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Man Pages


Manual Reference Pages  -  XEARTH (1)

NAME

xearth - displays a shaded image of the Earth in an X window

CONTENTS

Synopsis
Description
Options
X Resources
OBTAINING THE XEARTH SOURCE DISTRIBUTION
Notes
Copyright
Author

SYNOPSIS

xearth [-proj proj_type ] [-pos pos_spec ] [-rot angle ] [-sunpos sun_pos_spec ] [-mag factor ] [-size size_spec ] [-shift shift_spec ] [-shade|-noshade] [-label|-nolabel] [-labelpos geom ] [-markers|-nomarkers] [-markerfile file ] [-showmarkers] [-stars|-nostars] [-starfreq frequency ] [-bigstars percent ] [-grid|-nogrid] [-grid1 grid1 ] [-grid2 grid2 ] [-day pct ] [-night pct ] [-term pct ] [-gamma gamma_value ] [-wait secs ] [-timewarp timewarp_factor ] [-time fixed_time ] [-onepix|-twopix] [-mono|-nomono] [-ncolors num_colors ] [-font font_name ] [-root|-noroot] [-geometry geom ] [-title title ] [-iconname iconname ] [-name name ] [-fork|-nofork] [-once|-noonce] [-nice priority ] [-gif] [-ppm] [-display dpyname ] [-version]

DESCRIPTION

Xearth sets the X root window to an image of the Earth, as seen from your favorite vantage point in space, correctly shaded for the current position of the Sun. By default, xearth updates the displayed image every five minutes. The time between updates can be changed with the -wait option (see below); updates can be disabled completely by using the -once option (see below).

If desired, Xearth can be configured to create and render into its own top-level X window instead of the root window; see the -root, -noroot, and -geometry options (below). Finally, xearth can also render directly into PPM and GIF files instead of drawing into an X window; see the -ppm and -gif options (below).

This man page documents version 1.1 of xearth.

OPTIONS

Xearth understands the following command line options (corresponding X resources can be found in the following section):

-proj proj_type
  Specify the projection type xearth should use. Supported projection types are mercator, orthographic, and cylindrical; these can either be spelled out in full or abbreviated to merc, orth, or cyl, respectively. Xearth uses an orthographic projection by default.

-pos pos_spec
  Specify the position from which the Earth should be viewed. The pos_spec (position specifier) consists of a keyword, possibly followed by additional arguments. Valid keywords are: fixed, sunrel, orbit, moon, and random. (If you’re having problems getting xearth to accept a position specifier as a command line argument, make sure and read the comments about position specifier delimiters and using explicit quoting in the sixth paragraph following this one.)

The position specifier keyword fixed should be followed by two arguments, interpreted as numerical values indicating the latitude and longitude (expressed in decimal degrees) of a viewing position that is fixed with respect to the Earth’s surface. Positive and negative values of latitude correspond to positions north and south of the equator, respectively. Positive and negative values of longitude correspond to positions east and west of Greenwich, respectively.

The position specifier keyword sunrel should be followed by two arguments, interpreted as numerical values indicating the offsets in latitude and longitude (expressed in decimal degrees) of a viewing position that is fixed with respect to the position of the Sun. Positive and negative values of latitude and longitude are interpreted as for the fixed keyword.

The position specifier keyword orbit should be followed by two arguments, interpreted as numerical values indicating the period (in hours) and orbital inclination (in decimal degrees) of a simple circular orbit; the viewing position follows this orbit. Astute readers will surely note that these parameters are not sufficient to uniquely specify a single circular orbit. This problem is solved by limiting the space of possible orbits to those positioned over 0 degrees latitude, 0 degrees longitude at time zero (the Un*x epoch, see time(3)).

The position specifier keyword moon should not be followed by any arguments. When this keyword is used, the viewing position is the current position of the moon, recalculated at each update.

The position specifier keyword random should not be followed by any arguments. When this keyword is used, the viewing position is selected at random each time an update occurs.

