short while as site maintenance may be going on.
    slowsite

    How can I keep up on the latest happenings with Digital Atmosphere?
    The best way is to participate in the WX-SOFTWARE mailing list, which was created mainly for Digital Atmosphere. Here you can find out about current news, hear from other users, and ask questions. To get involved, visit:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wx-software. This list gets first priority for any announcements.
    keepup

    Do you sell my name and address to third parties?
    Absolutely not. The big corporations may enjoy trading information about you, but we consider it to be a serious and invasive breach of privacy. We respect our relationship with you as a customer, and any orders that you place with us are held in strictest confidence. Your name and address are used only for our own reference, and may be used for us to mail you information about our own products (only occasionally, not one spam every week). If you're not interested in receiving any mailings from us, please contact us at support@weathergraphics.com .
    privacy

    Is there a warranty on Digital Atmosphere? What if I want my money back?
    The Digital Atmosphere evaluation version gives you a full-fledged 30-day test drive to let you decide whether the program is suitable for your use. Please take full advantage of it! Download and play around with the program before you decide to spend any money. This method has made all of our users happy by being sure that they're buying what they want. This is more lenient than most big-business software publishers, who don't give you any test drive, then have the gall to not allow refunds when it doesn't work as promised.
    warranty

    Do I have to uninstall my existing copy of Digital Atmosphere to install a new copy?
    It's not required, but it's a good idea just to make sure there won't be any conflicts of any kind. To uninstall Digital Atmosphere, go to the Control Panel, then choose "Add/Remove Hardware", then choose "Digital Atmosphere".
    secondcopy

    When I start Digital Atmosphere, there is no workchart and I can't even create maps.
    This is usually caused by using desktop shortcuts to Digital Atmosphere. If you must use such a shortcut, right-click on the shortcut's properties and look under the Shortcut tab under "Start In". This directory name must precisely match the Digital Atmosphere directory. If not, Digital Atmosphere will not work properly.
    nomaps


    ACCESSING DATA


    Do you need the Internet to use Digital Atmosphere?
    No, you don't. Digital Atmosphere will work with EMWIN, Accu-Data, WSI, Kavouras, and many other dialup services. You can even use it with canned data, as long as it is given a file containing raw weather data.
    internetneeded

    I'm using Digital Atmosphere on my work PC which is behind a proxy. I've entered the necessary proxy info (name and port) however, our proxy requires a username and password. Any way around this? Thanks!
    There is no support for proxy id/password at this time. We will check into adding this in to an upcoming version over the summer.
    proxyid

    Digital Atmosphere does not import "Real Weather" data that I am using for my flight simulator.
    The data available from "Real Weather" sites like http://www.menet.umn.edu/~curt/weather/ and http://pc38.seva.net/~xplane/ consist of re-converted non-standard SAO formats that are not recommended for use in Digital Atmosphere because of numerous formatting errors. Furthermore, since SAO format was never used outside North America, Digital Atmosphere will not recognize foreign observations from these sites. We strongly recommend any of the normal METAR or SYNOP sites provided in Digital Atmosphere's Internet > Retrieve Data panel, or your own standard weather feed such as EMWIN.
    realwx

    In Data, Retrieval if a data source says "International", does that include the U.S.?
    Yes.
    intlus

    I would like to know where I can find the international datas for this software and if it works also for Europe.
    In the Digital Atmosphere Internet > Retrieve panel, a large number of the download options are valid for Europe and most other parts of the world. For first-timers we recommend any one of the entries listed as "Synoptic (world)". That will allow surface data for most places in the world to be plotted.
    intl

    How do I correct bad data at a particular station?
    You can correct it temporarily by dragging the mouse across the station. Then go to File > Quality Control and change and find the station you want to change, then edit the erroneous value (to eliminate it set it to -9999). You can correct the data permanently in DA2000 V1.0a and later by editing the DIGATMOS.RUL file with a text editor. In the first column, put the WMO or ICAO of the station. In the second column put the data type (TEMP, DWPT, WDIR, WSPD, SLP, or ALST) and in the third column put the action (this will be DELETE but we plan to support other types of actions such as data corrections in a future release). Any future imports you do will be affected by the DIGATMOS.RUL file settings.
    qc

