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ERDDAP > files > Documentation

ERDDAP's "files" system lets you browse a virtual file system and download source
data files. Hopefully, this is a familiar, easy system that you can use with your
favorite web browser or, if you prefer, from a command line program like curl.

ERDDAP was designed around the idea that most datasets are huge, so most users
just need or want a subset of the dataset that they are interested in (e.g., a smaller
geographic area, a smaller time range, or not all of the data variables). But we
understand that some users actually do want an entire dataset, or at least the subset
which is found in a subset of the source data files. If that's you, then the "files"
system may be for you. One advantage of the "files" system is that you can see each
file's Last Modified time (Zulu time zone), so it is easy to see if a file has been


To use the "files" system, just click. On any "files" web page, you can:

WARNING! Different Metadata and Variable Names

For datasets available via ERDDAP's tabledap or griddap, ERDDAP administrators
can set up ERDDAP to change a dataset's metadata and variable names on-the-fly
so that you, the user, see an improved version of the dataset's metadata. But in
"files", you will see the original metadata and variable names, so don't be surprised
if they are different! If you aren't comfortable dealing with the different metadata
and variable names, you might prefer using the dataset's Data Access Form instead.

Similarly, when you request a subset of data from one of ERDDAP's Data Access Forms,
you can specify the file type (e.g., .nc, .csv, .json, .mat) that you want to receive in
response. Naturally, the source data files available via "files" are just available in
one file type. If you aren't happy with the source file's file type, you might prefer
using the dataset's Data Access Forms instead.

Not All Datasets

Some datasets in this ERDDAP aren't available via the "files" system. Common reasons
include: If the source files for a dataset that you want aren't available, you can email
the administrator of this ERDDAP, decarlo at hawaii dot edu,
to request that they be made available, but there is usually a reason why they aren't
already available.


We understand that some users might prefer that ERDDAP offer files via FTP instead
of HTTP as is done by "files". Sorry. Hopefully, you'll be able to do what you need
to do with the current "files" system.

Command Line Downloads with curl

If you want to download a series of files from ERDDAP, you don't have to request each
file's ERDDAP URL in your browser, sitting and waiting for each file to download. If
you are comfortable writing computer programs (e.g., with C, Java, Python, Matlab, r)
you can write a program with a loop that imports all of the desired data files. Or, if
you are comfortable with command line programs (just running a program, or using bash
or tcsh scripts in Linux or Mac OS X, or batch files in Windows), you can use curl to
save results files from ERDDAP into files on your hard drive, without using a browser
or writing a computer program. ERDDAP+curl is amazingly powerful and allows you to
use ERDDAP in many new ways.
On Linux and Mac OS X, curl is probably already installed as /usr/bin/curl.
On Windows, or if your computer doesn't have curl already, you need to download curl (external link)
and install it. To get to a command line in Windows, click on "Start" and type
"cmd" into the search textfield.
("Win32 - Generic, Win32, binary (without SSL)" worked for me in Windows 7.)
Please be kind to other ERDDAP users: run just one script or curl command at a time.

Instructions for using curl are on the curl man page (external link) and in this curl tutorial (external link).
But here is a quick tutorial related to using curl with ERDDAP:

ERDDAP, Version 1.80
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