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TOPCAT Visualisation over the Web

by   Mark Taylor, et al.

The desktop GUI catalogue analysis tool TOPCAT, and its command-line counterpart STILTS, offer among other capabilities visual exploration of locally stored tables containing millions of rows or more. They offer many variations on the theme of scatter plots, density maps and histograms, which can be navigated interactively. These capabilities have now been extended to a client-server model, so that a plot server can be run close to the data storage, and remote lightweight HTML/JavaScript clients can configure and interact with plots based on that data. The interaction can include pan/zoom/rotate navigation, identifying individual points, and potentially subset selection. Since only the pixels and not the row data are transmitted to the client, this enables flexible remote visual exploration of large tables at relatively low bandwidth. The web client can request any of the plot options available from TOPCAT/STILTS. Possible applications include web-based visualisations of static datasets too large to transmit, visual previews of archive search results, service-configured arrays of plots for complex datasets, and embedding visualisations of local or remote tables into Jupyter notebooks.


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