    When I try to download a product I get a 404 Error.
    First you must try out different sites in the list, and try them at different times during the day, and see what happens.
    ABSOLUTELY NO DATA CAN BE DOWNLOADED:
  • Are you running Norton Internet Security (NIS), Zone Alarm, or other firewall programs? Firewalls are a big cause of cutting off Digital Atmosphere from the outside world. You will need to add Digital Atmosphere to the firewall's list of programs that get Internet privileges.
  • Your system clock or time zone may be erroneous. Go to Internet > Retrieval and look at the suggested time AND date tokens. Do they match the current Universal Time shown at the US Naval Observatory's site? If not, go into your Control Panel and check your date/time and time zone settings. Be sure that the daylight saving time settings are correct. If you make a change, close and reopen the Internet Retrieval panel to accept the new settings.
  • Check your Internet connection. Your ISP may be having a problem of some sort.
  • Does your ISP use a proxy server? If so, you will need to enter the settings for the proxy server in File > Preferences > Misc > Proxy Server Settings. We cannot provide any kind of support for configuring this. You'll need to contact your ISP or network administrator for the settings. Note there is no ability to handle proxy server ID/passwords.
    SOME DATA CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM CERTAIN SITES SOMETIMES:
  • Your system clock or time zone may be erroneous. Go to Internet > Retrieval and look at the suggested time AND date tokens. Do they match the current Universal Time shown at the US Naval Observatory's site? If not, go into your Control Panel and check your date/time and time zone settings. Be sure that the daylight saving time settings are correct. If you make a change, close and reopen the Internet Retrieval panel to accept the new settings.
  • Are you accessing data too early in the hour? Sometimes products are not available for 10 or 20 minutes after the cardinal hour as the data servers are going through a bulletin collection cycle.
  • The data server may be offline. This can be "tested" by checking out the URL, and trimming off the filename in a browser to try to list out the directory. You may discover that the server is broken, offline, or the contents have been rearranged. We are not responsible for making short-notice corrections or notifications, as this kind of thing happens occasionally. Simply use a different data source and we will fix it within a few months.
  • You have too many data items selected. You only need one METAR resource, one upper air source, and so forth. Do NOT select more than what you need. If one of these sources is offline, it will interrupt the entire data retrieval operation. If you want, you can find the problematic data source by using a process of elimination to check one resource at a time and retrieving from that source until you find the one that generates the error.
    ONLY FRONTAL BULLETINS CAUSE PROBLEMS:
  • Does this occur only with frontal bulletins? It is very difficult for Digital Atmosphere to estimate when this product will be available. In many cases you can subtract 1 or 2 hours from the @H time token to get the latest product.
    404

  • I keep getting old data when downloading .
  • Your system clock or time zone may be erroneous. Go to Internet > Retrieval and look at the suggested time AND date tokens. Do they match the current Universal Time shown at the US Naval Observatory's site? If not, go into your Control Panel and check your date/time and time zone settings. Be sure that the daylight saving time settings are correct. If you make a change, close and reopen the Internet Retrieval panel to accept the new settings.
  • Does this occur with Synoptic and Upper Air data?. This data is NOT generated hourly. It is only available every 6 to 12 hours. Digital Atmosphere is not designed to retrieve intermediate synoptic observations, but this can be overridden by changing the URL construct for the synoptic observation sites in Internet > Retrieve.
    olddata

  • How can I download data to a file and then import it into Digital Atmosphere so that it can process the data?
    You must save the incoming weather data into a disk file. Under Netscape or Explorer, you can do this by having the raw data on your screen, then choosing "File, Save As...". Remember the directory and filename you are saving the data to. Then when it is finished downloading, go into Digital Atmosphere, choose "File, Import a file..." and choose that file. After it imports, you can then plot and analyze it. Note that if you're on the Internet, you can skip this whole process by choosing Internet > Retrieve Data and let Digital Atmosphere do all the work.
    dlimport