Components of a position specifier are delimited by either whitespace, forward slashes (/), or commas. Note that using whitespace to separate position specifier components when invoking xearth from a shell may require explicit quoting to ensure the entire position specifier is passed as a single argument. For example, if you want to use spaces to delimit components and are using a "typical" shell, you’d need to use something like:

    -pos "fixed 42.33 -71.08"

or

    -pos ’fixed 42.33 -71.08’

to make things work. If you’d rather not have to explicitly quote things, you can use forward slashes or commas instead of spaces to separate components, as shown below.

    -pos fixed,42.33,-71.08
    -pos fixed/42.33/-71.08

If a position specifier is not provided, xearth uses a default position specifier of "sunrel 0 0" (such that the entire day side of the Earth is always visible).

-rot angle
  Specify a rotated viewing position such that the north is not "straight up" in the center of the rendered image. The angle can be specified either as a numeric value or the keyword galactic. When angle is a numeric, it represents the number of degrees by which the image is to be rotated. Positive values of angle rotate the rendered image counterclockwise; negative values rotate the rendered image clockwise. The keyword galactic orients the image so that the galactic north is straight up: the sun is positioned somewhere on the plane passing through the horizontal center of the screen. The default value of angle is 0.

-sunpos sun_pos_spec
  Specify a fixed point on the Earth’s surface where the Sun is always directly overhead. The sun_pos_spec (Sun position specifier) consists of two components, both numerical values; these components are interpreted as the latitude and longitude (in decimal degrees) of the point where the Sun is directly overhead.

The details provided for position specifiers (see above) about the interpretation of positive and negative latitude and longitude values and the characters used to delimit specifier components apply to Sun position specifiers as well.

By default, xearth calculates the actual position of the Sun and updates this position with the progression of time.

-mag factor
  Specify the magnification of the displayed image. When the orthographic projection is in use, the diameter of the rendered Earth image is factor times the shorter of the width and height of the image (see the -size option, below). For the mercator and cylindrical projections, the width of the rendered image is factor times the width of the image (see the -size option, below). The default magnification factor is 1.

-size size_spec
  Specify the size of the image to be rendered. The size_spec (size specifier) consists of two components, both positive integers; these components are interpreted as the width and height (in pixels) of the image.

The details provided for position specifiers (see above) about the characters used to delimit specifier components apply to size specifiers as well.

When rendering into the X root window, these values default to the dimensions of the root window. When producing a PPM or GIF file instead of drawing in the X root window (see the -ppm and -gif options, below), both values default to 512.

When rendering into its own top-level X window, any values specified using this option are ignored; dimensions for the top-level window can be specified using the -geometry option.

-shift shift_spec
  Specify that the center of the rendered Earth image should be shifted by some amount from the center of the image. The shift_spec (shift specifier) consists of two components, both integers; these components are interpreted as the offsets (in pixels) in the X and Y directions.

The details provided for position specifiers (see above) about the characters used to delimit specifier components apply to shift specifiers as well.

By default, the center of the rendered Earth image is aligned with the center of the image.

-shade | -noshade
  Enable/disable shading. When shading is enabled, the surface of the Earth is shaded according to the current position of the Sun (and the values provided for the -day, -night, and -term options, below). When shading is disabled, use flat colors (green and blue) to render land and water. Shading is enabled by default.

-label | -nolabel
  Enable/disable labeling. If labeling is enabled and xearth is rendering into an X window, provide a label that indicates the current date and time and current viewing and sun positions. The position of the label can be controlled using the -labelpos option (see below). Labeling is disabled by default.

-labelpos geom
  Specify where the label should be drawn. If labeling is enabled and xearth is rendering into an X window, geom is interpreted as the "position" part an X-style geometry specification (e.g., {+-}<xoffset>{+-}<yoffset>; positive and negative values of xoffset denote offsets from the left and right edges of the display, respectively; positive and negative values of yoffset denote offsets from the top and bottom edges of the display, respectively) indicating how the label should be positioned. The label position defaults to "-5-5" (i.e., five pixels inside the lower right-hand corner of the display).

