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Pointers to GRIB viewers to help you shoose. However, it is largely a matter of personal likes and dislikes.

Viewers for GRIB files

Much of the gain in transmission speed of GRIB files is because only the meteorological data are transmitted. Software is required to convert the information into a conventional chart format with coastlines and latitude/longitude grids. The isobars also have to be constructed.

GRIB files usually have the extension .grb, Some are compressed further and have extensions .grb.bz2.

Viewers that I have used are

Saildocs Viewfax

  Viewfax

If you do not mind the very crude topography, I find this the easiest and clearest of all viewers. Information is available from the "gribnews" document. Send a blank email to info@saildocs.com.

If you are not a SailMail or a Winlink radio operator, then download and run a version of a program called "getfax". This is to create a folder called Airmail. Then download the Viewfax viewer by going to the Airmail's Weather Fax Companion and looking for "Viewfax" Grib/Fax Viewer. There will be the latest version and a beta version.

Although the display is "static" a movie can be simulated by holding or tapping the down arrow key. Does not handle .bz2.

ExpeditionLT

  ExpeditionLT

To get ExpeditionLT go to http://www.tasmanbaynav.co.nz/download.htm. It is more sophisticated than Viewfax and offers more display options. It is less intuitive to use and I find it less clear. Dark shading can make it difficult to see wind arrows although I find it better to use View the @Simple map Display'''. There is a movie facility. Does not handle .bz2.

GRIBview

  ExpeditionLT

An easy to use viewer from Theyr.com for PCand for Mac users Does not handle .bz2.

UGrib

  UGrib

The UGrib viewer will work with some other GRIB files. Go to the UGrib site. The projection is slightly odd and there are no latitude/longitude lines. I find it not so easy to step on manually. There is a movie facility. Does not handle .bz2.

ZyGrib

  

The ZyGrib viewer will work with some other GRIB files. Download from the Dutch Zilt on-line magazine site. The projection is good and the presentation clear. There is shading for wind speeds and the arrows have pointers to eliminate any confusion in wind directions. Handles .grb and .grb.bz2.

MaxSea

  UGrib

The MaxSea - http://comen.maxsea.fr/MaxSea/default.aspx viewer is another simple viewer with few frills. There are problems in getting a key. Start from Zilt, the Dutch Online Magazine Site and be careful to follow the instructions in their guide.

OCENS GRIB Explorer

  OCENS GRIB Explorer

Easy to use Viewer available from GlobalMarineNet.

Xaxero Windplot

  Xavero Windplot

Some users like this viewer although I never found it easy to use. It is a part a commercial product although you may be able to use itif you do not mind reminders asking you to purchase.


GRIB files can also be viewed with MaxSea and other charting programs. A MaxSea viewer can be obtained at no charge from the GMN site or the MaxSea site.. are other programs which have been reported to work well. Two other free viewers are and the viewer.

Most viewers have the facility to let you read the actual forecast speed. That helps distinguish between a 15 knot wind vector which could be anything between 12.5 and 17.5 knots. A good viewer will let you step on one chart at a time and read the wind speed at one location. Examples are Viewfax and ExpeditionLT. Others, eg UGrib can show the wind speed but you cannot step on and see the value instantaneously.

Other viewers, mostly on repayment or as add-ons to navigation softwar, are available from

B&G Deckman

Download and install the demo (40MB) from: http://www.bandg.com/en/Products/Deckman-Tactical-Software/. This is a commercial application - the demo allows you to view weather grib files extremely easily

JVcomm32

I have had JVComm32 recommended by some. It is a package that decodes HF RTTY and Radiofax signals as well. Download frpm - http://www.jvcomm.de

Mscan Météo

Mscan is a similar piece of software that slao comes recommended by users. Download from http://www.mscan.com/

Ballgate Systems

This is more a system than a viewer. Download a trial from http://www.ballgate.com/gribviewer/trialcopy.shtml. It is an automated GRIB request software to select GRIB products from a menu. You pay for the software, the data are free. There is a choice of data suppliers and routes eg GlobalMarineNet, the Canadian Met service. The viewer can be usd with GRIB files that you have received from most sources.


There are many more and each will appeal to different tastes; some are specific to a particular services eg http://www.movingweather.com.


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