    I get a "Range Check" or "Floating Point Overflow" error when importing data. However everything else seems to work fine.
    This is caused by a corrupt data element in your file that is causing Digital Atmosphere to abort one of the import modules. It will continue importing data, but one of the data types (such as synoptic, SD, or rawinsonde) will be unavailable. Range check errors are for the most part harmless though annoying. If this happens, please send a sample of the file (no larger than 50K) to support@weathergraphics.com and we will try to fix it in the next version of the program. Be sure to clearly indicate the problem with the sample or we will not be able to do anything with it.
    importerror

    I use your older software titles and I'm a CompuServe customer. CompuServe said that their Aviation Weather area is discontinued as part of their Program 2000 "upgrade". So where can I get raw data now?
    There are plenty of free sources of raw data on the Internet that you can use with WeatherGraphix, Digital Atmosphere, and other programs. Head to our links area for a listing of data sources. Note that if you have the newer Digital Atmosphere programs, they will be able to automatically retrieve data from Internet sources and you won't have to worry about "capturing" raw data from anywhere.
    avwx

    Why do some (not all) URL links for the internet fail to provide any data after say 7 or 8 pm?
    Some of these products are keyed in to the UTC time, which is derived from your system clock and your Windows time zone settings. You may want to check both to make sure they are set correctly. Also check the UTC time suggested in the Data Retrieval panel and see if it looks consistent with US Naval Observatory's site.
    noevening


    PLOTTING


    I cleared the map and asked DA to display current data, and it is displaying other (older?) data for KMFE (& I assume for other stations?)
    This is not behavior I have seen... the only thing I can think of that would cause this is:
  • The data directory is loaded with old data somehow (this is solved by using File > Clear Data Directory and reimporting data).
  • You have SYNOP and METAR data mixed together in the file; Digital Atmosphere will often try to display the SYNOP data since there's more of it, and will not display the METAR data if it's valid for another time [this was the cause of this particular complaint]. You can display each dataset by manually setting the surface time, but of course this means you have to know which time frames are available. The best way to avoid this is to NOT download METAR and SYNOP data together.
  • Too much METAR data was downloaded from multiple sources; only one METAR resource should be used at a time before Internet > Retrieve is done again. Alternatively you can "lasso" the MFE plot and QC the station to see how many instances of observations exist for this station. This would be the thing to do after following the above.
    multipleinstances

  • I want to research out new weather stations or correct a station in the Digital Atmosphere listing. What resources can I use to do my research?
  • DIGATMOS.STN file. You can add and delete stations from Digital Atmosphere by editing DIGATMOS.STN with a text editor, saving, then using Digital Atmosphere's File > Recompile Tables to enable the changes (it takes about 5 minutes).
  • Station page. For plenty of links, resources, and databases relating to weather stations, head to our Station Identifier Page. You can even download a program called METAR Audit that compares real-time data to the Digital Atmosphere station listing and finds new stations that aren't in your listing.
    newstn

  • Cloud heights cannot be plotted by layers. It plots only the ceiling.
    There is no capability to plot heights layer by layer. This is a capability that will have to go into our suggestion box for inclusion at some point in the future.
    cldlayers

    We are having a problem with some station plots we added. They are not plotted in the correct coordinates which we included in station file. I've checked if the coordinates were right and it seems so.
    The fraction portion of each station's latitude and longitude must be entered in minutes, not decimal fractions. In other words, a station halfway between 6 deg S and 7 deg S would be entered as 0630S, not 0650S. Other problems could arise from station identifiers that are longer than the space allocated to them (4 letters for ICAO and 5 letters for WMO number).. this could cause duplicates to occur.
    stnloc

    Where can I get a list of the used weather symbols and their meanings?
    See our plot reference sheet at wxcode1.gif (weather) and wxcode2.gif (clouds). These images are extracted from our Weathergraph reference sheet.
    symbology