-markers | -nomarkers
  Enable/disable markers. If markers are enabled and xearth is rendering into an X window, display small red circles and text labels indicating the location of interesting places on the Earth’s surface. Markers are enabled by default.

-markerfile file
  Specify a file from which user-defined marker data (locations and names) should be read. Each line in the marker data file consists of three required components: the latitude and longitude (expressed in decimal degrees) followed by the text of the label that should be used. Individual components are delimited by either whitespace, forward slashes (/), or commas. Components that need to include delimiter characters (e.g., a multi-word label) should be enclosed in double quotes. For example, a line in a typical marker data file might look something like:

    42.33 -71.08 "Boston, MA"    # USA

Everything between a ‘#’ character and the end of a line, inclusive, is a considered to be a comment. Blank lines and lines containing only comments are allowed.

In addition to the three required components, xearth supports optional following "key=value" components. In this version of xearth, the only supported "key" is "align", which can be used to control where marker labels are drawn in relation to the marker proper. Supported alignment values are "left", "right", "above", and "below"; the default behavior (if no alignment is specified) is "align=right".

The marker data file is reread every time xearth redraws an image into an X window. In this way, the marker positions and labels can be dynamic (e.g., given appropriate data sources, markers could be used to encode hurricane positions, where earthquakes have happened recently, temperatures at fixed locations, or other forms of "real-time" data).

Xearth includes a built-in set of marker data for 76 major locations around the world. The built-in data can be selected by specifying "built-in" for the file argument; this is the default behavior. The built-in set of marker data can be examined either by using the -showmarkers option (see below) or by reading the BUILT-IN file included with the xearth source distribution (see OBTAINING THE XEARTH SOURCE DISTRIBUTION, below).

-showmarkers
  This option indicates that xearth should load the marker data (whether built-in or user-specified), print a copy of it to standard out in a form suitable for use with the -markers option (see above), and then exit.

-stars | -nostars
  Enable/disable stars. If stars are enabled, the black background of "space" is filled with a random pattern of "stars" (individual white pixels). The fraction of background pixels that are turned into stars can be controlled with the -starfreq option (see below). Stars are enabled by default.

-starfreq frequency
  Set the density of the random star pattern (see -stars, above); frequency indicates the fraction of background pixels that should be turned into "stars". The default value of frequency is 0.002.

-bigstars percent
  Set the percentage of double-width stars (see -stars, above); by default, all stars are a single pixel, but this option can be used to create some stars that are composed of two horizontal pixels. This provides a slightly less uniform look to the "night sky".

-grid | -nogrid
  Enable/disable the display of a longitude/latitude grid on the Earth’s surface. The spacing of major grid lines and dots between major grid lines can be controlled with the -grid1 and -grid2 options (see below). Grid display is disabled by default.

-grid1 grid1
  Specify the spacing of major grid lines if grid display (see -grid, above) is enabled; major grid lines are drawn with a 90/grid1 degree spacing. The default value for grid1 is 6, corresponding to 15 degrees between major grid lines.

-grid2 grid2
  Specify the spacing of dots along major grid lines if grid display (see -grid, above) is enabled. Along the equator and lines of longitude, grid dots are drawn with a 90/(grid1 x grid2) degree spacing. The spacing of grid dots along parallels (lines of latitude) other than the equator is adjusted to keep the surface distance between grid dots approximately constant. The default value for grid2 is 15; combined with the default grid1 value of 6, this corresponds to placing grid dots on a one degree spacing.

-day pct Specify the brightness that should be used to shade the day side of the Earth when shading is enabled. Pct should be an integer between 0 and 100, inclusive, where 0 indicates total darkness and 100 indicates total illumination. This value defaults to 100.

