Friday, 20 September 2013

FOSS4G SciTools Outing

The SciTools gang are in Nottingham for and having lots of fun.  I have found the conference really interesting so far.  Well done to the Met Office for sponsoring the conference and being so supportive of the event.

Ed presented Iris and Cartopy this morning which was very well received.

We ran a workshop on using SciTools with the OSGeo tools on Tuesday, the material is available on  I thought this went really well.

Ian deserves a special mention for all his hard work on the conference organising committee: they have all done such a good job to put on an excellent conference for us.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


We have finally published a roadmap to set out the work we are going to focus on in the next six months. You can find the list of themes on our website.

We are currently working on the Interpolation and Regridding theme after asking our community what they needed.

If you want to catch-up or add to the topic then surf over to the discussion in our Google groups.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Cartopy gains a gallery

You may have noticed that the latest cartopy documentation now includes a gallery with some (currently limited) code examples.  Over the next few releases we intend to extend the number and breadth of these examples, and are considering adding tutorials in the form of iPython notebooks (similar to those found over at

The latest example we've added is a toy demonstration of using the power of Shapely from within cartopy to produce the following plot:

You can find the full gallery over at

If you've produced a self contained plot, or even a whole tutorial, which you think would go well in the cartopy gallery, we'd love to hear from you.  Just submit a pull request (or even a plain old issue) over at the cartopy github repository.

Friday, 25 January 2013

AMS 2013

As mentioned by Andrew, I spent a few days in early January in Texas for the 93rd American Meteorological Society annual meeting, with the majority of my time spent in the Python symposium. Interestingly, out of the nearly forty symposia/conferences taking place, this was the only one which was focussed on a single core technology. I'm not sure if that says more about the evangelical nature of the Python community, or the genuine benefits brought by Python adoption ... perhaps we're just lucky to have someone like Johnny Wei-Bing Lin putting in the hard work to get it organised. Thanks Johnny!

As you'd expect, there were plenty of interesting talks on a wide range of subjects, but a couple of themes stood out for me.

Firstly, with Iris we are trying to free scientists in the AOS (Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) from low-level issues (such as dealing with the intricacies of file formats), and let them work at a higher logical level. And it was good to see that same desire reflected in topics ranging from representing radar data to standardised calculations for potential temperature, etc. Not only is there an appetite for such things, there are other people who are trying to achieve the same goals, and it was great to be able to meet them.

Secondly, there there are plenty of up-and-coming technologies for improving Python's performance, whether that be handling large datasets, speeding up numeric computation, or wrestling with parallelism. Some projects have been around for a while (e.g. numexpr), others have a "Work in progress" sign on the door (e.g. numba), and still others have "Coming soon" (e.g. ODIN). But it's clear from the competition and flux that the domain as a whole is still in its early days. Perhaps the key pieces of the next generation/level of high-performance tools already exist but have yet to establish dominance, or maybe they've yet to be created. Either way, it's an exciting time to be involved.

And speaking of involvement, scalable performance is obviously not a need that's specific to AOS, so it's especially important to reach out to the broader scientific Python community. I'd like to echo a sentiment expressed in the symposium that we should be encouraging AOS attendance at the various SciPy events. Having been to EuroSciPy 2012, I can attest for the rich seam of technology, ideas, and inspiration that is out there just waiting to be mined.

If you weren't able to attend AMS2013 then keep an eye out for the recorded presentations. The AMS2013 website currently has them slated for release by "late February".

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Richard Hattersley will be giving a presentation on Iris at the Third Symposium on Advances in Modeling and Analysis Using Python on the Tuesday 8th Jan in Room 12B Austin Convention Center.

We hope that the symposium is successful for everyone. We are looking forward to being there, making a contribution to the preceedings and learning from other attendees.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Contributor Licence Agreement now available

The project now has a Contributor License Agreement (CLA). This has been posted on our Scitools website off the Governance page. We have also written a Privacy Policy to let you know how we will store, process and protect your data.

If you are not sure what a CLA is then browse to an excellent briefing note by Ross Gardler and Rowan Wilson at OSS Watch.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Welcome to

Welcome to the Scitools blog. Currently, we are a team of developers resident in the Met Office who have been working with our Science colleagues to develop new libraries written in Python. We have written two main modules, Iris and Cartopy. Iris is a library that can be used  to read, write, analyse and visualise climate and weather data. Below demonstrates the use of Iris and Cartopy to plot global air temperature:

An interesting example using Iris to show contour plots of a cross-sectioned multi-dimensional cube which features a hybrid height vertical coordinate system is below:

The purpose of this blog is for us to let you know what we are doing, conferences we will be attending and to pass on information about the libraries we are building under the Scitools GitHub organisation.  We hope that as we go forward we will be able to have guest blog entries from users and interested parties about the work we are doing and their use of the libraries.

Links for you to follow to find out more are below:

Source code:
Scitools website:

Scitools Development Team.