IOD Entry: new software to write IOD formatted observational data

From: Marco Langbroek via Seesat-l <>
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2017 13:32:34 +0100
Hi all,

The IOD format used by many observers
( can be somewhat cumbersome and
error prone to type manually.

In the old days there was ObsEntry, a neat DOS program to turn observational
data into IOD format. But ObsEntry no longer works under modern Windows OS.

As part of learning myself to code Windows .NET applications, I have created a
new kind of ObsEntry, with a modern Windows GUI, called "IOD Entry".

Version 1.0 of IOD Entry can be downloaded through my astronomy software page:

A screenshot of the program is here:

Some info on how to use the IOD Entry is below. If you encounter errors, please
let me know.

- Marco


IOD Entry does not need to be installed (in fact, you could run it from a
USB stick if you like). Just unzip the provided .zip file into a directory,
e.g. a directory "IODEntry".

The program makes use of the .NET framework, which from Windows 7 onwards
is a default part of the Windows installation.

If it is not, or if you use an outdated Windows OS like Xp, you need to install
the .NET Framework first. You can download the .NET framework here:


IOD Entry has input fields for all the compulsory and optional data that
make up a satellite positional observation in IOD format.

When you start IOD Entry up, default values for the station are already
filled in. At initial startup these will be the details for my station 4353:
the COSPAR station code, and three drop-down boxes with the timing accuracy
of the observations, the positional accuracy, and the accuracy of the
brightness estimates.

You can change these to your own station's details, and set these as a
new default by pressing the "Save as default" button [note that the earlier
default values will *not* be retained!]. Next time you fire up the program,
your chosen defaults will show in the entry boxes.

As these station details usually are similar for each observing session,
you do not have to change these data entries often, hence why they are
pre-filled in and set as a default.

Apart from the station data, there are three other data entry sections.

In the second data entry section you need to fill in information on the
object observed:

- the SSC (NORAD) catalogue number (leading zeros not necessary);
- the COSPAR object code (two-digit year, follow-on number, letter designation)

In the next section you need to fill in:

- the date and time of the observation (in UT);
- the observing conditions (dropdown box choice)

In the last and final section you need to fill in:

- the Right Ascension (RA) of the observed position, in hh mm ss;
- the Declination (DEC) of the observed position, in decimal degrees

Optional in the final section are:

- a brightness estimate for the object
- information on the optical behaviour (dropdown box choice)

When you next click the "Create IOD line" button, it creates an IOD formatted
text line in the output box.

If you want, you can now add new data into the data entry boxes, press the
button again, and a new IOD line will be added below the earlier line.


With the TAB key you can cycle through the most important data entry fields.
Clear-buttons allow to quickly clear sets of input fields (but strictly
speaking, you do not have to clear the fields first before entering new data).

The button "Clear last line" allows to clear the last added line in the output
textbox (for example when you note you made a typo while keying in the data).
The button "Clear output" clears the whole output textbox from data.


The program has two distinct saving options: "Save", and "Add to archive".

"Save" (accessible through the appropriate button, or the Ctrl-S combination, or
the File menu) opens a dialogue window where you can save the IOD content of the
output textbox to a .txt file, choosing your own file name and file directory.

"Add to archive" (accessible through the appropriate button, or the Ctrl-A
combination, or the File menu) appends the IOD content of the output textbox to
an archive file called "archivefile.txt", which will be created in the same
directory as the program executable.

This archive file is incremental: content already in it from previous sessions
is not overwritten: the new data are added at the end of the already existing
file. Over time, use of this function thus creates a growing archive of data.

It is also possible to select output lines in the output textbox with the mouse
for direct copying and pasting into text or wordprocessor documents or e-mail.


If you are like me and prone to stupid mistakes when tired after a long
observing or reduction session, you might occasionally goof up by for example
clicking the "Close" button when you meant to click the "Save" button. Gone is
the long list of data you just typed in!

But no worries. In case this happens, all your data are not lost (!). Go to the
directory in which the program executable is located, and you will find a file
called "lastdata.log".

This is a text file that contains the content of the output textbox as it was
before you closed the program. As long as you do not start and close the program
again, this "lastdata.log" file allows you to retrieve the data from your last
session. You can open the file in e.g. Notepad and retrieve the data in it this way.

A similar saveguard is in place for when you accidentally click the "Clear
output" or "Clear last line" buttons. The "Restore output" button then restores
the deleted data to the output textbox (provided you did not create another new
data line).


Tab     -  cycles through the input fields for Object, Date and Time, and

Ctrl-H  -  opens the instructions to the program

Ctrl-R  -  restores previously cleared data to the output box

Ctrl-A  -  adds the output data to the archive file

Ctrl-S  -  opens the Save File dialogue

Ctrl-E  -  exits and closes the program

Dr Marco Langbroek  -  SatTrackCam Leiden, the Netherlands.

Cospar 4353 (Leiden):     52.15412 N, 4.49081 E (WGS84), +0 m ASL
Cospar 4355 (Cronesteyn): 52.13878 N, 4.49937 E (WGS84), -2 m ASL
Station (b)log:
Twitter: _at_Marco_Langbroek
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Received on Thu Nov 02 2017 - 07:33:27 UTC

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