The IDL Image Analyzer
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Hello and welcome. We are students at the New Mexico Institute of Mining
and Technology in Socorro, NM. This page is the end result of a semester
long project in Physics 362; Image
Processing. This class, which is funded by NASA through the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium,
is designed to teach undergraduate students the tools used in the field of
image processing and manipulation.
First of all, "we" are:
This class is taught by Dr.
David Westpfahl (email@example.com),
with assistance from Dr. Dan
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Scott Bucholtz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maria Martinez (email@example.com)
Danielle Rundle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Data Language), a commercially developed image processing package from
Exelis Inc. (formerly RSI),
was chosen for this project for several reasons. Primarily, it was the
package that was first put in front of us when Dr. Westpfahl said to Dr.
Klinglesmith on the first day of class, "I think the best thing we can do
now is to just leave and let them play." On a side note, that is an
excellent teaching method . Also, IDL's language has a fairly low learning
curve. IDL's documentation is the best we've ever seen (go RSI). IDL is
ported to every major OS out there (Linux, several commercial UNIX's,
Windows, etc.). Most importantly, IDL is becoming the image processing
tool of choice in the field of astrophysics. Personally, we have heard of
several machines which are directly linked to (and controlling) telescopes
around the world which have IDL installed.
While preparing for the main project, we did several neat things in
IDL. We decided to focus our initial attack on creating images and
sequencing them into an animation. The result of this was a 50-frame
sequence of an exponential function being varied over time. It was kinda'
cool. The programs are here, specifically
ebolaep.pro (I felt sick that
day) and disp.pro. The frames of the
movie are here.
Hey, we aren't as dumb as we look. :] We actually found a bug in
IDL. It was with their READ_GIF procedure. The patch is located here. No, we didn't write the
patch, but we were the first to find that the procedure didn't work
properly. Go us! :)
For the main project, we decided to analyze the surface of Eros since the
NEAR Project and the Shoemaker Spacecraft flight
was the "hot topic" of discussion around NASA at this
time. We captured several images from the NEAR site and used them to get
our data. Some of our favorites are here
along with a few non-Eros extra's. Our final program, main.pro was written to be portable
outside the NEAR project. It is a front-end to the many graphical
display/analytical features of IDL. It reads in a filename, verifies that
the file both exists and is of a format that IDL can read, then either
animates it (if it's a GIF), or loads it for various interactive
displaying/analyzing options (such as several types of 3-D graphing
procedures). The only problem with the finished product is the widget
handling in Windows NT. I think this (return from NT Close Window
'x') may be another bug in IDL. It wouldn't be humanly possible for a
couple of college kids to find two bugs in one semester of working with a
commercial product such as IDL, though. We'll see (e-mail response from
RSI pending). Anyway, the other test programs (and general evolution of
our project) can be seen here.
First of all, "we" are:
This class is taught by Dr. David Westpfahl (email@example.com), with assistance from Dr. Dan Klinglesmith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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