4. Graphics and Image Display


Most NEMO graphics programs select their graphics output with the yapp= system keyword.

NEMO programs also need to display their data of course. Here we will make a distinction between graphics and image data. A simple but flexible graphics interface has been defined in NEMO and is used extensively in programs that need such output. These are controlled by the user via the yapp= (system) keyword.

To display image data we rely mostly (but see ccdplot(1NEMO) for an exception) on external software. Often images would need to be copied to a FITS file for this (but see nds9 for an example that can use NEMO’s image format).

4.1. The YAPP graphics interface

The programs in NEMO which use graphics are rather simple and generally allow no interactive processing, except perhaps for a simple ‘hit-the-return-key’ or ‘push-a-mouse-button’ between successive plots or actions. A very simple interface (API) was defined (yapp, Yet Another Plotting Package) with basic plot functions. There are currently a few yapp implementations available, such as a postscript-only device, and pgplot. If your output device is not supported by the ones available in the current yapp directory ($NEMO/src/kernel/yapp), you may have to write a new one! A reasonably experienced programmer writes a functional yapp-interface in an hour or so.

Although this method results in a flexible graphics interface, a program can currently only be linked with one yapp-interface, which is selected at NEMO’s installation time via the configure script. This might result in the existence of more than one version of the same program, each for another graphics output device. We use the convention that the ones for a postscript printer have a _ps appended to their original name: the program which has the original name is the one whose display is the current screen, Hence we may see program names such as {tt snapplot} (the default), snapplot_ps (postscript), or snapplot_cg (color Sun screen when this was popular) . Again: actual names may differ on your system.

If programs are linked with the multiplexing libraries yapp_pgplot interface, several device drivers are transparently present through pgplot, and the system keyword yapp= is then used to select a device (a default can be set by using the YAPP environment variable). See also the User Interface chapter or the yapp manual page.

However, despite these grim sounding words, we currently almost exclusively use the PGPLOT implementation of yapp, which is very flexible. You will need to have pgplot installed on your system, which is another story in itself.

4.2. pyplot=: python matplotlib

An experimental pyplot= keyword has been added to tabplot and tabhist, which creates a simple python script that reproduces (to some degree) what those program intended to do. The intent is that these can be edited and made more functionality. There are also pure python versions of tabplot and tabhist under development.

4.3. General Graphics Display

Another convenient way to present data in graphical form is by using the table format. We have already encountered the tables created by many NEMO programs. These tables can be used by NEMO programs such as tabplot(1NEMO), tabhist(1NEMO), and other packages such as gnuplot, xgobi, xmgrace, xgraphic, and glueviz.

4.4. Image Display Interface

Data in image(5NEMO) format can be transferred in fits(5NEMO) format and subsequently displayed and analyzed within almost any astronomical image processing system. They are generally much better equipped to display and manipulate data of this kind of format. A number of standalone display programs can also understand FITS format. An excellent example of this is ds9, although it understands FITS files, can be used in a client-server setting and NEMO image files can be directly sent to the display server (a temporary fits file is created, which can have drawbacks if they are large):

% ds9 &
% nds9 map.ccd

Other programs you can consider are: carta, qfitsview, ginga, and fv. See also the list on https://blends.debian.org/astro/tasks/viewers