    In Digital Atmosphere 2000, when I display a station plot, I only get the oktas, wind barb, pressure and ceiling height. No temperature, no dewpoint, no visibility. I checked the preferences immediately, and all of the fields are there.
    Go to File > Preferences > Station Plots and re-select the items in the dropdown menu where you see the temperature, dewpoint, and visibility. This will enable a new set of elements that are now in use (i.e. TEMP(F) changes to TEMP, DWPT(F) changes to DWPT, etc). We have patched the downloadable version on our web site for this, but there's no reason to re-download, since the above corrections accomplish the exact same thing and fix the error permanently.
    misplot

    Is there a way to force the use of a particular weather station in the plot data command?
    Yes. Add the desired station to your DIGATMOS.PRI file using a text editor. Stations in this list are always plotted first.
    stnpri

    What are the alphanumeric codes used for the ceiling height on station plots?
    Measurement method: M=Measured E=Estimated C=Unknown
    cigmethod

    How can I customize the Television Plot cities?
    All you need to do is look in your Digital Atmosphere program directory (using any ASCII editor such as Windows Notepad) and edit the file named DIGATMOS.PLL . Columns 1-4 should contain the ICAO (for METAR observations) and columns 6-10 should contain the synoptic station number (for synoptic observations). Either the ICAO or synoptic identifier, or both, can be used. Columns 12-50 should contain the text for the station that you want plotted on the map (leave it blank if you want nothing). We hope to do away with this crude interface in an upcoming version of Digital Atmosphere and add a city list interface.
    tvplots

    A station plot I want to look at isn't on the map.
    Digital Atmosphere operates with a default selection of using a clutter suppression algorithm, which avoids plotting a station if there is a chance it will overwrite an neighboring one that's already plotted. You can turn this off by going to File > Preferences > Station Plots and checking "Plot All Stations". This may make your map VERY cluttered. To have a legible, uncluttered map and see a particular station, your only options are zooming in further so that more stations in the region of interest are displayed, or eliminating a neighboring station you don't want to see by deleting it from the DIGATMOS.STN listing and selecting File, Recompile Tables. Plans are in the works for a station priority function that forces Digital Atmosphere to always plot a desired station before it uses the clutter supression algorithms.
    misgstn

    Why are some station plots red or blue?
    A red station plot indicates instrument flight rules (IFR), which means the ceilings are below 1000 feet and/or the visibility is below 3 miles. A blue station plot indicates marginal visual flight rules (MVFR), meaning the ceiling is below 3000 feet and/or the visibility is below 5 miles. These colors are good for helping you visualize areas of low ceilings and visibility at a glance.
    redblueplot

    What do the square station plots represent?
    The square symbol is reserved for automated stations. An automated report is signalled by either "AUTO", "ASOS", or other similar abbreviations in the report, or by the indicator for automated observations in a SYNOP report.
    squareplot


    CONTOURING


    Digital Atmosphere will let me perform one Barnes analysis, but if I try to perform a second Barnes analysis I receive a Range Check error.
    A couple of bugs in the functions used by the Cressman and Barnes analysis are known to exist.
    barneserror

    Upper level height contours don't work. The computer freezes up.
    Examine File > Preferences > Analysis > "Figure geostrophic heights". It is usually checked, which causes heights to be rendered with geostrophic balance. This gives good results but can take a long time on slow computers -- for example if you have a 486 it can take several minutes. You can get a quicker height analysis by unchecking this option.
    slowgeo

    I performed a contour analysis but no lines appear.
    In most cases, the contour lines have been set to the background color. Go to File > Preferences and check the colors under the Map tab and the Contours tab.
    nocontour

    The analysis isopleths don't seem to match well with the data.
    All objective analysis routines are smoothed so that the isopleths don't look extremely coarse. You can reduce the smoothing operators in the File > Preferences > Analysis menus. Also, take into account that if a station sends out a bad meteorological value, the analysis may yield a more representative value than the station plot itself. You can clean up bad data using the Quality Control command as discussed in previous chapters. If you need extremely accurate isoplething, hand analysis (on top of a printed map) is always the best solution.
    correlation

