Contour contour picture

written by Joey Mukherjee -

Table of contents

  1. Overview
  2. Plot Types
  3. Getting Started
  4. Changing the plot...
    1. Data Definition
    2. Data Binning
    3. Plot Definition
    4. Output Definition
    5. Color Bar Definition
  5. Source Button
  6. Time Button
  7. File Button
  8. Draw Button
  9. Help Button


Contour performs contouring of IDFS data. The Contour program is fully menu driven and can perform a variety of contour plots depending on the parameters defined. Single and multiple plots are supported - all fully annotated and correctly ticked.

Plot Types

Currently, two different types of plots are supported and are defined briefly here. For a more complete description (i.e. full source analysis), see the XY Plot and ZR Plot sections.

The first type of plot is the XY Plot. An XY Plot must be made on a spinning satellite. For an XY Plot, data is read from a given IDFS source and converted to a given units until a full spin of data is read. Each energy (azimuthal) angle is read and converted into its component X and Y. After all X and Y's have been read, they are plotted with their respective intensities.

The second type of plot is the ZR Plot. For this type of plot, all sensors are used and are plotted with the given angles in the PIDF (not currently implemented). Unlike the XY Plot, a ZR Plot is applicable on both a spinning and non-spinning satellite. Furthermore, a ZR plot will work with a sweep of data or a spin of data. Data is read from a given IDFS source and converted to the given units until the number of spins/sweeps has been reached (or end time). Both the phi angle and the theta angles are used in the computation of the X and Y's which are plotted. Theta is kept constant for each sensor and phi is the average of the azimuthal angles.

Getting Started

To start a contour plot, first select an IDFS source with the "Source" button. Next, select a valid time with the "Time" button. You must select a time for which data exists. Contour will not check whether data exists until you initiate a draw. At this point, you have enough information to begin a plot as all other infomation is defaulted. The main point of concern is what units the plot will be drawn in. You can change the units from the "Data Definition" button. The default, however, is whatever the last unit is as defined by the PIDF file for the given virtual. To plot, select "Draw" from the main menubar and select "Draw from first page". The plot should then be drawn.

Changing the plot through the rest of the menus...

Data Definition

Data Binning

Data Binning is only applicable when "Rectangular" is set to "Yes" in the "Data Definition" menu.

The interval of the bins is Max + Min / Number of Grid Points for each axis.

Plot Box Definition

Output Definition

These mainly affect the cosmetics of the plot.

Color Bar Definition


Click through a project, mission, experiment, instrument, virtual instrument, data type, sensor group, and sensor. Each value must be specified regardless. To go backward, click on the buttons on the right hand side.


Use the sliders or type the values in the boxes to set the time. The stop time must be greater than the start time. The time is initially set to the current time.

File Button

Draw Button

Draw from current page - draws the next contour from current place in the IDFS data source. If you have never plotted, this is the same as the option below. If you change the source, or anything in the "Data Definition" menu, it will always draw from the first page regardless if you pick this option.

Draw from first page - draws a contour from the start of the IDFS data source.


About - does nothing - there is no help, this is it!

Detail plot analysis

XY Plot

Describe XY Plot

ZR Plot

Describe ZR Plot