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What's new in NCAR Graphics

This page describes new features in NCAR Graphics versions 4.4.x and 4.3.x that were added since version 4.2.0 was released in August 2000.

What's new in version 5.1.0 (released March 2009)

Some new map databases were added: To access these new features at the NCAR Graphics level, see the EZMAPB documentation.

To access these features from NCL, see examples 16 through 19 on the "Map only" applications page.

What's new in version 5.0.0 (released November 2007)

There are no major new features in NCAR Graphics with this release. It is now being combined with NCL and hence given a new numbering scheme.

To download these newly combined packages, go to the NCL download page.

What's new in version 4.4.2 (released June 2007)

What's new in version 4.4.1

What's new in version 4.4.0

New contouring package for contouring non-uniform grids (CONPACKT)

In recent years, many new non-uniform grids have become popular and these are being processed by new algorithms to reduce them to triangle meshes and to contour directly on these triangles, rather than interpolating to a uniform grid and contouring. CONPACKT allows a user to construct these contour plots from data on triangular meshes and provides a sort of tool kit of Fortran subroutines that can be called in various combinations to draw different kinds of contour plots.

CONPACKT examples
ctcbay (finite element mesh) ctgeo1 (geodesic) ctnccl (triangular mesh)
ctiscp (ISCCP grid) ctllg3 (lat/lon grid)
ctpopg (POP grid) ctorca (ORCA grid)
ctswth ("swath" grid) ctwng2 (SEAM grid)
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

Using CONPACKT, one can now draw views of contours and contour bands on surfaces in 3D. The routines to do this sit inside CONPACKT, but they have hybrid names of the form "CTTDxx", to reflect the fact that they may be viewed as extensions of both CONPACKT and TDPACK.

cttd01 cttd02

For more information, see the CONPACKT programmer document:

For a list of all the available CONPACKT examples, type;
ncargex -conpackt -list

New PDF driver

A PDF workstation was added to NCAR Graphics, allowing you to direct your graphical output directly to a PDF file. The method is similar to how you currently send your output to a PostScript or NCGM file. For more information, see the section "PDF Output" in the User's Guide for NCAR GKS-0A Graphics.

Also, most of the "ncargex" examples can be run so that the output goes to a PDF file. For example, the following will produce a PDF file called "ctcbay.pdf":

ncargex -W pdf ctcbay

New updates in Tdpack

A new routine called "TDCURV" was added that allows you to draw the projection of a curve in 3-space. A cone-shaped arrowhead may be drawn at the end of this curve. For more information, see the TDPACK programmer document:
For a Fortran example, type:
ncargex tdex08

or see the file tdex08.f, whose output is shown below:

"tdex08" example
Click on image to see it enlarged.

Double precision version of Fitgrid

A double precision version of the Ngmath package Fitgrid was added. Both Fortran and C user entries are available. For information on the routine names and to see some examples, see:

AUTOGRAPH changes and udpates

IFTRAN source code now part of distribution

The IFTRAN source for some of the utilities is now part of the NCAR Graphics distribution. This is invisible to the user, but it makes it easier if you need to get into the NCAR Graphics source code and debug it.

What's new in version 4.3.1

What's new in version 4.3.0

High resolution coastlines added to Ezmap

The Ezmap database was modified to provide access to the very high resolution coastline database RANGS (Regionally Accessible Nested Global Shorelines), developed by Rainer Feistel from Wessel and Smith's GSHHS (Global Self-consistent Hierarchical High-resolution Shoreline) database.

To access the high-resolution coastlines, you must first download the RANGS/GSHHS database from Rainer Feistel's web site at http://www.io-warnemuende.de/homepages/rfeistel/. Right before the section entitled "Some WWW Links", you should see a little table with ten *.zip files to download:

           rangs(0).zip         gshhs(0).zip
           rangs(1).zip         gshhs(1).zip
           rangs(2).zip         gshhs(2).zip
           rangs(3).zip         gshhs(3).zip
           rangs(4).zip         gshhs(4).zip
Download all ten files, unzip them, and either put them in the directory "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/database/rangs", or put them somewhere else and set the environment variable NCARG_RANGS to this directory. The files take up about 140 megabytes, unzipped.

For more information, see the section "Routines Used to Access the RANGS/GSHHS Data", in the Ezmap programmer document. For a Fortran example, type:

ncargex mpex13

or see the file mpex13.f, whose output is shown in the table below:

"mpex13" example
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

"ezmapdemo" program updated to include high-resolution coastlines

The "ezmapdemo" program was updated to recognize the new RANGS/GSHHS database that was added to Ezmap, and to display the new style of latitude/longitude labels along the edge of a rectangular grid.

SUPMAP updated to allow access to Ezmap databases

The Fortran routine SUPMAP was updated to allow access to the "Earth..2" or "Earth..3" database, via the IOUT argument.

Added Nauru to the "Ezmap..2" database

The Pacific island of Nauru was added to the "Ezmap..2" database. For an example, or to see what Nauru looks like, compile nauru.f and view the resulting metafile:
ncargf77 -o nauru nauru.f
ctrans -d X11 gmeta

Example of contouring a POP grid added to Conpack

A new Conpack example "cpex16" was created to show how to contour a POP (Parallel Ocean Program) grid. To generate this example, type:
ncargex cpex16

The output is shown in the table below:

"cpex16" example
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

Curly vectors added to Streamlines

The ability to create curly vectors has been added to the Streamlines package, via the STM parameter. Also, you can create progressively colored streamlines. That is, you can have the streamlines vary in color along their length, based on some scalar quantity.

