Linux News Today: NASA Just Released the Massive VICAR Collection of Apps as Open Source
NASA has released its VICAR Core set of applications as open source and it looks like the agency is opening its tools toward the international community.
NASA started to develop VICAR Video Image Communication And Retrieval back in 1966 and it was original built to digitally process multi-dimensional imaging data. It was used to transport images and data from missions like the old Voyage or the newer Cassini–Huygens. To say that it’s a powerful set of tools is actually an understatement since they have been in development for almost half a decade.
NASA has been moving towards open source for some time now and this is not the first set of tools that’s been made available. The VICAR Core collection has about 350 application programs, so this is actually a massive release. It’s not aimed at regular users and people should not expect anything else than the regular source packages. There are a ton of dependencies and compiling the applications will be a hassle.
What exactly is VICAR?
“VICAR, which stands for Video Image Communication And Retrieval, is a general purpose image processing software system that has been developed since 1966 to digitally process multi-dimensional imaging data. VICAR was developed primarily to process images from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s unmanned planetary spacecraft. It is now used for a variety of other applications including biomedical image processing, cartography, earth resources, astronomy, and geological exploration. It is not only used by JPL but by several universities, NASA sites and other science/research institutions in the United States and Europe,” reads the official JPL website.
VICAR provides command-line parsing (shell) and optional environment (TAE), VICAR-format image I/O library (both C/C++/Fortran and Java versions), file format conversion (VICAR, PDS, ISIS, FITS), xvd image display program, IBIS (Image-Based Information System) for tabular data, and much more.
You can find these tools on GitHub, under a special license, NASA Open Source Agreement 1.3.