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You are here: NODC > Ocean Climate Laboratory > OCL Products > WODselect > Reading and downloading data

Downloading, decompressing, and reading WODselect data

For technical help or to report problems, please e-mail

The WODselect interface allows a user to search World Ocean Database 2013 (WOD13) using a variety of user-specified search criteria. The search criteria will yield a geographic distribution map and cast count and the option to have the data extracted and placed on the NODC FTP site either in the WOD13 native ASCII or comma separated value (".csv") data format. The WOD13 data format description can be found in detail in the WOD13 documentation. After the data have been selected and extracted to the NODC FTP site, the user will receive e-mail notification that their data are ready and a link to retrieve the data selected. The user should be aware that WOD data also are available presorted by 10 o geographic squares and by year.

Downloading individual data files:
All the WODselect ASCII output files are in GZIP* compressed format. However, the user should be aware that different web browsers handle GZIP compressed files differently.

MOZILLA USERS: Can download the data file in two ways: (1) hold the "shift" key and click on the link to the data file or (2) right-mouse click on the link and select the "Save Link Target As ..." option.

INTERNET EXPLORER USERS: Can download the data file by copying the link location to your browser and then saving the file in your local working directory.

FAST TRANSFER PROTOCOL (FTP) USERS: Can download data directly via ftp.

login: anonymous
Password: your complete e-mail address
bin (to set binary transfer type)
get filename.gz (where filename is the name of your data file as decribed in the e-mail)
bye (to exit the ftp access)

Decompressing data:
After downloading the data file, to uncompress the file the user can use any software which can handle zip-archives, such as WinZip, WinRAR, StuffIt, MacZip, UnZip, etc. The WOD13 utilities documentation describe the use of GZIP* tools to uncompress "gz" compressed format for DOS and UNIX users. After downloading and uncompressing the file, you can view the data using any ASCII text editor.

Reading WOD native data format:
The WOD13 data format description can be found in the WOD13 documentation. The data format is comprised of several sections including primary, secondary, variable-specific second headers, character data, taxa-specific and biomass data, and measured variables.
NOTE: WOD native ASCII format has been altered slightly to accomodate the changes to the standard depths for WOD13. There is a 'C' in the first byte of each cast instead of a 'B' as for World Ocean Database 2009. Provided example programs have been updated to reflect this change.

The WOD13 native data format can be read in a number of ways:

(1) The user can use any of a number of sample programs in FORTRAN and C to read the WOD13 native data format or the user can write his/her own code. The programs provided are designed as examples on how to read the WOD13 data for all types of datasets and convert data into a form useable in Matlab and ArcGIS. The sample programs prompt the user to input a data file to read casts and variables included in these casts to the screen. Note that the user needs to modify the programs to incorporate user specific needs such as single or multiple input data files, output file(s), number of cast, data output format and number of variables. The metadata codes listed within each cast are described in the code tables.

(2) The user can also use the Ocean Data View* (ODV) software package to read the WOD native format and display the data.
NOTE: No prior version will read WOD13. Ocean Data View 4.5.7 has been updated to read the amended format. The latest version is available from ODV website*. The user will need to open a new ODV collection (or add to an existing ODV collection) and specify "World Ocean Database Variables" in the "Definition of Collection Variables" menu. The detailed instructions are available from WOD tutorial (pdf, 0.1 MB). Note that ODV will not be able to read surface only data; originator's quality flags; or plankton biomass and taxonomic data in the OSD file.

Reading WOD comma separated value (".csv") format:
The WOD ".csv" output files are space and comma-separated ASCII values. The ".csv" files can be imported into any software that allows to read "csv" data format such as Microsoft Excel. Please see the WOD "csv" data format description.

For technical help or to report problems, please e-mail