-night pct
  Specify the brightness that should be used to shade the night side of the Earth when shading is enabled. Pct should be an integer between 0 and 100, inclusive, where 0 indicates total darkness and 100 indicates total illumination. This value defaults to 5 (if this seems overly dark, you may want to double-check that appropriate gamma correction is being employed; see -gamma, below).

-term pct
  Specify the shading discontinuity at the terminator (day/night line). Pct should be an integer between 0 and 100, inclusive. A value of x indicates that the shading should immediately jump x percent of the difference between day and night shading values (see -day and -night, above) when crossing from the night side to the day side of the terminator. Thus a value of 0 indicates no discontinuity (the original xearth behavior), and a value of 100 yields a maximal discontinuity (such that the entire day side of the earth is shaded with the -day shading value). This value defaults to 1.

-gamma gamma_value
  When xearth is rendering into an X window, adjust the colors xearth uses by a gamma value. Values less than 1.0 yield darker colors; values greater than 1.0 yield brighter colors. The default gamma_value is 1.0, appropriate for use on systems with built-in gamma correction. For systems without built-in gamma correction, appropriate gamma values are often in the 2.3 to 2.6 range.

See the GAMMA-TEST file included with the xearth source distribution for information about a simple test that allows you to directly estimate the gamma of your display system (see OBTAINING THE XEARTH SOURCE DISTRIBUTION, below).

-wait secs
  When rendering into an X window, wait secs seconds between updates. This value defaults to 300 seconds (five minutes).

-timewarp timewarp_factor
  Scale the apparent rate at which time progresses by timewarp_factor. The default value of timewarp_factor is 1.0.

-time fixed_time
  Instead of using the current time to determine the "value" of time-dependent positions (e.g., the position the sun), use a particular fixed_time (expressed in seconds since the Un*x epoch (see time(3)).

-onepix | -twopix
  Specify whether xearth should use one or two pixmaps when rendering into an X window. If only one pixmap is used, partial redraws may be visible at times in the window (when areas of the window are exposed and redrawn during the time xearth is rendering the next image). If two pixmaps are used, xearth uses them to double-buffer changes such that partial redraws are (almost?) never seen. Using only one pixmap has the advantage of using quite a bit less memory in the X server; this can be important in environments where server-side memory is a fairly limited resource. Two pixmaps is the default.

-mono | -nomono
  If rendering into an X window, enable/disable monochrome mode. Monochrome mode is enabled by default on systems with one-bit framebuffers (see the "depth of root window" information provided by xdpyinfo(1)) and disabled by default otherwise.

-ncolors num_colors
  If rendering into an X window or a GIF output file, specify the number of colors that should be used. (If markers are enabled (see -markers, above), the actual number of colors used may be one larger than num_colors.) The default value of num_colors is 64.

When rendering into an X window, the maximum allowable value for num_colors is 1024. In practice, using values of num_colors larger than twice the number of distinct shades of red, green, or blue supported by your hardware is likely to provide little additional benefit, or, in some cases, produce "banding" effects in the image. Thus, on systems that can support 256 distinct shades of red, green, or blue (eight bits per component), the largest practical value of num_colors is around 512. Similarly, on systems that support only five or six bits per component (e.g., many systems with 16-bit displays), the largest practical value of num_colors is probably around 64.

When rendering into a GIF output file, the maximum allowable value for num_colors is 256.

-font font_name
  If rendering into an X window, use font_name for drawing text labels (see -label and -markers, above). By default, xearth uses the "variable" font.

-root | -noroot
  When rendering into an X window, select whether xearth should render into the X root window (-root) or create and render into a top-level X window (-noroot). By default, xearth renders into the X root window.

-geometry geom
  Cause xearth to create and render into a top-level X window with the specified geometry. When this option is used, the -noroot option can be elided. Use of the -root overrides the effect of -geometry. By default (if -noroot is specified by no geometry is provided), xearth uses a geometry of "512x512".