    How can I change isopleth colors, linestyles, and intervals?
    Just go to File > Preferences > Contours and make the changes.
    contouroptions

    How can I make a moisture convergence map?
    It's easy. On the Wind Toolbar under "Derived Field", just pick Divergence. Then go to Analysis > Mixing Ratio. What you will see is a moisture convergence map.
    mcon

    How could we replace the fonst for Highs and Lows in the maps, since in Portuguese we use a different word for those.
    For NMC fonts, the only way to fix this is to edit the FONT.0HL file with a graphics program (it's a BMP file). As long as the canvas size is not changed and you make minimal changes to get the symbology correct, it will run fine. The non-NMC-font highs and lows are hardcoded and cannot be edited, but I will take your request into consideration as the next version is programmed and see if we can add some sort of option.
    highlowsym

    The convective outlooks do not plot. I checked with SPC and while they don't have any risk areas, they do have general thunderstorm areas.
    Convective outlooks must be obtained from plaintext bulletins. HTML formats (such as those on SPC's site) may not work.
    acusnoplot


    MAPPING


    When I tried to use generate map function and cancelled out of it, Digital Atmosphere locked up and gave the following errors: Error allocation memory for DIB / Writing bmp file failed. After that the map is "stuck", data won't plot, and Generate Map fails to let me generate a new map.
    This is a bug, and indicates that the map attribute file got corrupted. Here is what you should do to "reset" the maps.
    SOLUTION #1 -- Un-corrupt the maps by "untangling" the map attributes. Here's how to do it.
    1. On the toolbar (NOT in the menus), pick Alabama in the Generate Map dropdown list. It will regenerate a map, which may be slightly off.
    2. Go to Map > Generate Map > Enter Lat/Long. It should let you in now.
    3. Press the United States in the location quick-pick.
    4. Press the Reset button in "Advanced"... this will set image offsets back to 0 and aspect to 1.
    5. Press OK. A new map will be generated, which may be slightly off.
    6. Repeat Step #1 for any location.
    7. Repeat Step #2-5 for any location.
    8. The problem should be fixed now.
    SOLUTION # 2 -- If you don't want to do solution #1 or it doesn't work, you can simply replace the corrupted maps with factory fresh ones. They're at my website on the Digital Atmosphere item at: http://www.weathergraphics.com/download.htm -- just unzip and let it overwrite the corrupted maps.
    WHEN FIXED... I strongly recommend going to Map > Save Map and save it as "Backup". Then load that anytime you get into trouble again and it should clear the problem immediately.
    TO PREVENT A REOCCURRENCE... avoid "cancelling" out of map generation menus.
    corruptmap

    Why doesn't Digital Atmosphere plot cities?
    This is an optional feature that you will need to configure for your own purposes. Simply edit the DIGATMOS.CIT file and add the cities you want plotted (you'll need the latitude and longitude). The format is self-explanatory.
    mapcities

    Every now and then when generating a map, I see an area that's been flooded by an ocean fill.
    There is probably a defect in the geography file that allows a gap in the coastline to be plotted. One method to avoid this is to regenerate at a different zoom level or use File > Maps > Double Wide Coastlines. This geography file problem can't be permanently fixed until the next upgrade, however in the next upgrade we will be adding an editable fill boundary file that will allow users to "close off" any problematic boundaries.
    oceanspill

    I just generated a map and noticed a certain inlet or water body did not fill with an ocean color.
    If you modify the [digitalatmosphere]\GEO\FILL.GEO file, you can add in a new "point" where an ocean color fill can be forced. Simply right-click on the unfilled area and choose "Get lat/long". Using this lat/long, enter it in the FILL.GEO file. Future map generating operations will fill this area starting at this point.
    oceanfill

