NASA Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) recipient



view_hdf: A Visualization and Analysis Tool for HDF Files

view_hdf is a visualization and analysis tool for accessing data stored in Hierarchical Data Format (HDF) and HDF-EOS files. It is being developed by the CERES Data Management Team at NASA Langley Research Center and is distributed by the NASA Langley Atmospheric Sciences Data Center (

The view_hdf tool can select and subset variables from either Science Data Set (SDS) or vdata structures in an HDF file, render both two- and three-dimensional graphics, and plot geolocated data onto various world map projections. Other features include multiple variable plots, difference plots, and simplie statistics. Plots can be saved in PostScipt, encapsulated PostScript and GIF or sent difrectly to a printer. Filtered subsets and statistical results can be written to a file in ASCII format for use in other analysis programs.

This tool was developed primarily for the CERES project but is of more general use with many other HDF files, although it does not have the ability to read all HDf or HDF-EOS structures.

The view_hdf tool is written in Interactive Data Language (IDL) and uses a graphical user interface to manipulate the data. It also makes use of a shared library wriiten in C which is accessed from the IDL program. The tool was developed on a UNIX platform and has been transported to SGI, Sun Solaris, HP and DEC Alpha (running Digital Unix) workstations. It also has been ported to Windows NT 4.0. It should be portable to most platforms which support IDL, the HDF libraries, and a C compiler.

Service Provider

Service Organization: ASDC > Atmospheric Sciences Data Center, NASA Langley
Service Organization URL:
Phone: 757-864-8656
Fax: 757-864-8807

NASA Langley Atmospheric Sciences Data Center
Science, Users, and Data Services
NASA Langley Research Center
2 South Wright Street
Mail Stop 157D
Building 1268C
Hampton, VA 23681-2199

For additional information, send e-mail to or call +1-256-824-6868.


For additional information, e-mail or call +1-256-824-6868.
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