Planetary Data System Utilities

Download (.tar.gz)0.1 / 2004-08-15
Download (.zip)0.1 / 2004-08-15
JavadocsPDS Utilities Javadocs
LicenseBSD License
AuthorRupert Scammell


Excerpted from

"The PDS archives and distributes scientific data from NASA planetary missions, astronomical observations, and laboratory measurements. The PDS is sponsored by NASA's Office of Space Science. Its purpose is to ensure the long-term usability of NASA data and to stimulate advanced research."

This software is neither endorsed nor supported by NASA, JPL, its research affiliates, or the United States Government.

About the PDS Utilties

This sofware is intended to make handling and parsing PDS data files generated by the 2003-2004 Mars Exploration Rovers Mission an easier task. PDS data files have long filenames such as 1P136346286ETH1600P2550L7M1.IMG , which provide a great deal of coded information about the data contained within the file, but the filenames are annoying and tedious to decode on a manual basis -- especially when several hundred data files are involved.

The PDS Utilities simplify the task of understanding this metadata, by providing tools for translating the values within the filename into useful, human readable information.

How to use the software

The PDS Utilities software is coded in the Java language, and provides an API for parsing PDS filenames, as well as a command-line utility that, when given a PDS filename, will interpret the filename, and print out a text summary of the information within the filename.

Javadocs for the API are located within the doc/ directory, within the pdsutils-0.1.tar.gz archive. An online version of the Javadocs is also available.

To use the command line utility under UNIX-type systems, run the shell script in the following way, where $pdsfilename is substituted for the name of the PDS file to interpret (see "About the PDS Utilities" above, for an example.

./ $pdsfilename

To use the command line utility under DOS-type systems, a batch file, getinfo.bat, is provided. To run the utility, type the following command, substituting %pdsfile% for the name of the PDS file to analyze:

getinfo %pdsfilename%

NOTE: For both DOS and UNIX-type systems, you must have the path to the java executable in your PATH. If you don't have the Java JRE, it can be downloaded from

Here's an example of typical output from getinfo:

PDS Label Information for file 1P136346286ETH1600P2550L7M1.IMG
Translated information
Spacecraft: Spirit (MER-A)
Instrument: Pancam
Start Spacecraft Clock: 136346286
Product Type: Thumbnail EDR
Site: 16
Site Position: 00
Sequence Type: PMA & Remote Sensing instruments
Sequence operation: Pancam sequence
Camera eye: Left
Filter (wavelength/bandpass) nm @ -10C: L7 (432/32-short pass)
Creator: MIPL (OPGS) at JPL
Version: 1
Product type: PDS labeled camera image EDR/RDR
Raw PDS Label information
Spacecraft: 1
Instrument: P
Start Spacecraft Clock: 136346286
Product Type: ETH
Site: 16
Site Position: 00
Sequence Type: P
Sequence operation: 2550
Camera eye: L
Filter (wavelength/bandpass) nm @ -10C: 7
Creator: M
Version: 1
Product type: IMG

Last updated 2004-8-15 18:05 PDT by Rupert Scammell

Mars panorama used in the title of this page is from NASA/JPL/Cornell, with colorization by Daniel Crotty.