Drift Explorer 1.2.4

Digisonde Drift Data Visualization Engine


U MASS Lowell
Center for Atmospheric Research
Last changed: March 15, 2006

Please e-mail suggestions and corrections to Ivan_Galkin@uml.edu

Configuring "read-only" connection to Lowell Drift Database 


Apply for the Lowell Drift Database account to Prof. Bodo Reinisch, Bodo_Reinisch@uml.edu. A username and password will be issued for DriftExplorer connection to Lowell.


Make sure you have Drift Explorer version 1.2.4 or better. The Drift-X installation page with instructions can be found here.


Configure Drift Database connection. This operation is done once.

  • Open Drift-X and select "Database connection" from the File menu. That brings up "Connecting to DFDB" window, with a list of available databases in the lower panel and address editor in the upper panel. The database list should be empty in your case, all lines should say NONE ().
  • Select one of the available lines in the list and click Edit button to specify our server. 
  • Enter the alias. "Lowell DriftDB" or "UMLCAR DriftDB" seems like a good suggestion for the alias.
  • Enter Database URL jdbc:firebirdsql://
  • Provide the DriftDB username and password.
  • Click on "Save in the list" button.
  • Then click the Connect button below.
  • The window will close and Drift-X will attempt to connect.

If the connection is successful, the title bar of the Drift-X will have "(<database alias> is online)" added after its version number. This connection needs to be configured only once. Next time you start Drift-X, it will connect to the DriftDB automatically.


Catalogs and queries

  • When you see "DriftDB is online" in the title bar, you can click on the "New Query" tool-button with the symbol of lightning (or "New Query" from the File menu). The Drift-X will request the list of available Digisonde stations from DriftDB. It may take some time, depending on your location and DriftDB activity.
  • The first thing to try is perhaps the Station Tree, where we have the list of Digisonde stations and start and end times of stored data. As you open the tree branches, watch for the mouse pointer that turns to the sand-clock when there is an ongoing operation. When you follow down the tree to a particular day, you can click on the Set button to select the data for query.
  • Then try Calendar Tree for the list of stations available for individual days. You can also select a particular station in the "Data Source" combo-box and try "Current Station" button for complete inventory of data for that station.
  • You can directly specify time interval and station in the query window. If you are not sure whether the data are available in DriftDB, look up the data in the catalog first (using station or calendar tree).


Read-only connection to DriftDB does not allow online submissions of calculated skymap and velocity data to DriftDB. Please apply for the Expert account to Prof. Bodo Reinisch, and further instructions will be e-mailed to you.