Starlink Project
Starlink User Note 55.32

Malcolm J. Currie

2015 December 14

Copyright © 2015 Science and Technology Research Council

CONVERT – A Format-conversion Package

Version 1.8

User’s Manual


The Convert package contains utilities for converting data files between Starlink’s Extensible n-dimensional Data Format (NDF), which is used by most Starlink applications, and a number of other common data formats. Using these utilities, astronomers can process their data selecting the best applications from a variety of Starlink or other packages.

Most of the Convert utilities may be run from the shell or ICL in the normal way, or invoked automatically by the NDF library’s ‘on-the-fly’ data-conversion system, but there are also IDL procedures for handling NDFs from within IDL.


1 Introduction
2 Running CONVERT
 2.1 Starting CONVERT from the UNIX shell
 2.2 Starting CONVERT from ICL
 2.3 Issuing CONVERT Commands
 2.4 Obtaining Help
 2.5 Hypertext Help
3 Automatic Format Conversion with the NDF Library
 3.1 The Default Conversion Commands
4 Automatic HISTORY Creation
5 Acknowledgments
A Specifications of CONVERT Applications
 A.1 Explanatory Notes
ASCII2NDF – Converts a text file to an NDF
AST2NDF – Converts an Asterix data cube into a simple NDF
DA2NDF – Converts a direct-access unformatted file to an NDF
DST2NDF – Converts a Figaro (Version 2) DST file to an NDF
FITS2NDF – Converts FITS files into NDFs
GASP2NDF – Converts an image in GASP format to an NDF
GIF2NDF – Converts a GIF file into an NDF.
IRAF2NDF – Converts an IRAF image to an NDF
IRCAM2NDF – Converts an IRCAM data file to a series of NDFs
MTFITS2NDF – Converts FITS magnetic tape files into NDFs.
NDF2ASCII – Converts an NDF to a text file
NDF2DA – Converts an NDF to a direct-access unformatted file
NDF2DST – Converts an NDF to a Figaro (Version 2) DST file
NDF2FITS – Converts NDFs into FITS files
NDF2GASP – Converts a two-dimensional NDF into a GASP image
NDF2GIF – Converts an NDF into a GIF file.
NDF2IRAF – Converts an NDF to an IRAF image
NDF2PGM – Converts an NDF to a PBMPLUS-style PGM-format file.
NDF2TIFF – Converts an NDF to an 8-bit TIFF-6.0-format file.
NDF2UNF – Converts an NDF to a sequential unformatted file
SPECX2NDF – Converts a SPECX map into a simple data cube, or SPECX data files to individual spectra.
TIFF2NDF – Converts a TIFF file into an NDF.
UNF2NDF – Converts a sequential unformatted file to an NDF

B Handling NDFs in IDL
 B.1 The Easy Way
 B.2 Other Methods
  B.2.1 A simple route (but rather slow)
  B.2.2 A faster route (but a little more complicated)
  B.2.3 Using the IDL Astronomy Users’ Library
C Specifications of CONVERT IDL Procedures
READ_NDF – Convert a Starlink NDF to an IDL array.
WRITE_NDF – Convert an IDL array to a Starlink NDF.
HDS2IDL – Convert a Starlink HDS file to an IDL variable.
IDL2HDS – Convert an IDL variable to a Starlink HDS file.

D IRAF Versions
E Release Notes
 E.1 Release Notes – V1.8
F Notes from Previous Few Releases
 F.1 Release Notes – V1.5
  F.1.1 Release Notes – V1.5-4
  F.1.2 Release Notes – V1.5-5
  F.1.3 Release Notes – V1.5-6
  F.1.4 Release Notes – V1.5-7
  F.1.5 Release Notes – V1.5-8
  F.1.6 Release Notes – V1.5-9
  F.1.7 Release Notes – V1.5-10
  F.1.8 Release Notes – V1.5-11
  F.1.9 Release Notes – V1.5-12
  F.1.10 Release Notes – V1.5-13
  F.1.11 Release Notes – V1.5-14
  F.1.12 Release Notes – V1.5-15
  F.1.13 Release Notes – V1.5-16
  F.1.14 Release Notes – V1.5-17
  F.1.15 Release Notes – V1.5-18
  F.1.16 Release Notes – V1.5-19
  F.1.17 Release Notes – V1.6
  F.1.18 Release Notes – V1.7