    Is it possible to correct political boundaries in Digital Atmosphere? Is there not a file (geo) similar to the *.plr file which I can edit to fix a border?
    Not in the latest version of Digital Atmosphere; we had to convert all the data from text to binary data to conserve disk space. However you can add borders, of course, using custom geography (see the manual). We will NOT make changes for border dispute reasons (e.g. India/Pakistan, Argentina, etc).
    borders

    What is the map projection used for all Digital Atmosphere imagery?
    Digital Atmosphere uses the orthographic projection.
    projection

    Can I remap satellite imagery into the same projection used by Digital Atmosphere and use it as a background BMP?
    Only if you can remap the satellite imagery to the orthographic projection and manually scale it and set the aspect ratio as necessary. This can't be done automatically by Digital Atmosphere because it's impossible for the software to guess at the position of the satellite photos and how to fit the image.
    satremap


    RADAR


    What's with the radar plots? I download radar from the program then click radar echos but nothing plots except for a color bar.
    The radar module is not very reliable and is need of further work. We will be accomplishing this on the next round of programming work as we try to begin concentrating on NIDS format and retire the antiquated RAREP format.
    radplot


    FRONTS


    Sometimes when plotting Fronts I see a front or trough that crosses through a huge swath of the map. What is causing this?
    The cause of this is a badly-formatted bulletin or one containing errors. This particular type of bulletin is susceptible to such problems as it uses a shorthand type of format to compress the contents. In rare cases, such problems may be caused by having multiple instances of a frontal bulletin (though this is usually easily spotted as numerous fronts appear elsewhere on the map). We will be trying to improve the reliability of this function in upcoming versions of Digital Atmosphere, both in terms of anticipating unusual formatting problems and discarding bad data. In the meantime please ignore such features.
    badfront

    When I use the toolbox to draw a cold front, no problem. But when I switch to a stationary front, it leaves a grey line not linked to where the stationary front begins. Somehow the grey line detaches from the cold front and ruins the chart.
    Very important: when you "set stationary front", you are starting a new line. When you define the second point, you will see the gray line. Once you define the third point (or more points), the gray line will be gone and will be replaced by the multicolor stationary front.
    frontdraw

    DA2000 is a nice programme, but it plots fronts only for the U.S. and not for Europe, where I live, or elsewhere in the world. Why is that?
    The frontal bulletins are produced by the National Weather Service and are only produced for the region around North America. However, you can use Digital Atmosphere to analyze charts and draw fronts by hand using the Data > Fronts > Create function -- a frontal depiction bulletin is not required to do this.
    frontintl

    Why do I need some bulletin to be able to do fronts, or why do I have to do it myself? Why doesn't Digital Atmosphere have these capabilities?
    Frontal positions are never determined through numerical (computed) methods, not even at big forecasting centers. The fronts you see on centrally produced charts are always produced with hand analysis and then digitized. The only source for such position information is the ASUS1 KWBC bulletin that Digital Atmosphere can use to plot the front locations.
    autofront

    What is the format for numerically generating my frontal bulletin?
    Look in the Digital Atmosphere help file under Data Commands > Frontal Bulletin. Towards the bottom you will see a sample frontal bulletin. You will need to follow this format. The 111118Z means the data is valid 11 (Nov) 11 (date) at 18Z. To generate a high pressure area, put HIGHS and repeat for each additional center. To generate a low pressure, put LOWS and repeat the above format. To plot a front, use COLD, WARM, STNRY, OCFNT, or TROF followed by WK (for weak; Digital Atmosphere does not use this value but expects it), followed by and so forth to delineate the positions defining the front. Do not put WK after TROF. The group is simply the integer latitude and longitude merged together into a number (for example 35N 98W is 3598). Important: for the southern or eastern hemispheres, DO NOT use negative symbols; you must instead add 400 to the longitude number and for the southern hemisphere you must add 200 to the latitude number (for example 35S 98E is 235498). Also, the latitude and the longitude must always be expressed in at least two digits each (for example 5N 8W would be 0508).
    frontformat


    CLIMATOLOGY


    Can I import new data into the climatology database --- say for tornadoes, lightning, etc?
    The climatology database is a binary, proprietary format and it would take an advanced programmer to be able to effectively make modifications.
    newclimo


