Information system

As part of the observing system a more general information and data logging system has been developed and implemented. This was started by the need to develop a new system for NOTCam (see below) but has been expanded to all instruments run through the observing system.

The system information (Talker) and data logging (Obslog) system where separate programs running as part of the observing system for each instrument. This introduced (sometimes quite significant) overheads during data readout and saving, especially for NOTCam. Also, they were taking a significant amount of space on the screen. This two different programs have now been combined in to one (called InfoSys) which runs on a dedicated computer with all the information displayed on a separate screen, with the possibility to switch between the data logs for different instrument and filter the system information for each specific observing system. The relevant documentation about the system and its use has been updated.

Some non-critical features of the old system are not present yet in the new system, but they will be implemented in the near future. Also, a web interface will be added to be able to read the information from any other computer (mainly intended as a tool in case of trouble shooting).

As part of the discussions related to setting up the new information system a recurring issue is that of the mix of information that is presented for the observing system which includes both information about the working of the observing system, but also more observing specific information such as the results from post-processing of the data, e.g., the seeing of the imaging data, the telescope focus offset that was (automatically) calculated, a telescope offset was done to put a star on a specific slit or fiber, etc. In the current situation this kind of information partly appears in the sequencer window where a specific command is given and partly in the InfoSys described above. In neither case is it easy to extra the relevant information, nor is it easy to find back earlier data (did I put the star on the correct fiber, what was the seeing in that image, etc).

In general there are two issues to define. What are the specific values that are of interest to the observer (e.g., in the case slitoffset is run), and in what way is this presented specifically to make it easier to view the data and extract the values of interest. One idea is having a separate information display that acts as an output display for observing related information and is separate from the observing system information on the InfoSys display.

Thomas Augusteijn 2012-02-21