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Data Rescue

Principal Investigator:


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 degredation.

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 information easier.

  • FY04 Achievements


    • Data archive is inventoried.
    • Samples of various media are sent to Information Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) to determine best methods of digitizing.


    FY05 Achievements


    • Six boxes of microfilm were sent to IMC. The administrative records and flight data contained were transfered to DVDs.
    • 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.


    FY06 Achievements


    • Formats for various printouts are identified, and keying of data from microfilmed printouts is begun. First DVDs of flight data arrive.
    • 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 Achievements


    • FY07 proposal accepted. Funding is much less than in previous years so the progress of digitizing records will be much slower.


    FY08 Achievements


    • 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 keyed in.


    FY09 Achievements


    • Keying in of printouts continues. Several flights from the early 1960s are completed and made available on HRD website.


    FY2010 Achievements


    • 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.

Future Goals:

  A pre-poposal has been made to NOAA's Preserve America Initiative for funds to convert the DC-6 era 7-track tapes into digital files.

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