Funtools: FITS Users Need Tools

Funtools, is a "minimal buy-in" FITS library and utility package developed at the the High Energy Astrophysics Division of SAO. The Funtools library provides simplified access to a wide array of file types: standard astronomical FITS images and binary tables, raw arrays and binary event lists, and even tables of ASCII column data. A sophisticated region filtering library (compatible with ds9) filters images and tables using boolean operations between geometric shapes, support world coordinates, etc. Funtools also supports advanced capabilities such as optimized data searching using index files.

The main goal of the Funtools project has been to develop a minimal buy-in FITS library for researchers who are occasional (but serious) coders. In this case, "minimal buy-in" means "easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to re-learn next month". We have tried to achieve this goal by emphasizing two essential capabilities. The first is the ability to develop FITS programs without knowing much about FITS, i.e., without having to deal with the arcane rules for generating a properly formatted FITS file. The second is to support the use of already-familiar C/Unix facilities, especially C structs and Unix stdio. Taken together, these two capabilities should allow researchers to leverage their existing programming expertise while minimizing the need to learn new and complex coding rules.

Because Funtools consists of a library and a set of user programs, it is most appropriately built from source. Funtools has been ported to Solaris, Linux, LinuxPPC, SGI, Alpha OSF1, Mac OSX (darwin) and Windows 98/NT/2000/XP. Once the source code tar file is retrieved, Funtools can be built and installed easily using standard commands:

  ./configure --prefix=[installdir] 	# configuration
  make					# build the software
  make install				# install in [installdir]

Latest Release

The latest release is Funtools 1.4.4 (21 April 2009). New features in this release include:

See the
ChangeLog for a list of changes in this and previous releases.

Download

The source code tar files for all platforms are available here.
For HTTP-based retrieval use:

Documentation