    SOUNDINGS


    Can I customize the soundings?
    No, not at this time. This capability will be added in an upgrade soon.
    customsounding


    PRINTING


    I'm having problems printing to my printer (typically an HP but may include other models).
    A few users report problems printing, in particular with HP LaserJet printers (such as getting blank pages). Unfortunately this is due to substandard or proprietary drivers, which do not all work the same. We assure you that our printing algorithms are very simple and straightforward, and some drivers do not cooperate. We have worked at this back in 1999 but with only limited results. There's not much we can do without extensive coding. The big companies that write major software can get around this with custom print algorithms, but we don't have the resources to do this.
    laserjet

    Is there anything I can do to get a good printout?
    There are a few things you can try. Go to print setup (below), and either change the resolution from 600 to 300 dpi or change "vector" to "raster". If your printer is equipped with a PostScript option, use the PostScript mode for 600-dpi printing. This 600-dpi PCL5 printing problem is not specific to Digital Atmosphere. Documents with various graphic images may not print correctly to the LaserJet 4 in PCL mode at 600 dpi unless the Graphics option in the Windows printer driver setup is set to Raster mode.
    printhow

    If I can't make printouts, is there anything I can do?
    Use the clipboard. Simply go to Map > Copy to Clipboard, then switch to another graphics program that is known to work well with your printer, and paste it there. Then you can print the image. And if you're having printer problems, by the way, let us know. We're interested in the details.
    altprint

    The printer responds with "overflow error" or erratic "out of paper" errors.
    The maps that Digital Atmosphere sends to your printer are huge and for best results will require 4MB or more of RAM on your printer. This usually isn't a problem with inkjet printers (where the printfile is spooled off the hard drive), but laser jet printers require a complete image in their memory before they print to the drum. If this is the case, go to File > Printer Setup and change the resolution settings so the map is printed at a lower resolution. Another remedy is to avoid solid color fills, such as topography, blue oceans, etc, since they take up considerable printer memory.
    printeroverflow


    MISCELLANEOUS


    The script is scheduled to run at 01,10,22 minutes past each hour. After restarting the program, the first time the script runs, it takes only about 7 minutes. Each successive time takes longer (up to 20 minutes) until the program finally hangs. When I've watched the program I noticed it takes a minute or more just to run "coout" and "stamp" each. We also have Screensaver ON. Any ideas why this script is taking so long to run and eventually hanging?
    The user E-mailed us a short time later to add, "It appears there was a problem with the screensaver. Working fine now."
    slowdown

    I am getting file errors or errors that say "cannot create file".
    Digital Atmosphere should be installed to C:\DIGATM or to another disk drive with a similar short directory name. Although we could not turn up any problems while testing with long filenames, we still have reason to believe it is a problem on certain peoples' machines.
    fileerror

    I am seeing funky random lines when I render my maps.
    Upgrade your video driver. This problem has been reported by ATI Rage Fury users. One source of problems is the ATI Rage 128 GL AGP 4.12.6269 driver. The user who reported this said the problem was in their updated driver, and he said he'd be hesitant to buy ATI products in the future.
    atirage

    Can you list all the "secret" files in Digital Atmosphere that I can modify?
    Sure. Here they are:
    DIGATMOS.MSEGeography reference table for "Generate map"
    DIGATMOS.SYIDefinitions for symbols and pictograms
    DIGATMOS.EMPEMWIN bulletin definitions
    DIGATMOS.PLRCustom geography overlay definition
    DIGATMOS.CITCustom city overlay definitions
    DIGATMOS.SLZInternet retrieval URL/title table (can be modified within program)
    DIGATMOS.PLLTelevision plot city locations
    DIGATMOS.RULRule file for auto QC'ing of observations
    secretfiles