-title title
  When rendering into a top-level X window, this option can be used to specify the window title string that might be displayed by a window manager. By default, xearth uses a title of "xearth".

-iconname iconname
  When rendering into a top-level X window, this option can be used to specify the icon name that might be used by a window manager for the window. By default, xearth uses an icon name of "xearth".

-name name
  When rendering into an X window, this option can be used to specify the application name under which X resources are obtained, rather than the default executable file name. The specified name should not contain "." or "*" characters.

-fork | -nofork
  When rendering into an X window, enable/disable forking. If forking is enabled, xearth forks a child process to handle all rendering calculations and screen updates (in essence, automatically putting itself in the background). Forking is disabled by default.

-once | -noonce
  Disable/enable updates. If updates are enabled and xearth is rendering into an X window, xearth updates the displayed image periodically (the time between updates can be controlled via the -wait option, above). If updates are disabled, xearth only renders an image once and then exits. Updates are enabled by default.

-nice priority
  Run the xearth process with priority priority (see nice(1) and setpriority(2)). By default, xearth runs at the priority of the process that invoked it, usually 0.

-gif Instead of drawing in an X window, write a GIF file (eight-bit color) to standard out.

-ppm Instead of drawing in an X window, write a PPM file (24-bit color) to standard out.

-display dpyname
  Attempt to connect to the X display named dpyname.

-version Print what version of xearth this is.

X RESOURCES

The behavior of xearth can also be controlled using the following X resources:

proj (projection type)
  Specify the projection type xearth should use (see -proj, above).

pos (position specifier)
  Specify the position from which the Earth should be viewed (see -pos, above).

rot (float)
  Specify the viewing rotation (see -rot, above).

sunpos (sun position specifier)
  Specify a fixed point on the Earth’s surface where the Sun is always directly overhead (see -sunpos, above).

mag (float)
  Specify the magnification of the displayed image (see -mag, above).

size (size specifier)
  Specify the size of the image to be rendered (see -size, above).

shift (shift specifier)
  Specify that the center of the rendered Earth image should be shifted by some amount from the center of the image (see -shift, above).

shade (boolean)
  Enable/disable shading (see -shade, above).

label (boolean)
  Enable/disable labeling (see -label, above).

labelpos (geometry)
  Specify where the label should be drawn (see -labelpos, above).

markers (boolean)
  Enable/disable markers (see -markers, above).

markerfile (file name)
  Specify a file from which user-defined marker data (locations and names) should be read (see -markerfile, above).

stars (boolean)
  Enable/disable stars (see -stars, above).

starfreq (float)
  Set the density of the random star pattern (see -starfreq, above).

bigstars (int)
  Set the percentage of stars that are double width (see -bigstars, above).

grid (boolean)
  Enable/disable the display of a longitude/latitude grid on the Earth’s surface (see -grid, above).

grid1 (integer)
  Specify the spacing of major grid lines if grid display is enabled (see -grid1, above).

grid2 (integer)
  Specify the spacing of dots along major grid lines if grid display is enabled (see -grid2, above).

day (integer)
  Specify the brightness that should be used to shade the day side of the Earth when shading is enabled (see -day, above).

night (integer)
  Specify the brightness that should be used to shade the night side of the Earth when shading is enabled (see -night, above).

term (integer)
  Specify the shading discontinuity at the terminator (see -term, above).

gamma (float)
  Specify the gamma correction xearth should use when selecting colors (see -gamma, above).

wait (integer)
  Specify the delay between updates when rendering into an X window (see -wait, above).

timewarp (float)
  Specify the apparent rate at which time progresses (see -timewarp, above).

time (integer)
  Specify a particular fixed time that should be used to determine the "value" of time-dependent positions (see -time, above).

twopix (boolean)
  Specify whether xearth should use one or two pixmaps when rendering into an X window (see -onepix and -twopix, above).

mono (boolean)
  Specify whether xearth should use monochrome mode when rendering into an X window (see -mono and -nomono, above).

