Frequently Asked Questions

What is included as part of MAPNet facilities?

  • SWIRLL and ARMOR for research at UAH
  • MIPS
  • RaDAPS
  • MAX
  • MoDLS

How do I start a MAPNet request?

The MAPNet facilities request can be intiated by completing a request form (which can be downloaded by clicking here) and emailing it to This information will be useful to determine if the MAPNet measurements capabilities are adequate to address the general scientific goals. Refer to the following NSF web site, which provides guidelines for requesting facilities: The types of requests include:

  • Track 1 – Education and Outreach
  • Track 2 – Single Facility Request
  • Track 3 – Field Campaigns

Each track has different requirements that are specified at the NSF web site.

What is the requesting process?

In general, the requesting process for the MAPNet facility will first be initiated by submitting the request form in the question above. After the form is received, reviewed, and a determination that the MAPNet facilities will be available for the selected dates, in person or virtual meetings will be scheduled. These meetings will be designed to introduce the PIs and gain an understanding of the project science goals and initial thoughts on experimental design, and to answer any preliminary questions.

After funding is granted for the desired project, UAH personnel will need to travel to the proposed experimental domain for site surveys and finalize instrument locations.

Can I request a subset of the MAPNet facilities?

Yes. Each platform can be requested individually (Track 1 or Track 2), or all four can be requested (Track 3) depending on the project needs.

How long can the MAPNet platforms operate?

Each platform uses a diesel generator to power the equipment and is refueled either directly from the truck fuel tanks or from an externally mounted fuel tank (as is the case for MIPS). If starting with a full tank, each platform can safely operate for up to 24 hours without needing to be refueled. If long term, stationary operations are needed, semi-permanent power from the nearest power pole will need to be installed.

Are radiosonde soundings included with MAPNet?

We have 6 sounding systems that can be requested (3 IMet systems and 3 Windsond systems). Soundings can be added to the budget if requested. We typically operate a sounding system with each platform.

Do I need to provide personnel, or will personnel be provided?

If fixed sites are used for your project, you will need to provide up to three personnel (students, faculty/staff, researchers) per platform to operate the instrumentation. We will provide a field manager who will train personnel and be available for technical support.

If mobile operations where deployment locations will change from IOP to IOP, personnel will be provided. Because UAH is self-insured, only UAH personnel greater than 21 years of age are authorized to drive UAH vehicles.

What makes a good mobile radar site?

“Good” radar sites will generally have little to no blockage at all 360 deg azimuths, especially for lower elevations (1 degree or less). To make this possible, sites should not have blocking terrain, trees, or structures. An ideal location will be a type of open plateau or field with little to no tree coverage.

What makes a good 915 MHz radar wind profiler site?

The MAPNet 915 RWP will need an area where is are limited ground clutter (sporadic trees, posts, built structures) or somewhere sheltered by trees or dirt (berm). Clutter panels can be added to the 915 MHz profilers to mitigate ground clutter which reduce the deployment limitations.

What all can I do with the Doppler Wind Lidar?

By default, the lidar performs “stares” where the scanner is pointing vertically at 90 degrees in elevation. Procedures can be added into the scan sequence which can include RHIs and PPIs, as well as 6 or 8 beam VADs.

I want to use the Doppler Wind Lidar to scan at different elevations, what makes a good lidar site?

Because the lidar beam width is much narrower than other radars, the lidar is not as sensitive to ground clutter. Therefore, the lidar can be placed in higher cluttered environments compared to other instruments. Blocking from nearby targets will be the primary concern.

What format will the data be provided in?

Many of the instruments provide data in an ASCII format. The raw ASCII format will be provided in addition to a netCDF version of the files. The netCDF version is still considered raw data, but is converted to an easy-to-use, universal format. MAX data will be provided in both Sigmat raw format and CFRadial format. It is worth noting that the Sigmet format can be easily converted using the RadX software.

How can I access data?

During and after IOPS, data will be archived on UAH computers. For NSF funded field campaigns that include UCAR data management (, processed/converted data will be uploaded to the UCAR web site. If EOL does not act as the primary archive location, UAH will adopt a structure to mimic the UCAR procedures as closely as possible. Data access will initially be “by request” from the User PI, and then made generally available via a web site (the UCAR site) after one year (or another time of mutual agreement) after project completion.

Upon approval from the PI, data access from UAH storage devices will be publicly available via download from the UAH web site if EOL is not the curator. Data formats for each data source will also be included as readme files for each instrument at this web site. Data sets archived on UAH computers or storage systems will remain archived for a minimum period of 15 years, or greater if requested. Close coordination with the User PI will establish guidelines on release/distribution of the data and timing on uploading to a public website.

Are there tools to use MAPNet data?

Yes. A python module can be installed to do this. Over the years, a shared repository of scripts has been circulated through the research group. These scripts were finally compiled into a module and added to a GitLab repository. The repository, known as swirllTools, can be accessed here. The development of this module is still ongoing, so bugs may occur when using.