The Southwest Data Display and Analysis System (SDDAS) is a rapid prototyping testbed intended to support space physics data analysis. The utility of the system relies on the availability of of lowcost workstation technology, a generic operating system (UNIX), and the proliferation of wide area networks. The development of the SDDAS is driven from the bottom up by the user community rather than by government organizations. An interest ing characteristic of the SDDAS is that it allows data from different satellites (for example, DE1 and DE2) to be displayed simultaneously for a given time.
Rather than emphasizing the cataloging of data, the SDDAS stresses the ability to visualize data quickly. The SDDAS has provided the developers with many useful lessons learned in the arena of space physics data systems. The developers feel that a strong case can be made that large, centralized facilities offering a fixed set of abilities will not adequately support space science in the 1990s. The SDDAS approach is adaptable to advances in computer technology, thus giving the scientist a toolbox that can bridge the gap between data and scientific insight.