Map files contain the same information as grid files, and also contain the fitted coefficients describing the convection pattern. They are produced from combined grid files using a multi-step process:

  1. Reformat a grid file into an empty cnvmap format file
  2. Calculate the position of the Heppner Maynard Boundary and adds it to the cnvmap file
  3. Add IMF and solar wind data to the cnvmap file
  4. Calculate the statistical model and add it to the cnvmap file
  5. Perform the spherical harmonic fitting for the cnvmap file

If IMF data are not provided, RST uses the default values (Bx, By, Bz)=0

For southern hemisphere data, add the -sh flag in map_grd

map_grd 20181001.grd >
map_addhmb >
map_addimf -if imfdata.txt >
map_addmodel -o 8 -d l >
map_fit >

Supplying IMF data

IMF data can be supplied as a text file to the map_addimf routine using -if [imffile] The file should have the columns shown below. The IMF values will change only when a subsequent line the IMF file alters it.

year month day hour minute second bx by bz Vx Kp

You can also add fixed IMF values for the entire map file, for example

map_addimf -bx 1.5 -by -1.2 -bz 0.4 [file].map > [file]

NOTE: When supplying IMF data via a text file, AND using the -old option, the Kp values will not be read in and stored in the resulting file.

CDF files

IMF data from the ACE and WIND satellites can also be supplied in CDF format using the -ace or -wind options in map_addimf:

map_addimf -ace >

The CDF files can be obtained from CDAWeb. ACE and WIND data should be placed in the directory $ISTP_PATH/ace/[year] and $ISTP_PATH/wind/[year] respectively. You can edit the $ISTP_PATH environment variable in $RST_PATH/.profile/superdarn.bash (or in your .bashrc file).

For ACE data, RST searches for the following datasets:

  • Magnetic Field 16-Second Level 2 Data: ac_H0_mfi_[date]_v[xx].cdf (first preference)
  • Magnetic Field 16-Second Key Parameters: ac_k1_mfi_[date]_v[xx].cdf

For WIND data, RST searches for datasets of the form: wi_[level]_mfi_[date]_v[xx].cdf


By default, RST loads 24 hours of IMF data. If you need to load data for a longer time period, use -ex hr:mt.