VT SuperDARN Real-time data

Most SuperDARN radars provide a data stream in real time. Here we provide an interactive Java application that lets you view the real-time data of the 6 radars for which our group is responsible. A tip to the hat goes to Nigel Wade at the University at Leicester, UK, for providing the original Java software, and guidance on how to hack it to do what we wanted it to do.

Open the Real-time display

  • To open the Java application, click here.
You MUST HAVE Java 6 installed in order to run the application; if you have Java 7, the display may open, but show "Disconnected" for the Radar drop down menu. Check your Java version here(external link).


Using the Real-time display

  • Upon clicking on the link above, the browser will ask you whether to open or save a file called realTimeDisplay. Select Open With and click OK.
  • A dialog like the one shown above will open. This dialog allows you to select data from which radar to display.
  • Clicking on the button labeled "Plot all radars on one map" will, you might have guess it, plot data from all radars on one map.
  • Alternatively, you can display the data of individual radars as a scan plot over a geographic map or as a range-time plot for one particular beam. The coordinates for the scan plot will adjust automatically.
  • Once you selected in which way to display the data you can right click into the plot window. This will bring up a context menu with more options, like changing the viewpoint of the map and what data to display.


Sometimes there is no real-time data available from certain radars. This can be due to various reasons, including shaky internet connections or maintenance.

My Plotting Area Is All Grey

This seems to be an issue related to the fact that you are not using the Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE). On Ubuntu, for example, the default JRE is OpenJDK, a open-source derivation of the closed-source Sun JRE. When using OpenJDK, resizing the plotting area will eventually cause the plotting area to be displayed properly. To permanently fix this issue, uninstall OpenJDK and install the Sun JRE, as described here(external link)