The Key Parameter Visualization Tool (KPVT), developed at the ISTP Science
Planning and Operations Facility (SPOF), is a generic software package to
visualize the key parameter data produced from ISTP missions, interactively
and simultaneously. The tool is designed to facilitate correlative displays
of ISTP data, and thus the selection of candidate events, data quality
The software, written in IDL, includes a graphical user interface, and runs
on many platforms including multiple UNIX workstations, VAX/Open VMS,
PC/Windows 95, and Macintosh. The full package of the tool including the
source code, installation instructions, and other important materials can be
obtained via anonymous FTP.
Version 2.1 of the KPVT will be publicly available to the ISTP community
starting 12-2-1996. It supports various plot types such as time series,
spectrograms, and images. The user interface is flexible and easy to use.
The basic requirement for users is to select the data to be displayed. For
new data selections, the plot will be generated automatically with default
settings. Many options are available for users to customize the plots if
desired. All data and plot parameters can be saved into a Plot File template
and retrieved later for reuse.
- System Setup: quick and flexible access to a user's local
The directory paths of a user's local database and print commands for
various printing facilities can be interactively stored in the tool's
system for easy access to files and printers. User options such as
variable choices for the default color table, file path, printer, and the
size of the plot display window on the computer screen are also
- Data Selection: flexible data selection procedures to
accommodate versatile choices for users.
Once a desired file and key parameter are selected, the KPVT will
analytically determine and provide all the possible selection choices for
a user to select. For non-image data, the data can be plotted in multiple
panels up to a maximum of 15 panels. Each panel may contain one or two
variables. Data may be selected from multiple files, corresponding to
one or multiple investigations. For image data, only one type of image
can be selected at a time.
- Plot Control: flexibility and capabilities ranging from
interactive plot manipulation to on-line custom plot making.
Many options are available for plot manipulation. The plot controls
panel provides access to the most frequently used IDL plotting settings.
All user-defined plot parameters can be saved into a Plot File and
retrieved later for reuse.
For visualization of images, two different displays are available and
the options also include color scale, color table, and plot format
For non-image displays, various plot characteristics can be
- overall plot settings such as font size, thickness of characters,
and the style of plot panels.
- axis settings such that every axis in every plot panel can be
customized independently. The options consist of labels, character
size, scale ranges, scalings, tick marks, the length of tick marks
(inwards, outwards, or a grid), color bar scales, etc. An
interface is also provided for easy time-range adjustments.
- ability to save customized plot styles in the users' individual
- plot layout, panel locations and spacing between panels that a
user can specify.
- user-specified color bars.
- adding custom vertical or horizontal lines to the plots such as
a zero line or a pair of vertical guide lines. Each panel can have 10
line additions in either orientation.
- annotating the plots with text in user-preferred styles. The
tool allows 30 text additions to the plot.
The tool supports various output formats, including PostScript files for
hardcopy printing, as well as GIF files for easy import into world wide
- Plot Files and Viewing Loops: painless, cost-effective and
efficient approaches to interactive data visualization over huge and
rich collections of ISTP key Parameters on a regular basis.
Once a user has decided what to plot and how to plot, all the necessary
data and plot parameters can be saved into a Plot File, a reusable
plotting template. At a later time, a user only needs to open a desired
Plot File and select the appropriate data files. The data will be
immediately displayed according to the preset preferences. After a Plot
File is created, a user doesn't need to repeat the interactive selections
over the same data and plot parameters again. A user can take advantage
of viewing loops to continuously view different data files with the
same set of data selections in preferred plot formats.
Any GIF or ASCII file can be selected for display with the hardcopy
- Modularized Tools:
A tool for generating CDFskeleton tables is currently available.
- On-Line Help:
The on-line help is available to guide users through step-by-step
instructions. Plot examples and tutorial instructions are also provided.