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Results of 3D plotting tools

Hi once again,

I received a few responses to my request for a 3D or 4D plotting tool.  Here
are some results;

1.   Excel has a 3D surface plot function (rectangular, not polar), although
the Excel limitation of only handling 255 columns of data precludes any
sensible importing and displaying of a 360 x 90 matrix (plus a row and
column of header info).
I got around this by aggregating the data into 3-degree intervals in the
azimuth plane (external to excel), and then importing what was then a 120 x
90 matrix (still representing the full 360 x 90 degree sky).
Surprisingly, Excel 7 (aka excel 95) seemed easier to drive than Excel 97 in
this regard.

2.   There is a very comprehensive package called 'IDL', available at
Without a license, the software is limited to being run for 10 minutes, and
cannot save files.
Beware : the file is 28.8 MegaBytes, and took me 6 hours to download (only
to discover the demo limitation).

3.  There is a pretty good plotting package called gnuplot (lower-case),
which is available as both source and executable files, for a wide variety
of platforms, including DOS, Windows, Unix and others.  I obtained the
32-bit windows version from ftp://monash.edu.au/pub/gnuplot  (it will be
available on an FTP server near you).
gnuplot was able to handle my original 360 x 90 matrix without a hitch.  It
can produce 3D rectangular plots, but (alas) can't do 3D or 4D polar plots.

In summary, it seems best to use Excel due to ease of use, however it is
worth learning to drive gnuplot if excel's 255-column has ruled it out.

I am still looking for a 3D or 4D polar plotting utility...  does anyone
have Harvard Graphics, and can that package do the job?

Also, I some very interesting plots of the composite coverage of ko-23,
hubble etc as viewed from Perth... if anyone is interested, I can email out
a jpg etc (don't want to upset too many people on the list at once!).

73 Chris VK6KCH
 |  Chris Hill            email : vk6kch@amsat.org |
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