ncolors (integer)
  Specify the number of colors xearth should use (see -ncolors, above). The ncolors resource is only used when rendering into an X window -- the number of colors to use when rendering into a GIF file can only be specified using the -ncolors command line option.

font (font name)
  Use the named font for drawing text labels (see -font, above).

root (boolean)
  Specify whether xearth should render into the X root window or a top-level X window (see -root, -noroot, and -geometry, above).

geometry (geometry)
  Specify the geometry of a top-level X window that xearth should create and render into (see -geometry, above).

title (string)
  When rendering into a top-level X window, specify the window title that xearth should use (see -title, above).

iconname (string)
  When rendering into a top-level X window, specify the icon name that xearth should use (see -iconname, above).

fork (boolean)
  When rendering into an X window, enable/disable the automatic forking of a child process to handle the updates (see -fork, above).

once (boolean)
  When rendering into an X window, disable/enable updates for the displayed image (see -once, above).

nice (integer)
  Specify the priority at which the xearth process should be run (see -nice, above).

OBTAINING THE XEARTH SOURCE DISTRIBUTION

The latest-and-greatest version of xearth should always be available via a link from the xearth WWW home page (URL http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~tuna/xearth/index.html), or, for the web-deprived, via anonymous ftp from cag.lcs.mit.edu in /pub/tuna.

NOTES

Thanks to Frank Solensky for the "-pos moon" and "-rot galactic" stuff.

The map information used in xearth was derived from the "CIA World Data Bank II map database," as taken from some "cbd" files that were apparently originally generated by Brian Reid at DEC WRL.

The Graphics Interchange Format(c) is the Copyright property of CompuServe Incorporated. GIF(sm) is a Service Mark property of CompuServe Incorporated.

Thanks to Robert Berger for allowing me to include his nifty gamma measurement image and associated text in the xearth source distribution.

Thanks to Jamie Zawinski for suggesting that I look at his xscreensaver package for a good example of how to use the resource and command line option parts of Xt; his code saved me piles of lossage.

Thanks to Chris Metcalf for the -bigstars stuff, a pile of general source code cleaning, and spell checking everything carefully.

Thanks to Chris Hayward, Chris Metcalf, Sherman Mui, Dan Rich, and Leonard Zubkoff for giving the pre-release of version 1.0 a test drive.

Kudos to Jef Poskanzer for his excellent PBMPLUS toolkit.

Finally, thanks to everybody that sent encouragement, suggestions, and patches. Apologies to the many people whose good ideas didn’t make it into this release.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright (C) 1989, 1990, 1993-1995, 1999 by Kirk Lauritz Johnson

Portions of the xearth source code, as marked, are:

  Copyright (C) 1989, 1990, 1991 by Jim Frost
  Copyright (C) 1992 by Jamie Zawinski <jwz@lucid.com>

Permission to use, copy, modify and freely distribute xearth for non-commercial and not-for-profit purposes is hereby granted without fee, provided that both the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies and in supporting documentation.

Unisys Corporation holds worldwide patent rights on the Lempel Zev Welch (LZW) compression technique employed in the CompuServe GIF image file format as well as in other formats. Unisys has made it clear, however, that it does not require licensing or fees to be paid for freely distributed, non-commercial applications (such as xearth) that employ LZW/GIF technology. Those wishing further information about licensing the LZW patent should contact Unisys directly at (lzw_info@unisys.com) or by writing to

  Unisys Corporation
  Welch Licensing Department
  M/S-C1SW19
  P.O. Box 500
  Blue Bell, PA 19424

The author makes no representations about the suitability of this software for any purpose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.

THE AUTHOR DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO THIS SOFTWARE, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS, IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.

AUTHOR

  Kirk Johnson <tuna@indra.com>

Patches, bug reports, and suggestions are welcome, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll get around to doing anything about them in a timely fashion.

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KLJ XEARTH (1) November 1999

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