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libmdsp-dev - METAR Decoder Software Package Library development files…  more info»



Update History:     


29 June 1998    (Posting of METAR Decoder,
                                      Upgrade,Version 1.8)

15 July 1996      (Posting of METAR Decoder,
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.7)

                         1)   METAR date/time groups that are not
                              postfixed with 'Z' will be
                              recognized and decoded along with 
                              date/time groups that are correctly
                         2)   Station identifiers that include a
                              mix of alphanumeric characters
                              following the first alpha character
                              will be accepted as a valid station
                         3)   Incorrectly coded prevailing
                              visibility groups (e.g. 1/SM) will
                              be ignored as spurious or
                              extraneous groups.
                         4)   Indeterminant 3/6-HR precipitation 
                              groups (i.e. 6////) are flagged
                              using a boolean variable.  The
                              boolean variable is TRUE, if 6////
                              appears in the observation
                              or FALSE, if 6//// does not appear
                              in the observation.
                         5)   The keyword 'COR', a positionally
                              dependent METAR group, will be
                              recognized and decoded whether it
                              appears before or after the
                              date/time group.
                         6)   Spurious or extraneous groups that
                              occur within the body of a METAR
                              observation will be skipped without
                              compromising the positional
                              integrity of groups that may
                         7)   Code has been added to the
                              DCDMETAR.C and DCDMTRMK.C files
                              to protect against attempts at
                              using NULL pointers in string

                    26 June 1996      (Posting of METAR Decoder,
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.6)
                    21 May 1996       (Posting of METAR Decoder,
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.5)
                    15 May 1996       (Posting of METAR Decoder,
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.4)
                    07 May 1996       (Posting of METAR Decoder,
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.3)
                    26 February 1996  (Posting of METAR Decoder, 
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.2)
                    20 December 1995  (Posting of METAR Decoder, 
                                       Upgrade,Version 1.1)
                    11 June 1995      (Posting of METAR Decoder, 
                                       Version 1.0)

General Information:

     The Systems Operations Center (SOC) of the National Weather
Service (NWS) has developed a "C" language software package
to decode WMO FM 15-IX Ext. (METAR) and FM 16-IX Ext. (SPECI)
formatted reports.  The format specifications for these report
types are described in the Federal Meteorological Handbook Number
1 (FMH-1), Surface Weather Observations and Reports (December

     A METAR report may consist of two parts - 

     1)   the main body of the report consists of observational  
          data that meets aviation requirements (e.g. wind speed
          and direction, sky condition, temperature and dew
          point temperature, etc.)

     2)   the remarks section may consist of one or more sections
          (i.e. Automated and Manual, Plain Language (Manual     
          Only), and Additive Data and Automated Maintenance)    

     The MDSP is specifically designed to meet SOC operational 
requirements.  Nevertheless, it is a comprehensive decoder.  As a
result, SOC management decided to make the MDSP available to any
interested party via the Internet.  However, as the SOC makes this
software available, it neither implies or guarantees the accuracy
or dependability of the MDSP.

     The MDSP makes no attempt to decode any METAR/SPECI group
that does not conform to the METAR/SPECI format outlined in FMH-1

How Do You Use It?:

     The METAR Decoder (DCDMETAR) is a "C" language routine that
takes two arguments.  The 1st argument is a pointer to a METAR
report character string.  The 2nd argument is a pointer to a
Decoded_METAR data type (defined in METAR.H).  DCDMETAR returns
12, if it encounters an invalid station ID (i.e. a station that
does not contains 4 characters statino ID and/or whose first
character is not alpha).  Otherwise, it returns 0.  

     All decoded groups/elements are assigned to members of the
structure whose address is that of the 2nd input argument.  If
the decoder encounters a multiple instance of the same
group/element in the Remarks section of the Decoder, then that
group/element is not decoded.

     The input METAR report must be a character string that is
terminated by a sentinel (i.e. '\0').  The report string should
also be free of any communication transmission characters (e.g.
carriage returns, linefeeds, etc.).  Each group in the report
must be separated by at least one blank character.

     The decoded groups/elements of the METAR report are
evaluated as one of 4 basic data types - int, bool, char, or
float.  All decoded METAR structure members are initialized prior
to decoding each input METAR report.  All int variables are set
to MAXINT ( defined in LOCAL.H).  All bool variables are set to
FALSE (i.e. 0).  All char and char strings are set to '\0'(s). 
All float variables are set to (float) MAXINT.

     METAR decoded structure members retain their initialization
values, if no groups/elements were decoded from the METAR report
and assigned to those members. 

