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Archive for May, 2011

After thoroughly analyzing the goals of my projects during community bonding period, I have came up with a few ideas about implementation of finder charts and logger forms. Here I share them with you, kindly requesting any comments, constructive criticism in particular 🙂

Tighter integration of finder charts with logger forms

When I browsed through different finder charts almost every one of them contained simple logger form, containing at least fields for data such as observer name, date and time, observation site and telescope/eyepiece models. The example of such finder chart can be found here.

To my mind, combining finder charts with logger forms seems to be good choice, and leads to my next idea which is to…

Provide access to printing via convenient wizard

Currently KStars enable users to print rendered sky images by File->Print menu (the printouts are unfortunately broken, at least for me). I intend to leave this menu for printing simple rendered sky images with legends, but full access to added functionality will be by “Finder chart&logger form wizard” action in context menu. There will also be an option to invoke wizard for multiple sky objects, thus enabling print of multiple finder charts and logger forms with same settings but different objects.

Options set in wizard will be quite basic – the position, orientation and color scheme (defined in KStars Options window) for legend, Field-Of-View configuration etc. Less frequently used configuration options will be available by using Options window of KStars.

Should multiple fields-of-view be placed on single image or separately?

I have considered a few options of placing multiple FOVs on finder chart. Two most convenient are:

  • Place each field-of-view representation on separate image – this has the obvious advantage of being really clear and also easier to implement; such option is used in finder charts available here.
  • Begin with “unarmed eye” FOV representation, then paint another FOVs on it, as here. These are harder to implement, a bit less readable, but look way cooler 🙂

I will implement both of them, so everyone will have a chance to pick more convenient option.

Handling large paper sizes

Lastly, for great user experience and functionality, there should be good support of printing on large paper sizes (>A4). Resizing content to fit the page is in this case not the best option. I’ve got a few ideas of how to make a good use of available space, but I need to work on them a little bit more. I’ll keep you informed about progress on this matter. Comments and requests on this feature are highly encouraged 🙂

Besides, I am finishing the first part of work on finder chart legends – expect first screens in a few days.

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So, after almost a month of researching KStars code-base and writing simple mock-ups, it’s time to begin actual coding. The aim of my project is to provide full printing support for KStars, including finder charts and observation logger forms. As logger forms will use some of the code developed for finder charts, it’s an obvious decision to implement finder charts first.

Finder charts, as the name suggest, are helpful for finding sky objects, particularly stars – mainly because they contain images of sky centered at the point of interest with different zoom levels, enabling you to quickly find the object you are looking for and begin the observation. Apart from multiple fields-of-view, finder charts should contain legend with star magnitudes and of course scale of the chart. There will also be an option to add customized annotations to the objects presented on the finder chart.

The first task on my checklist is the implementation of customizable legends for finder charts – I will keep you updated with results, with some working finder chart examples in a few weeks.

Good luck for everybody working on their GSoC and SoK projects!

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