SCD delegates to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference enjoyed the desert ambience from 11-16 January 1998, where they represented NCAR at the society's 78th annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
"It looked like a movie set in Egypt," said Greg McArthur, head of SCD's Digital Information Group. "All those exotic palm trees lined up along the streets."
The air was dry and warm -- a big change from Colorado, where the poor nanooks at NCAR were shivering in a foot of snow.
But AMS was a good venue for NCAR to share its scientific research, said Tim Scheitlin, a software engineer in SCD's Visualization Group.
"When you go to a conference like supercomputing, the huge computer corporations show up with all their gadgets, and NCAR is a small fish in a big pond," said Scheitlin.
"At a conference like AMS, there aren't as many computer companies. Few organizations, if any, are using the kind of technology and equipment we're using, so we're a novelty and a unique presence in that respect.
"We show 3D visualizations on a large-screen projection system, cycling through a lot of different NCAR-related projects. People stand there watching and they ask questions. Special stereo glasses let them see the animations in 3D, not in monoscopic view like on a TV or a computer screen, so the images seem to jump out at them in three dimensions.
"AMS is also a chance for us to establish contacts with other groups interested in the type of scientific visualization we're doing," said Scheitlin. "It's a good opportunity for collaboration and sharing of information."