[ASA] Seeking test users for astronomical software visualisation study

Melanie Johnston-Hollitt Melanie.Johnston-Hollitt at vuw.ac.nz
Fri Oct 2 10:04:01 AEST 2015

Dear ASA members,

We have been running a collaboration between astrophysics and software engineering to develop new astronomical visualisation tools to address capability missing in existing FITS visualisation software. Two of our honours students in the School of Engineering & Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington have developed tools to do this which they are seeking feedback on the current implementation from professional astronomers. The first of these tools, developed by Chris Hawkins, is an interactive 3D FITS viewer capable overlaying multiple spectral data cubes that allows a range display and extraction options. The second tool, developed by Pragya Mohan, allows interactive masking of fits files of arbitrary shapes.

We are seeking members of the astronomical community who might be interested in testing the software and then completing an anonymous survey on their experience which may be used for the final honours report in computer science. No identifying information will be collected or reported. The collection of these data and the associated methodology have been assessed and cleared by the Human Ethics Committee of Victoria University of Wellington. For any enquiries about the ethics of this user test please contact Human Ethics Committee Convener, Susan Corbett (susan.corbett at vuw.ac.nz<mailto:susan.corbett at vuw.ac.nz>, +64 4 463 5480).

Details of where to obtain the two programs and their associated software can be found in the following places:

  1.  The interactive 3D FITS viewer installation details and questionnaire here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/pw43ersffm1y832/UserStudyInformation.pdf?dl=0
  2.  The interactive masking of fits masking tool is here: https://github.com/PragyaM/FITS2D/releases and the associated questionnaire here: http://vuw.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_aWY0KHVrZ1buafH

Any questions on the software should be directed towards the developers (Chris & Pragya) and contact information is in the files. Any questions about the collaborative efforts, comments on the overall direction of this work or requests to collaborate are welcome and may be directed to me. We will be publishing papers to describe these programs over the next couple months and the work will be presented at ADASS in Sydney in a few weeks.

Best regards,


A/Prof. Melanie Johnston-Hollitt
Director Astronomy & Astrophysics,
School of Chemical & Physical Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140 New Zealand
Melanie.Johnston-Hollitt at vuw.ac.nz<mailto:Melanie.Johnston-Hollitt at vuw.ac.nz>
+64 4 463 6543

Assistant: Ms Claire O'Connor
Claire.OConnor at vuw.ac.nz<mailto:Claire.OConnor at vuw.ac.nz>
+64 (04)463 4730
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