[OS X TeX] [Sort-of Off]: Plotting Software
Adam R. Maxwell
amaxwell at mac.com
Tue Mar 7 10:11:47 EST 2006
On Mar 6, 2006, at 22:51, Christian Heine wrote:
> 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 documents.
Powerful, yes...but I wouldn't call it simple.
>> 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.
Sure, GMT is the way to go for making maps, and it does a great job;
I use mapproject all the time. However, if you're dealing with
gigabytes of model output that you want to visualize, say by
animating an isosurface over time in 3D, GMT won't quite fit :).
> 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.
I can do a lot of 2D stuff with GMT, but my personal problem with
command-line tools (GMT, gnuplot, Matlab) is that I want a quick look
at my data, and I want to quickly be able to modify that look. I can
get the end results with command-line driven tools, but switching
perspectives or dataset types takes too much time.
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