Starlink Project
Starlink Cookbook 2.3

A.C. Davenhall

1st October 1997

©1997 Starlink, CCLRC

The DX Cookbook


IBM DX (Data Explorer) is the data-visualisation package recommended by Starlink, particularly for the visualisation of three-dimensional scalar and vector data. This cookbook provides a set of simple recipes for performing common operations using DX. No prior knowledge of DX is required. You can use the recipes as they are provided, if they are suitable for your purposes, or alternatively you can use them as a starting point for generating your own visualisations.

The cookbook also contains a brief summary of the DX data model. It is useful to have at least some understanding of this data model in order to use DX effectively.

This edition of the cookbook applies to Version 3.1 of DX.


1 Introduction
2 Starting DX
 2.1 Starting DX without the Starlink enhancements
 2.2 Re-instating the Starlink enhancements
3 Introduction
 3.1 Copies of the recipe networks
 3.2 Further examples
4 Basic Use of DX
 4.1 Running a network
5 Importing Gridded Data
 5.1 Variations
6 Importing Particle Data
 6.1 Variations
7 Displaying a Histogram
 7.1 Use
 7.2 Notes
 7.3 Alternatives
8 Displaying a Slice
 8.1 Use
 8.2 Notes
 8.3 Alternatives
9 Displaying a Sequence of Slices
 9.1 Use
 9.2 Notes
10 Displaying an Iso-surface
 10.1 Use
 10.2 Notes
11 Displaying Particle Data
 11.1 Use
 11.2 Notes
12 Introduction
 12.1 Copies of the recipe networks
13 JCMT Data Cube
14 ROSAT Data Cube
15 Introduction
 15.1 Further reading
16 Summary
17 Outline of the Data Model
 17.1 Components
 17.2 Attributes
 17.3 The connections component and interpolation
 17.4 Position and connection dependent data
18 Acknowledgements

Revision history

26th January 1996: Version 1 (ACD).
28th February 1997: Version 2. Minor changes (ACD).
1st October 1997: Version 3. Added Part II ‘Extended Recipes’. Also made a few other minor changes (ACD).


    The references are listed alphabetically by title. In the case of Starlink documents the document code (for example SC/4.1 or SUN/17.6) forms part of the title.

[1]   IBM Visualization Data Explorer: QuickStart Guide, Second Edition, 1995, document reference number: SC34-3262-01.

[2]   IBM Visualization Data Explorer: User’s Guide, Sixth Edition, 1995, document reference number: SC38-0496-05.

[3]   SC/4.1: C-shell Cookbook by M.J. Currie, 2 May 1997 (Starlink).

[4]   SG/8.2: An Introduction to Visualisation Software for Astronomy by A.C. Davenhall, 4 March 1997 (Starlink).

[5]   SUN/17.6: SPECX – A Millimetre Wave Spectral Reduction Package by R.M. Prestage, H. Meyerdierks and J.F. Lightfoot, 13 January 1995 (Starlink).

[6]   SUN/55.6: CONVERT – A Format-conversion Package by M.J. Currie, G.J. Privett and A.J. Chipperfield, 7 December 1995 (Starlink).

[7]   SUN/86.12: FIGARO – A General Data Reduction System by K. Shortridge, H. Meyerdierks, M.J. Currie and M.J. Clayton, 26 September 1996 (Starlink).

[8]   SUN/95.9: KAPPA – Kernel Application Package by M.J. Currie, 9 December 1995 (Starlink).

[9]   SUN/98.6: ASTERIX – X-ray Data Processing System D.J. Allan and R.J. Vallance, 13 May 1995 (Starlink).

[10]   SUN/102.3: HDSTRACE – Listing HDS Data Files by M.J. Currie, 14 February 1994 (Starlink).

[11]   SUN/203.3: DX – IBM Data Explorer for Data Visualisation by D.S. Berry, G.J. Privett and A.C. Davenhall, 15 September 1997 (Starlink).