BUFR Viewer
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BUFR Viewer

The BUFR Viewer is a program which is still under development.  At the moment, it can read the scatterometer data from Metop-A and ERS2 satellites, the 100km and 25km QuikSat data, the SatWinds data from AQUA and TERRA, and the AMV (air-motion vector) data from EUMETSAT.  All this data is available over the EUMETCast dissemination system.  It can also read data from the EUMETSAT Archive facility (UMARF) which is available off-line, and includes Meteosat-2 and Meteosat-7 data.

If there is sufficient interest, the program may be developed to allow other data to be visualised.  Here is a sample of the ERS2 scatterometer product visualised by the BUFR Viewer, overlaid on a user-image background, and with country boundaries drawn in.  You can zoom in to clarify data in a particular region.

Zoomed in on hurricane Bertha, July 2008.  Bermuda is the tiny island in the north-west corner of the screenshot.

Data from Meteosat-9 showing winds over Europe.  Data copyright (c) EUMETSAT 2008.


Supported data

Here is information about some of the supported data types, and the TelliCast and MSG Data Manager settings required.  The disk locations are given relative to a standard MSG Data Manager installation, where the HRIT images are in \Images\HRIT\.  I've also added a note about whether you get this data automatically, or whether you need to request it explicitly from EUMETSAT.
Description Data
Data Channel
Need to
Disk location from 
MSG Data Manager
Control location in
MSG Data Manager
Metop-A/B AMV & ASCAT EUMETCast [SAF-Europe] ? \Images\SCAT\2008\06\13\ SAF tab, ASCAT
ERS-2 SCAT EUMETCast [EUMETSAT Data Channel 1] ? \Images\SCAT\2008\06\13\ SAF tab, ERS-SCAT
QuikSat 25 & 100km
EUMETCast [SAF Europe] ? \Images\SAF\2008\06\13\ SAF tab, Ocean & Sea Ice
from AQUA and TERRA
(north + south polar)
EUMETCast [EUMETSAT Data Channel 4] Yes \Images\WINDS\2008\06\13\ SAF tab, MODIS winds
Meteosat-9/10 AMV
Air Motion Vectors
EUMETCast [EUMETSAT Data Channel 3] ? \Images\MPEF\2008\06\13\ MPEF tab, AMV
Metoesat-2 & -6
UMARF data
Meteosat data requested from the EUMETSAT UMARF Data Centre facility.
25km QuikSat
UMARF data
QuikSat data requested from the EUMETSAT UMARF Data Centre facility.

Note that the AMV (air motion vector) data contains a lot of motion vectors, and therefore may take some tens of seconds to decode and display.

Data which is NOT currently supported:

Level-1 data, such as:


Note the "L1" in the file extension.

There are more comprehensive BUFRdisplay (graphical) and BUFRextract (command-line) programs from Francis Breame.


Example - overlaying Air Motion Vector data on a Water Vapour image

This is an example sent to me by Hamdan Alnaqbi.  He writes:

These are the steps to combine a latest Meteosat water vapour or infrared full disk image with AMV data:

Step 1: Run GeoSatSignal and open World View window.

Step 2: Select a water vapor or an infrared image directory, it would be either zero degree or an IODC image.

Step 3: use "4096 x 2048" image size for better image quality and select Merge map (zero) with none Background LUT as shown below.

Step 4: Refresh then Save the the image in "Bufr Viewer" software folder to replace it with "UserMap.jpg" as shown.

Step5: Run Bufr viewer software and open a latest AMV bufr file of the same satellite. For example, if you are using zero degree water vapor image then you should use a zero degree AMV bufr file.

The result is a combined AMV-satellite image chart.

My thanks to Handan for mentioning his idea and the write-up.  The original post is here on Groups.IO.


Getting the BUFR Viewer


V1.1.10 Update Bufr2Asc.exe for newer-format data, consistency check on restore, more diagnostics, correct table path error.
V1.1.12 Update for new "sounder" file names.
V1.1.14 Support AMVE files (temporary data from EUMETCast), environment variable BOUNDARY_COLOUR can define the boundary colour grey-shade.
V2.0.2 No function changes from V1.1.14.71.

No longer hardware locked to a single PC.  Note that a new licence key is required for this version.  If you don't already have a BUFR Viewer 2 key, existing users can upgrade here.  Please state BUFR Viewer in the "What product are you upgrading?" box.

You can register the BUFR Viewer here.  The program requires registration, and a 30-day trial period registration is built into the program.

Beta version: This program is under continual development - check here for the latest update.

Operating Notes

The program will try and decode the BUFR information in a file as wind vectors, in the first instance. The data will be saved as a text file named: _temp.txt in the program's directory. If you have problems with decoding data, please first check that the _temp.txt file appears to be correct. If it just contains a single header line, without any data, it's possible that the data you have chosen does not contain any wind information. For example, some of the scatterometer data is only available over the sea parts of the pass, not over land parts. The program will try and save the text file, in a slightly edited form, back in the data directory, so that running a data file:


would produce a new text file:


in the same directory. If the program cannot write to the data directory, the file will need to undergo the decoding process each time.  The text version of the data file will be displayed in the Properties tab.

Please note that due to limitations of the decoder software, this program will not work for some data types if it is installed in a directory which has spaces in the directory name.  Therefore please do not install it in the "C:\Program Files" directory tree.

EUMETCast updates

Some of this data is sent over the SAF-Europe data channel in EUMETCast, so to receive it you may need to add lines like:


to your recv-channels.ini file.  You should point the target_directory at the same directory which the MSG Data Manager uses (i.e. the common directory you use for EUMETCast data).  Add one line for each data channel you wish to receive.

Debugging notes

As this program is still in the early stages of developments, it is possible that you may need to debug the operation of the decoders which this program uses.  To do so, build up a command file named, for example, _test.cmd, with contents like the example below, but with the directories altered to suit your own system. 

CD "C:\Tools\David J Taylor\BUFRViewer\"
SET BUFR_TABLES=C:/Tools/David J Taylor/BUFRViewer/
Bufr2Asc.exe  "D:\MSG\Images\SCAT\2008\06\13\ascat_20080613_184801_metopa_08568_eps_o_250_ovw.l2_bufr"  _temp.txt

Note the need for file and directory names containing spaces to be enclosed in quotation marks (").   Please discuss the results on the SatSignal self-help group.

Copyright © David Taylor, Edinburgh   Last modified: 2021 Mar 26 at 17:30