For more information on curly vectors, see the sections "Streamline Modes" and "Color Threshold Level Control" in the Streamlines document.

Trajectory capability added to three-dimensional plotting package (Tdpack)

A new routine called TDTTRI was added that provides a trajectory capability. TDTTRI adds triangles defining a collection of 3D markers to the triangles in a triangle list. The 3D markers are evenly distributed along a user-defined trajectory. To generate an example showing this feature, type:
ncargex tdex07

The output is shown in the table below:

"tdex07" example
Click on image to see it enlarged.

New capabilities added to weather map package (Wmap)

The parameter WDF was added to Wmap to allow you to reverse the wind directions in the wind barb routine WMBARB.

The parameter SMF was added to Wmap to allow you to use smoothing splines when drawing front lines. The smoothing splines are splines that are calculated using a least squares fit, rather than the natural splines that pass through the original data points.

A new example "wmex15" was added to show how to draw wind barbs on a map. To generate this example, type:

ncargex wmex15

The output is shown in the table below:

"wmex15" example
Click on image to see it enlarged.

New logo drawing routines added

New Fortran routines "nglogo" and "ngezlogo" (C routines "c_nglogo" and "c_ngezlogo") were added that draw various NCAR and UCAR logos on a plot. Also, a new application called "ncarlogo2ps" was added that adds an NCAR logo to an existing PostScript file. See the man pages for "nglogo", "ngezlogo", and "ncarlogo2ps" for more information.

To generate an example, type:

ncargex miex01

The output is shown in the table below:

Logo example
Click on image to see it enlarged.

Source updated to compile under Cygwin

The NCAR Graphics source code was modified significantly to get it to build under Cygwin, a UNIX environment developed by Red Hat, for Windows.

What's new in version 4.2.3

What's new in version 4.2.2

What's new in version 4.2.1

What's new in version 4.2.0

New functionality in Ngmath

Two new packages have been added to the Ngmath library: Cssgrid and Shgrid. Cssgrid is an interpolation package for random data on the surface of a sphere which uses cubic splines to calculate its interpolation function. Shgrid is an interpolation package for random data in 3-space which uses a modified Shepard's algorithm to calculate its interpolation function.

Both Cssgrid and Shgrid are based on the work of Robert Renka. For more information on Cssgrid and Shgrid, see:


Cssgrid examples
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

Shgrid examples
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

New boundaries added to Ezmap

Canadian provincial boundaries, Mexican state boundaries, and U.S. state and county boundaries were added to Ezmap. For information on how to access these new boundaries, see the Ezmap programmer document.

Ezmap example with
added boundary lines
Same example, zoomed in
on inner circle
Ezmap example with
climate divisions
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

New functionality in Tdpack

A new routine (TDCTRI) was added to Tdpack that processes a list of triangles and cuts in half each one that intersects a specified plane perpendicular to one of the three axes. This makes it possible to render objects with shading that depends on the U, V, or W position of the triangles. For information on using this routine, or any other routine in Tdpack, see the Tdpack programmer document.

New Tdpack examples
Click on any image to see it enlarged.

New application called "ezmapdemo"

The command "ezmapdemo" is an interactive program allowing one to access most of the features of Ezmap, including the database "Earth..1", added in 1998, the database "Earth..2", added in 1999, and the new projections from the USGS package called GCTP (the General Coordinate Transformation Package).

"Ezmapdemo" does not have a "point-and-click" interactive interface; instead, one types simple commands into a dialog window and observes the effects in a display window.

One is allowed to access any of 66 predefined example plots; the first 11 of these illustrate the map projections traditionally available from Ezmap, the next 33 illustrate new map projections available from the USGS package, and the remaining 22 show all of the State Plane zones that are defined by the USGS package as part of the State Plane coordinate system.

One easy way to use the demo is to call up a particular example and then modify it in various ways (as, for example, to make it use a different outline dataset). See the Ezmap programmer document for a number of plots that were produced in this way.

New application called "tdpackdemo"

The command "tdpackdemo" is an interactive program allowing one to investigate the capabilities of Tdpack. To run this demo, type:
This will create an X window containing an initial display of a simple surface. Commands may then be typed in the original window, directing the demo program to change the X-window display in various ways. A little experimentation should suffice to learn what is possible. A good place to start is with an "H" command, which will give you a list of all the possible commands.

New examples

Several new C and Fortran examples were added to show how to use the new Ngmath packages, how to access the new boundaries in Ezmap, and how to do more with the Tdpack utility. To generate these new examples, type:
ncargex -cssgrid -shgrid
ncargex mpex11
ncargex tdex04 tdex05 tdex06

New functionality in ncargex

You can now list and/or generate the examples associated with each Ngmath package (Natgrid, Dsgrid, Fitgrid, Cssgrid, Csagrid, and Shgrid) using ncargex. To list them, use the "-list" option:
ncargex -natgrid -list
ncargex -dsgrid -list
ncargex -fitgrid -list
ncargex -cssgrid -list
ncargex -csagrid -list
ncargex -shgrid -list

New documentation

A programmer document for the SPPS utility was added.

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