metaf2xml: help for the GUI demo

Overview

On top of the page are the controls to change the look and some of the functionality of the page. Some controls may or may not be available, depending on whether a database is used as data source or not (when the page loads, all are visible until the stations have been loaded). The demo running on SourceForge.net uses a database, so here are described only the controls which are available with a database.

Below the controls there's a map of the world (or a part of it) with clickable dots and squares. Next to the map is a list of additional stations; they cannot be displayed on the map because their coordinates are not in the database.

Below that are shown the translated weather messages of the stations, if any have been fetched.

The Controls

language:
Sets the language for the labels of the control elements, the translation of weather messages from now on, and other elements on the page, e.g. the country of a station in the information shown below the map.
enlarge map by:
Sets the enlargement of the map (2 to 36 times) relative to the smallest available enlargement. Changing the enlargement with this control will try to keep the center of the map unchanged.
hour of SYNOP message:
Determines which SYNOP messages are fetched and translated within the defined time period.
any
all messages
intermediate
messages from 03:00, 09:00, 15:00 and 21:00 UTC (time from the message header)
main
messages from 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00 UTC (time from the message header).
Note that which stations are shown on the map and in the list of additional stations is not influenced by this control.
time period: hour(s) before:
These 2 fields determine the time period for which: The first field determines the period length, the second one determines the period end. The period end can be set simply by entering the date and time (UTC) in the input field in the format YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm. Alternatively, the controls to the right of the field can be used to decrement (with -) or increment (with +) its value by the amount selected in the drop down list.
After (re-)loading the page, or if the field for the period end is invalid or empty and the stations were updated, the period end is set from the time of the latest weather message in the database.
For TAF messages, it is the issue time which must be within the time period, for all other message types it is the observation time.
When pressing this button, the list of stations which have messages for the currently set time period is fetched from the database, and the stations are shown on the map or in the list of additional stations. The button text will change to bold font whenever the end or length of the time period was changed. During the update, the button is disabled. When the update is complete, the font will change back to normal.

The Map

The map shows an equirectangular projection of the world, or a section of it (image source: DEMIS Mapserver). The enlargement can be set by the enlargement control. If an enlargement bigger than 1 is selected, the map can be moved with click & drag or by clicking on the 4 controls with arrows surrounding the map.

On the map, there are dots of various colors and squares. They represent one or more stations with messages and are placed, and the list of additional station is filled, when the page is (re-)loaded or update stations is pressed.

The dots and squares have the following meaning:

When the mouse pointer is over a dot, the information for the station(s) is displayed just below the map. This includes the identification of the station, its name or description (if known), the coordinates and elevation (if known) and the type(s) and time(s) of the latest message(s) within the time period for which the station list was last updated.

If a dot is clicked on, the messages within the currently defined time period are fetched from the database, translated using the currently selected language and displayed below the map, above previously fetched messages. For SYNOP, only the type of messages chosen via the presetting are displayed.

If a square is clicked on, the enlargement is increased by 3 steps (or less, up to the highest enlargement) and the map is centered at the center of the square.

To save resources, the map is divided into tiles. Only those tiles which are currently visible have their image for the world map and have dots for stations. For the same reason, in the 3 lower enlargements only dots for multiple stations and dots for stations having an identification for both METAR/TAF and SYNOP are shown.

Translated Messages

Translated messages for a station can be hidden with and shown again with . They can be removed with . If the coordinates of the station are known and the station information is clicked on, the map enlargement is set to maximum and centered to the station.

Initially, the messages are shown as overview. The detailed view for a message can be shown and hidden again using the button to the left of the message.

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