[OS X TeX] [Sort-of Off]: Plotting Software

Christian Heine christian at geosci.usyd.edu.au
Tue Mar 7 01:51:30 EST 2006

Hi David,

>> What do folks recommend for plotting/fitting software?  I'm really  
>> liking how "Plot" is shaping up, and I admit I'm weary of ports of  
>> gnuplot and the like, and especially anything with no GUI.  I ask  
>> both for myself, and to use with upper-level undergraduate courses.
I would generally advocate GMT (http://gmt.soest.hawaii.edu), if your  
subject is somehow related to anything "geo". Although the original  
tools are command line, there's iGMT (google for it), a Tcl/TK based  
GUI. It is by far the most powerful and simple way to (batch) create  
plots. Students at my school learn to use in 3rd year undergrad  
(AUS). It's all free and uses just non-proprietary formats, plots are  
spat out in postscript, so it is very easy to integrate with TeX  

> Wiring up a workflow of Unix pipes between sh, GMT, sed, awk and  
> gnuplot takes more of my time than it's worth, and it's no longer  
> satisfying to try and remember or look up arcane commands.
Well, some how a line like this

pscoast -Rg -G125 -V -JW0/20 -A1 -A2 -Cred -N1/green,- -N3/green,. - 
Sblue > worldmap.ps

to create a georeferenced, 20cm wide world map in Mollweide  
projection centered on 0/0 degrees with accurate coastlines, a grid  
and continents coloured in grey, lakes coloured in red, oceans in  
blue and national borders as dashed green lines beats the heck out of  
anything near a GUI.

Plus, learning how to use the command line to plot and manipulate  
lots of data is a very, very useful thing, even in times of Mac OS X  
and lots of eye-candy GUIs around.

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