     The METAR Decoder has the following function prototype:     

        int DcdMETAR( char *observation, Decoded_METAR *Mptr ),

     The following program segment illustrates how the DcdMETAR
function might be invoked:

     #include <metar h>
                /* DECLARE LOCAL VARIABLES */

                Decoded_METAR MetarStruct,
                              *Mptr = &MetarStruct;
                char *observation;
                if ( (observation = getMETAR( selectionParms ))  

                                 != NULL ) { 
                        if( DcdMETAR( observation, Mptr) != 0 )  

                              printf("Error Msg\m");             

                        else {                           
                                'Process decoded METAR           


     Within the routine that calls DcdMETAR, a variable must be
declared as a Decoded_METAR type.  The address of that
Decoded_METAR variable and a pointer to a METAR report string are
then passed to the DcdMETAR routine.  The function getMETAR is
for illustrative purposes only and simply represents a generic routine that the user must furnish in
order to supply  METAR reports to the DcdMETAR routine.

     All of the files listed below have been packaged as a single
self-extracting file called DCDMETAR.EXE.  An ASCII version of
these files is also available in the file DCDMETAR.SRC.  Each of
the header files and functions in DCDMETAR.SRC are separated by
the delimiter @@ and the name of the file (e.g. @@DRVMETAR.C
would be followed by the DRVMETAR.C source code.

     1)   DRVMETAR.C          6)   STSPACK2.C     11)  LOCAL.H
     2)   DCDMETAR.C          7)   STSPACK3.C
     3)   DCDMTRMK.C         8)   ANTOI.C    
     4)   PRTDMETR.C           9)   CHARCMP.C
     5)   FRACPART.C          10)   METAR.H   

What's Included?:

     The files that make up the MDSP are described below.  These
files have been packaged as a single self-extracting file called
DCDMETAR.EXE. If your system can not expand this file, then
you will have to manually extract the individual source and
header files from  the file called DCDMETAR.SRC.  Each source or
header file within  DCDMETAR.SRC is delimited by the 2 characters
"@@" followed by the name of the file (e.g. @@DRVMETAR.C or

     1)  DRVMETAR.C - A main program that acts as a driver for   
         the MDSP. In its current configuration, DRVMETAR
         uses an array of pointers to METAR report character     
         strings for input to the METAR Decoder.  The user may   
         elect to continue with this configuration and provide   
         his or her own METAR reports for testing or instead read
         individual METAR reports in from a file or some other   
         database.  The METAR report strings that are in DRVMETAR
         are not meant to be reports that reflect physical       
         reality, but rather reports that were designed to       
         exercise various parts of the MDSP.

     2)  DCDMETAR.C - A function that decodes the main body of   
         the METAR report. The decoded groups/elements of the    
         METAR report are stored in a structure of the type      

     3)  DCDMTRMK.C - A function that decodes the remarks section
         of the METAR report.  The decoded groups/elements of the
         METAR report are also stored in a struture of the type  

     4)  PRTDMETR.C - A function that prints the decoded METAR   
         report groups/elements.

     5)  FRACPART.C - A function that converts a character string
         fraction (e.g. "1/4", "1/8", etc.) into a floating point

     6)  STSPACK2.C - A collection of routines written at the    
         SOC to perform string evaluations that expand upon the  
         standard C string functions.

     6)  STSPACK3.C - A collection of routines written at the    
         SOC to perform string evaluations that expand upon the  
         standard C string functions.

     7)  ANTOI.C    - A routine developed at the SOC to convert 
         variable length numeric character strings into integers.

     8)  CHARCMP.C  - A routine developed at the SOC to recognize
         character patterns.  If a given string pattern is found
         in a given character string, CHARCMP returns TRUE.      

         Otherwise, it returns FALSE.    

     9)  METAR.H    - An MDSP header file.  This header file     
         contains the definition of the decoded METAR structure  
    10)  LOCAL.H    - A "general purpose" header file developed  
         at the SOC.  LOCAL.H is referenced in METAR.H.  LOCAL.H 
         includes a number of locally defined variables that are 
         used in the MDSP.

Printing The METAR Report and/or Decoded METAR Report:

        The routine PRTDMETR may be used to print the decoded
METAR report.  PRTDMETR prints the decoded groups/elements in the
order in which they would appear according to the format
described in FMH-1 (METAR).  The DRVMETAR module contains a print
statement to print the input METAR report and it also calls the
PRTDMETR routine that prints the decoded METAR data.

MDSP Updates:

     All updates to the MDSP are based upon:
          1)   meeting all METAR decoding specifications by July
               1, 1996

          2)   responding to decoding problems or errors 
               that have been demonstrated to exist in the

     Areas of on-going MDSP refinement and documentation:

          1)   internal/external documentation



        Questions, comments, or problems regarding the MDSP,
should be directed to Carl McCalla at -

     NOAA/National Weather Service
     1325 East-West Highway
     SSMC2, W/OSO242, Station 5114
     Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

     Work:                     (301) 713-0882, Ext 115

     FAX:                      (301) 608-0911 
     E-Mail Address: 
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