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OPeNDAP usage in Ferret

by admin last modified 2016-06-29 11:01

Note that starting with V6.6 of Ferret, Ferret is linked with  NetCDF-4 libraries (from instead of OPeNDAP libraries (from, and V6.6 has new qualifiers on commands to allow handling NetCDF-4 files.  Future releases of Ferret will all be linked with NetCDF libraries. NetCDF-4.1 and higher includes classic NetCDF dataset access and also netcdf 4 files with HDF5 capabilities for compression and chunking. It also includes remote data access with build-in OPeNDAP client.  The Ferret manual, Chapter 2, has more details particular to Netcdf-4. To see which netCDF version the Ferret executable is linked with, the command

yes? show symbol netcdf_version

will query the netCDF library and return the version number.

OPeNDAP is protocol formerly known as DODS, the Distributed Oceanographic Data System. It allows users to access data anywhere from the internet using a variety of client/server methods, including Ferret. Employing technology similar to that used by the World Wide Web, OPeNDAP and Ferret create a powerful tool for the retrieval, sampling, analyzing and displaying of datasets; regardless of size or data format (though there are data format limitations).

Using OPeNDAP datasets in Ferret is just like using any other data set.

Prior to Ferret v7, url must be enclosed in quotation marks. This requirement is lifted in Ferret v7 and higher; quotes are optional.

For example:

yes? SET DATA ""
yes? SHADE temp[z=0]

! Ferret v7 and higher
yes? SHADE temp[z=0]

Documentation on use of OPeNDAP data sets in Ferret is in the Ferret User's Guide Ch2 Sec7: Access to remote data sets with OPeNDAP

Ferret and OPeNDAP demonstrations

dods_demo - html version
dods_winds_demo - html version
dods_demo.jnl - script file

Full OPeNDAP documentation can be found at

The features of OPeNDAP 3.2 include:

A client-side startup file (.dodsrc)

Client-side caching to store data you have requested on your local computer. The size and location of the cache, and expiration dates can be set using the initialization file .dodsrc

Proxy server support, configured in the .dodsrc file

Availability of a OPeNDAP master data set list

Finding OPeNDAP datasets

Search the OPeNDAP data set list

Search the Global Change Master Directory

Browse OPeNDAP datasets through LAS

PMEL, ESRL, and FSU are sample OPeNDAP servers.

For example:

yes? SET DATA ""

See also the NVODS homepage, the National Virtual Ocean Data System.

For assistance in setting up an OPeNDAP server at your site, please see the OPeNDAP webpage.

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