Category "News"


The IDL Data Point has a post showing an example of using the new object-oriented interface for user functions in ENVI 5. Mark discussed batch programs in ENVI 5 last week.

I don’t look forward to rewriting old ENVI user functions, but the new interface does look much better than the clunky old ENVI programming interface. My biggest question is how well is it documented?1


  1. My next question would be is there a way to write an extension that works for both old and new versions of ENVI? I think so. 

This year’s VISualize, the IDL/ENVI User Group meeting, will have the theme “Climate Change and Environmental Monitoring.” It will be held June 18 to 19 in the World Wildlife Fund Conference Center in Washington, DC.

Exelis VIS is now accepting abstracts—due May 18! Not sure what I should talk about this year (I’ve talked about GPULib for the past couple of years), but I will definitely submit something and attend in any case.

David Fanning says he is retiring from IDL:

I’m retiring. No, really, this time I’m really retiring. :-)

Hopefully this is a false alarm, but in any case, good luck David and thanks for years of valuable information!

I will be AGU next week (Tuesday through Thursday morning). I’ll be hanging out at the Tech-X booth (circled at right, just up from the NASA booth) most of the time, but will also be patrolling the posters and hitting a few talks as well.

Here’s our press release:

Tech-X Corporation invites you to visit our booth (Booth #1748) at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2011, December 5 – 9, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

We will be featuring GPU Computing, including GPULib, our library of mathematical kernels for GPU computing.

We will also be demonstrating the Remote Data Toolkit, which allows seamless access to remote data with IDL.

Personnel from Tech-X and/or their collaborators will be participating in the following activities:

Session A53C: Multisensor and Model Aerosol Data Inter-comparison and Synergy III Posters Friday, December 09 1:40PM – 6:00PM, Halls A – C

A53C-0382 Aerosol type estimations for the ERBE period (1985 – 1989) Jose R. Fernandez, SSAI, Hampton, VA; Seiji Kato, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA; Fred G. Rose, SSAI, Hampton, VA; David W. Fillmore, Tech-X Corporation, Boulder, CO

Exelis VIS will be at booth #1431; I haven’t heard about if there will be an IDL user group meeting.

UPDATE: Also, if you have an iPhone, I recommend the AGU app. It has been very useful already for me.

Full disclosure: I work for Tech-X Corporation.

Google’s cache of Usenet newsgroups seems to be down right now. I don’t see new posts since June 27 in the couple newsgroups that I regularly read, including the very informative IDL newsgroup comp.lang.idl-pvwave. But that doesn’t mean the newsgroup is not there; I actually hadn’t noticed anything was wrong until someone told me about Google’s problem because I access the newsgroup using a Usenet client reader with an actual Usenet news server.

This is not hard to do and is a much better experience: less spam, using native application interface instead of a web app, etc. Here are the basic steps to do this yourself:

  1. Get an account on a Usenet news server. I use Eternal September because it provides free access to text-only newsgroups like comp.lang.idl-pvwave.
  2. Get a Usenet client reader. I use Thunderbird from Mozilla; it is free and available on all the popular platforms.
  3. Configure your Usenet client reader to use your Usenet server account. This depends on the client you chose, but is fairly straight forward from the information that your Usenet news server provides you.
  4. When starting to use a new Usenet server, there is a process of downloading the list of available newsgroups and then subscribing to the one(s) you are interested in.

Here is a detailed description of using Thunderbird with Eternal September to access a newsgroup, just use comp.lang.idl-pvwave instead of rec.arts.disney.parks.

You’re set to go, welcome to 1980!

UPDATE: articles are appearing on Google Groups again, but I still recommend using an actual news server.

ITT VIS is hosting a webinar at 2 pm (EDT) about the new features in IDL 8.1. Topics for discussion:

  1. Data Visualization, including new Graphics routines and display features, new mapping features and an interface that exposes event handling in a Graphics window
  2. File Access, including reading and writing GRIB/2 files, writing to KML/KMZ files and new set of tools for creating high-quality video output to popular movie formats using the open-source FFmpeg library
  3. Mapping, including new GSHHS high-resolution coastlines, updated country boundaries and reprojection tools
  4. Image Processing, with new routines and updates to functionality in existing routines
  5. Development, with the Workbench including source control management plugins for CVS, Subversion, Git and Perforce

Make sure to register beforehand, you have just under two hours.

IDL 8.1 was released last week during VISualize. This caught me a bit by surprise, but I will do a few posts on 8.1 features in the coming weeks. Here are the basic features:

  1. IDLffVideoWrite class for high-quality video output in either mp4 or avi files. This uses the FFmpeg library.
  2. There are now keywords to set event handlers for specific types of events in a new graphic or WIDGET_WINDOW window.
  3. Added methods for new graphics programmatic API.
  4. Extended longitudes and high-resolution shorelines in MAP using GSHHS map database.
  5. New methods for List and Hash classes: ::isEmpty, ::count, and ::findValue (like WHERE).
  6. GRIB read and write programmatic API (containing 38 GRIB_* routines) for UNIX and Mac OS X only.
  7. KML/KMZ output options in new graphics MAP function.
  8. Workbench now comes with source control plugins for git, Subversion, CVS, and Perforce.

There are more features, so check the “What’s New” for more details.

ITT VIS has announced an expanded VISualize 2011 in Washington, DC on April 12 – 14. The new three day format will have Workshops on the first day (morning for IDL, afternoon for ENVI), a day for the IDL User Group Meeting, and a day for the ENVI User Group Meeting.

Abstracts for talks can be submitted until March 11:

Suggestions for topic areas include, but are certainly not limited to:

  1. Remote Sensing, GIS and Geospatial Applications
  2. Atmospheric & Climate Applications
  3. Data Analysis & Visualization
  4. Astronomy, Astrophysics & Planetary Physics
  5. Medical/Biological Applications

ITT VIS will be having a user group meeting at AGU again this year. From the invite:

Share your feedback with the IDL team and

  1. Learn about the updates included in the IDL 8.0.1 release
  2. See examples using the new features in IDL 8.0 and IDL 8.0.1
  3. Hear how ITT VIS is addressing key feedback on IDL 8.0
  4. Learn about what’s coming in IDL 8.1

It’s Wed Dec 15, 5-7 pm at the Marriott Marquis. I’ll have another post about AGU activities later, but I’ll definitely be at the user group meeting.

ITT VIS released the IDL 8.0.1 patch this afternoon. From the press release:

A patch release, IDL 8.0.1, is now available. This is a planned release to follow up the major changes that were introduced in IDL 8. It contains over 100 bug fixes plus 5 new features:

  1. arrow function,
  2. MAPGRID BOX_AXES property,
  3. Multiple IDL graphics can now be saved to a single PDF file,
  4. New graphics and object graphics now allow for thicknesses < 1.0 (0 is a thin hairline),
  5. WRITE_PNG now allows the horizontal or vertical resolution to be specified

For installation instructions, see Bill Okubo’s post to comp.lang.idl-pvwave.

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