SkyView updates

We are releasing a new version of SkyView today (2012-06-25). We’ve a separate article on the new INTEGRAL Galactic Plane surveys, but we’ve made some changes that affect many of the survey datasets. For each survey that we support, SkyView uses a survey description file, a custom XML format which includes both metadata on the survey (all the documentation you see), and the information about where the original survey images are stored. Heretofore we’ve used a separate file for each survey, e.g., the SDSSi had a separate file from the SDSSg. In the new version we support parametrized survey description files where we substitute values for parameters in the file. E.g., the text in the raw file survey.xml might include a line like

<Frequency> ${F} EHz </Frequency>

When we tell SkyView to use this file we would use the name survey.xml?F=2.7 and the raw XML would be rendered as

<Frequency> 2.7 EHz </Frequency>

Many surveys (SDSS, BAT, Fermi, IRAS, … ) have multiple bands where where the differences in the survey descriptions are easy to parametrize. In this new release the number of survey description files has dropped from over 100 to a little over 50.

While this saves a little space in the SkyView JAR, the major advantage is that it means we don’t have to repeat the common information, so we should be able to keep the survey descriptions more accurate over the long run. However it’s possible we missed some element where we’ve left a survey specific item in and not parametrized it properly. Please let us know if you see any problems.

Another change in the latest version is that we’ve made much more extensive use of the ability that SkyView has always had of providing links to related SkyView images in the results for a primary image. If you look at the new INTEGRAL Galactic plane surveys, the BAT data or the PSPC pointed surveys, you will see links to additional imagery. From the web page you can directly request intensity/flux maps for the INTEGRAL, BAT, RASS and PSPC data, but the results have links to exposure and counts maps, that are not available from the web page directly. You can invoke these directly in the batch interface however.

This allows us to keep the Web form a little cleaner. We’ve tied together the RASS Count and Intensity maps where they had previously been presented as separate surveys. We’ve also now have space to bring back the PSPC 0.6 degree cutoff maps. This is a mosaic of the high resolution cores of the ROSAT PSPC pointed observations.

With about 130 total surveys making it possible to find all of the surveys is becoming a real driver in our development.

If you are using one of the surveys that is not directly available and find the new organization to be a problem please contact us.

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