Spyglass Toolkit

DN Staff

May 22, 1995

4 Min Read
Spyglass Toolkit

Spyglass has brought its three data analysis programs-PLOT, TRANSFORM, and SLICER-into the Windows market. The programs cover the spectrum in data manipulation and visualization for anyone in scientific disciplines.

PLOT 1.0. The simplest of all, PLOT performs column data analysis. It can read and manipulate datasets up to 32,000 columns wide. The number of data points is only limited by your system's memory.

PLOT's main menu offers three basic plot types for simple plotting. The Notebook and Macro capabilities are what add pizzazz to your graphs. Your comments and mathematical and data functions are in the notebook. Default graph attributes are easy to modify and save. You can use them in your Notebook for specific applications and to create your own functions, or combine them with the built-in ones.

PLOT's simplistic interface and lack of context-sensitive help force you to use the user's manual or view information in context and format on the on-line description of Macros. For instance, the bottom of the main Plot window could have been used for on-the-fly information as you scroll through function or macro commands.

The PLOT toolbox includes basic curve fit capabilities for linear, exponential, and polynomial fits. Some other built-in functions like standard deviation and RMS error can make up for what the curve fit routines won't give you directly.


PLOT 1.0, TRANSFORM 3.0, SLICER 1.0PLOT, TRANSFORM, and SLICER are visual analysis tools for data manipulation and visualization. These programs can be used separately or can exchange information since their file definition base is the same. Minimum Requirements: 386 PC or better, 8M bytes RAM and 25M bytes of hard drive space, Windows 3.1 or later, and an 8-bit color display. List Price: $2,700 Spyglass Inc., 1800 Woodfield Dr., Savoy, IL 61874; ph: (217) 355-6000.

TRANSFORM 3.0. TRANSFORM and SLICER come to your rescue for 3-D data manipulation. TRANSFORM can read and export matrix or image files in HDF, TIFF, FITS, PICT, or ASCII formats. Once the matrix data is loaded, TRANSFORM will create plots for the whole dataset as raster, surface, contour, or histogram representations.

The core of TRANSFORM's interface is its ability to extract data from the whole dataset. It lets you mark a region on the spreadsheet or on any plot windows associated with the dataset and automatically view the region on any of the other open windows. When you change the selection region, TRANSFORM automatically updates all plots associated with it once you activate the Synchronize tool.

SLICER 1.0. SLICER's core capabilities are focused on volumetric data rendering with ray-tracing techniques. You can view or interpret data using isosurfaces, slices, volume cutouts, or animation. A menu side bar has all the tools needed for basic rendering and image manipulation. SLICER can read DF, netCDF, and ASCII matrices.

By controlling SLICER's alpha values you can add transparency and translucency and have control over opacity. Controlling the range and portion of the volume of which your data will be rendered lets you leave out anything you choose. You also have complete control over the orientation and lighting conditions of the dataset.

To view the internal features of the data, slices can be inserted at any orthogonal plane or at oblique angles. Once you are satisfied with the slice locations, you can export them to TRANSFORM for further manipulation.

SLICER prints images in color or grayscale tones. The alpha mapping, color scaling, and orientation views are printed as part of the hard copy information. You can export SLICER's images in GIF, TGA, TIF or Windows Bitmap format.

The Spyglass toolkit has everything you could possibly want to import, manipulate, analyze, and export your data. The lack of on-line help makes you rely on the manuals more than you should for a Windows program. Exporting data to a host of formats is a major plus, although I was looking for a more robust data exchange between these programs and other external applications. Use of OLE and DDE in future versions would definitely enhance the use of these programs within the scientific and engineering community.

A similar product:

IDL-Research Systems, Inc., 777 29th St., Suite 302, Boulder, CO 80303.

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