    Recently, and for some unknown reason, the DA clock stays at zero after data has been retrieved. When I try to restart it through "preferences" it will retrieve once and go to minus 1 second and not reset. The only way I have been able to
    Thanks for the info on this problem... I've seen it before, but it's usually been too intermittent to be able to figure what it is. In the next release I'll try to add some diagnostics you can enable which will help me debug it if it occurs again. Since I'm not sure what causes it (yet) I'm not sure how to fix it.
    countdown

    The other day I was attacked by the Klez Virus and while I have managed to eliminate it with little damage, do you think this may have damaged my copy of Digital Atmosphere?
    Klez, along with most other E-mail worms (i.e. they aren't viruses) generally don't tamper with third-party programs on your computer. If anything they will only make changes to Microsoft Windows. I recommend this resource for more info on Klez:
  • http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.klez.h@mm.html
    virus

  • I can't load maps from V2.2 into version V2.3 or DA 2000.
    The reason for this incompatibility is a switch to newer graphics components in V2.3 that changes the way in which images are saved and loaded. It has been found that the old images are incompatible with V2.3 and DA 2000.
    oldmapformat

    I would like to analyze a certain hurricane using Digital Atmosphere. Which data is the best to download for this kind of analysis? Surface data doen't seem to be very helpful.
    Satellite data (without Digital Atmosphere use) would be best since observations in the storm are going to be sparse. The only kinds of data likely to be useful in Digital Atmosphere are synoptic and buoy data.
    hurr


    ERROR CODES


    I am seeing a numerical error code.
    These are system runtime errors and may be encountered from time to time in Digital Atmosphere and other software programs. Although these errors are very rare, here are some of the ones we've seen over the years.
    Error Cause Solution
    Error 1 Invalid function number. Has never been seen before. Contact us.
    Error 2 File not found. A file has been erased or corrupted. Reinstall Digital Atmosphere.
    Error 3 Path not found. An invalid directory name has been specified somewhere. Contact us.
    Error 4 Too many open files. Close some other programs.
    Error 5 File acces denied. Digital Atmosphere cannot access a file that it needs. Contact us.
    Error 30 Read fault. Disk is corrupt or a hardware problem exists. Run Scandisk, check hardware, or get the help of a technician.
    Error 32 File sharing error. Another program or process did not allow Dig Atm to access a file it needs. Close all other programs.
    I/O Error 53 Network path not found. Occurs in old Dig Atm versions. Update to the newest version of Digital Atmosphere. Error 53 is a "Network path not found" error that is triggered in pre-1998 versions of Dig Atm when the Internet (winsock) services on your computer are not compatible.
    Error 100 Disk read error. Hard drive problem exists. Go to Windows Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools and run Scandisk with a thorough check of the hard drive.
    Error 101 Disk write error. Hard drive problem exists. Go to Windows Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools and run Scandisk with a thorough check of the hard drive.
    Error 102 File not assigned. Possible programming error. Contact us.
    Error 103 File not open. Possible programming error. Contact us.
    Error 104 File not open for input. Possible programming error. Contact us.
    Error 105 File not open for output. Possible programming error. Contact us.
    Error 106 Invalid numerical format. Possible programming error. Contact us.
    Error 200 Division by zero error. Mathematical problem. Send exact details about what you were doing and the exact source of data (including filename if possible) to our tech support address. A sample of the data is often helpful.
    Error 201 Range check error. Mathematical problem. Send exact details about what you were doing and the exact source of data (including filename if possible) to our tech support address. A sample of the data is often helpful.
    Error 202 Stack overflow. Digital Atmosphere ran out of memory. Close other programs and/or use smaller maps in Digital Atmosphere.
    Error 203 Heap overflow. Digital Atmosphere ran out of memory. Close other programs and/or use smaller maps in Digital Atmosphere.
    Error 204 Invalid pointer operation. Error in source code. Send as many details as possible to our tech support address.
    Error 205 Floating point overflow. Digital Atmosphere ran out of memory. Close other programs and/or use smaller maps in Digital Atmosphere.
    Error 216 General protection fault (GPF) error. Memory configuration is corrupt. Close Windows and reboot computer.
    errorcodes