Talk MapGenerator: a toolbox to process and visualize air quality datasets.


MapGenerator: a toolbox to process and visualize air quality datasets.

Handling air quality data with tons of scripts can be very frustrating, because of the difficulty to debug, to maintain and to modify all of them. Moreover, despite the great effort, resulting graphical products may not be of the highest quality. To avoid this, we developed an easy-to-use general-purpose software system to generate maps, plots and graphics. Thus, it is only necessary to change the settings defined in a configuration file to generate high quality products. We used the python language and, in particular, the following libraries/softwares:

Main features

  • Options: Everything is configurable, (almost) nothing hardcoded. All options can be added and/or modified either by editing a configuration file or through command line
  • Draw maps: Reads air quality datasets (which must follow GrADS specifications) and draws the data in map form.
  • Multimodel product: Processes datasets from numerical prediction models combining them by different algorithms and generating new datasets
  • Maps comparison: Displays maps drawn together from different datasets for a visual comparison
  • Evaluation plots: Reads gridded air quality datasets from different numerical prediction models, interpolates data to a common grid mesh and displays them together with observational data.
  • Observation plots: Reads input files containing observational data in txt, csv or xml formats and draws plots to show the time evolution of air quality values.
  • Web integration: a Plone product for the integration with the Plone Content Management System


  • GUI: Graphical User Interface to make the software easier to use by eliminating the need to directly write or read the configuration(s) file(s)
  • Extensibility: To provide other users/developers with an API to add features
  • On-demand: Real-time image generation, very useful to save storage space

Use Cases

WMO SDS-WAS ( The Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS) is a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) initiative with the mission to enhance the ability of countries to deliver timely and quality sand and dust storm forecasts, observations, information and knowledge to users through an international partnership of research and operational communities.

CALIOPE ( Air quality forecasting system for the Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Islands and Canary Islands with very high resolution nesting over urban areas.