Guide, Humor, News, Opinion

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PVL libraries for reading PDS labels

All of the data in the Planetary Data System (PDS) have a detailed set of labels (meta-data). Sometimes these labels are in separate files (detached labels) or are embedded in the data file itself (usually as a header). The data of these labels are encoded in a text-based framework known as a parameter value language (PVL). There are several approaches to programmatically parsing and reading these PDS data in PVL format. This article discusses several of the libraries that exist in C, C++, and Java that can help you with your PDS PVL needs (reading and writing).

IDL-based freeware for viewing/matching stereo pairs

For those of you interested in a generic tool for viewing stereo pairs and manually editing match points, I developed some freeware (if you have IDL) to do that, and it can be downloaded at It works under IDL and there is a users manual and installation guide on the web site. I had an abstract about it at the 2005 LPSC (abs. #1984). The download includes sample image pairs from Magellan,

Image interpolation

Not all images are the same. Frequently, to do science you might want to compare two different images at the same resolution, or map them to the same grid, different from the original. To map to lower resolution you should co-add pixels, but to map at a higher resolution you might need to interpolate. This article discusses four interpolations schemes, how to use them, and which might be best for you.



Example of 4 different interpolation styles as applied to mapping from a Cassini/VIMS Titan cube.

Putting arrows on figures using the GIMP

In many instances, images can speak for themselves. However, one often wants to put arrows or indicators on an image mentioned in the caption or the text. This article explains a few ways to do that with the GIMP.

MGS data tools

Not quite sure where to start with data from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft? This article contains links to the raw data, and also links to the various software tools that members of the community have created to analyze the data itself.

Advice for statements of research, teaching, and cover letters!

I'm putting together an application for a faculty position, and I turned to the web for help. While a simple search for "statement of teaching philosophy" yields many more links than I have listed below, I had a really hard time finding anything about research plans. What I found was a real eye-opener. launched!

Today, the 19th of February 2006, we have officially launched this website.

The concept of the site had been around for a while in our heads (mine and Jason's), but during the summer of 2005, the first actual alpha test sites were tested. This was followed by a beta-test period starting in September 2005, culminating in this launch. We'd like to thank all of our beta-testers for the help, and we look forward to more stories and comments.

Easy generation of animations

Some images are worth 1000 words. Similarly, some movies, or animations, are worth 1000 images, even if they are made up of fewer. What I'm trying to say is that there are some concepts which are better illustrated using animations rather than just graphs or images. Hal Levison, for example, shows movies of orbits changing as a function of time that give a better impression of orbital evolution, and in less time, than a succession of plots. Strategic use of animations really increases the amount of understanding that you can transmit to your audience in a 7-minute talk. Generating simple animations is easy using the command-line-driven ImageMagick software.

MOLA maps with GMT

Creating shaded relief maps or combination colorized/shaded relief maps with MOLA data is easy to do with the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT).

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