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Hurricane Research Division data rescue project
Neal Dorst (HRD)
The National Hurricane Research Project (NHRP) began field programs
in 1956, and has continued doing so since that time under various other
organizational names. Much of the data collected prior to the acquisition
of the Orion P-3s in 1975 and 1976 was in analog format, such as film and
paper. This makes retrieval and copying of this information difficult.
In addition, the original material is very vulnerable to environmental
assault and normal degradation through time. Some of the data from this
era were stored on magnetic media, but have become unavailable due to
The National Center for Data and Climate (NCDC) has instituted the Climate
Database Modernization Program (CDMP) to help other NOAA offices digitize
such datasets. The Hurricane Research Division (HRD) of the Atlantic
Oceanographic and Meteorlogical Laboratory has been granted CDMP funds
for the last four fiscal years to help transfer its film records onto
digital media, which provides back-up to the original source material,
preserves the records from degradation, and makes using and sharing the
- Data archive is inventoried.
- Samples of various media are sent to Information Manufacturing Corporation
(IMC) to determine best methods of digitizing.
- Six boxes of microfilm were sent to IMC.
The administrative records and flight data contained were transfered
- Catalog of inventoried data begun.
- Seventeen boxes of Super VHS Flight videos from 1994 through 2005 sent to IMC.
DVDs of these videos returned and cataloged.
- Determination was made that flight data could be more easily
extracted from microfilms of printouts than from photo panel films.
- Formats for various printouts are identified, and keying of
data from microfilmed printouts is begun. First DVDs of flight
- Two boxes of 35 mm flight films sent to IMC. DVDs of these
films received and cataloged.
- Thirty-two boxes of 16 mm Flight films through 1979 sent to IMC.
DVDs of these films received and cataloged.
- FY07 proposal accepted. Funding is much less than in previous years
so the progress of digitizing records will be much slower.
- Emphasis is changed to keying in flight level data from flight printouts
over production of streaming videos of 16 mm films. Data formats for various
printouts is codified. Approximately 5% of microfilm rolls of printouts are
- Keying in of printouts continues. Several flights from the early 1960s are
completed and made available on HRD website.
- 35mm land-based radar films are shipped to data rescue partner to begin
creating streaming videos. Also several more boxes of 16mm flight films are
shipped to restart that project.
- FY2011 CDMP funding was not authorized. Data rescue project through
CDMP has been cancelled. All original materials have been returned. Any
further data rescue efforts will await alternate funding.
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Last modified: 4/24/2012