Introduction to dbdreader

The python package dbdreader is a package that can be used to read binary data files that are generated by Teledyne WebbResearch Slocum gliders see

The Slocum gliders produce binary data files that contain engineering data or science data. Engineering data are stored in sbd or dbd files, where sbd files contain a subset of the dbd files. Science data are stored in tbd and ebd files. Also here the tbd files contain a subset of the parameters in the ebd files.

The dbdreader package provides APIs for accessing a single binary file or multiple binaries. The package lets you, for example,

  • read the measured depth of a given dbd file,

  • retrieve CTD data from multiple ebd files,

  • retrieve heading, roll and pitch, interpolated on the time basis of depth

Installing dbdreader

dbdreader is written for python3. Python2.7 is not supported.

The code is developed at github ( from where you can get the source code.

Alternatively, the latest dbdreader package is available from the python package index (, so that you can install it using pip.

Install using pip:

pip install dbdreader

The dbdreader module contains a C extension, which requires a compiler to be installed. Furthermore, as of version 0.5.1, dbdreader is able to uncompress lz4-compressed data files, which requires the lz4 library and header files.


dnf install gcc lz4-libs lz4-devel


apt-get install gcc liblz4-1 liblz4-dev


Microsoft C++ build tools + lz4 ?

Dbdreader quickstart

The package comes with a number of examples. However, to give you a flavour of how easy it is to read one or two variables, consider the example code below.

import dbdreader

dbd = dbdreader.DBD("unit204-2014-212-0-0.dbd")
t,d = dbd.get("m_depth")