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Practical IDL Programming by Liam E. Gumley

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4 Input and Output

A common scenario in the real world goes something like this: You’ve acquired a set of data, either from measurement or simulation. The data set exists in a file on disk in a format that is specific to the sensor or environment that generated the data. Your task is to read the data into IDL in order to analyze and/or visualize it. The data set could be as simple as a text file containing two columns of numbers, or as complex as a satellite image containing millions of measurements and dozens of items of information that describe the data (known as metadata). You also may want to read or write industry-standard data formats (e.g., TIFF, DICOM) or self-describing platform-independent formats such as netCDF or HDF.

Fortunately, ...

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