Satellite Software Survey.

Neil Clifford (n.clifford@physics.oxford.ac.uk)
Mon, 22 Jul 1996 11:51:02 +0100 (BST)

The following is a satellite-related software survey. We would like to
know what software people are using and why. This isn't for any
commercial purpose - as part of the process of putting together a FAQ for
this mailing list and any allied newsgroup, it was felt that the types
of software that aid this hobby should be reviewed to help the newcomer
and also keep old hands better informed as to any new 'toys'. If you are
wondering what I and others are sort of aiming for have a look at

http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/sat/orbsoft.html

I wrote this about 1.5 years ago, so it obviously needs updating, but it
will give you an idea. Any platform, any package (we are not just
talking about tracking software here; ie tools for modifying parameters
in elsets, sorting large elset files, etc are equally worthy of
inclusion - we are *not* talking about that dandy wordprocessor that you
used to produce your paper on the perturbative effects of X on Y, or the
spreadsheet you use for keeping track of the coffee money for the local
satellite observers group). Even if you are the author of the package
concerned we would be interested in hearing from you; in the comments
you could perhaps mention your motivation for writing the software. The
more who contribute, the more thorough a review we can conduct (we do not
for example have access to all computing platforms and so are relying on
you folks out there for your input in these cases).

At the end of the day we will aim to try and produce a pretty objective
review; there is *no* commercial interest on our part, the motive is one
of keeping the hobbyist informed. We will also be open to correcting all
errors before the final section of the FAQ is created.

Please use this form as a guideline as to the sort of information we are
looking for. Indicate the platforms you use and the software packages
used on each. 

Computing platform: [eg UNIX/Mac/DOS-PC/Win3.1-PC/Win95-PC/Amiga/etc]
Package, version: [eg Traksat, Skymap, STSPLUS, Orbitrack, etc]
Author (+ email if possible):
Nature of package: [tracking/elset manipulation/etc is it graphical/text based?]
Status (include cost if applicable):
     [commercial/shareware/freeware/public domain/etc]
Is it distributed as binary executables or as source?
Features: [list relevant features here - eg if tracking software the
  model used (sgp4), projections avaliable, time step features, prints
  hardcopy?, etc
Where?: ftp/web site for obtaining it or a demo copy else contact
  details for ordering it.
Web page: Does the package have some in depth web page for it? If so
  please provide the url.
Comments: Your own opinions here - eg useful for identifying unknown
  satellites, or feature X is handy when using a laptop in the field, or
  very fast mass prediction generation, what exactly do you use it for;
  you get the idea.
Yourself: Please throw in your name and email address in case the mail
  headers get munged. Alternatively let me know if you wish to remain
  anonymous no matter what (I will respect this). If the consensus on seesat-l
  is such that it is thought a 'good thing' to make the complete results
  available somewhere - especially if it acts as an aid or a spur to
  software authors to provide much wanted features - then I may do so. In
  such an event those who have requested anonymity will have any
  identifying information removed from their contribution. Having
  contact details would also help in clarifying points you have made if
  they aren't too clear.

If people stick to this sort of layout then this might (?) help the
processing of the information. Send the information to
satsurvey@physics.oxford.ac.uk or simply reply to this article (the
reply-to header should be set for this). Any queries should be sent to
me, n.clifford@physics.oxford.ac.uk

regards,

-- 
Neil Clifford                             <n.clifford@physics.oxford.ac.uk>
                        http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/sat/satintro.html