The unified GuideCam Tool

What is the unified GuideCam tool?

The unified GUideCam Tool (GUCT) is a Java-based observation preparation tool currently offered for VISIR, HAWK-I, and MUSE. The tool makes use of the Aladin desktop application (v9.0) and allows the user to visualize the instrument Field-of-View on a sky image, define the central pointing of the telescope, plan observations that involve a sequence of telescope offsets, select telescope guide stars, tip-tilt stars and/or AO guide stars, and create ESO compliant finding charts. Furthermore, GUCT v2.3.1 can directly interact with the web-based application p2 in order to attach finding charts or to propagate template parameters, such as guide star coordinates and/or observing offsets to the OB.

NEWS for P104: ESO has begun migrating the GuideCam desktop application to the web-based p2 tool. At this moment many (but not all) GUCT functionalities for VISIR, HAWK-I noAO, and MUSE noAO are already available in p2 (under the tab ObsPrep). However, observation preparation for all AO modes of HAWK-I and MUSE are not yet implemented in the ObsPrep functionality of p2. Users preparing MUSE AO or HAWK-I AO observations should continue to use GUCT for detailed observation planning. 

IMPORTANT note for VISIR users: GUCT replaced the VISIR-specific GuideCam tool.

Supported Platforms

The unified Guidecam Tool is platform independent and works on macOS and Linux operating systems. But, it has not been tested under Windows, and compatibility tests under Windows are also not foreseen.

Latest release

The current version of the unified GuideCam tool is v2.3.1 released on 20 December 2018. The current version supports the instruments VISIR, HAWK-I and MUSE. With respect to the previous version (v.2.2.2) this release includes the support of HAWK-I Fast Phot and MUSE narrow-field mode (NFM) observation preparation, as well as some general improvements and bug fixes. It only interacts with the web-based application p2. All P104 users (and P103 DDT users) should use the latest release (v.2.3.x). 


Guidecam Installation

To install the unified GuideCam tool, you can either use the ESO Mac & Linux software repositories, or you can retrieve the tarball and install it via the instructions provided below.

ESO Mac & Linux software repositories

GuideCam requires Java (version 1.8, note GuideCam is currenty not compatile with Java > 8). Java is automatically pulled in for installation as needed for installation via any of the Linux software repositories, but for installation on macOS please make sure that the Java executable can be found by the system (try the command "java -version" from the command line), or alternatively define the environment variable JAVA_HOME to point to the installation directory of Java, e.g. with a command such as:

export JAVA_HOME=/home/someuser/jre

Otherwise an appropriate JDK should be installed from Oracle, or similar.

To install the relevant repository, please follow the relevant instructions at ESO Mac & Linux software repositories. In the final instruction for each OS/distribution replace the generic <package_name> with eso-guidecamtool. i.e. one of the following, as appropriate for your OS/distribution (see below for temporary MacPorts instructions):

sudo dnf install eso-guidecamtool
sudo yum install eso-guidecamtool
sudo apt-get install eso-guidecamtool

Once installed simply issue the command GuideCamTool to run the software.

Temporary MacPorts instructions

Currently, a technical issue prevents ESO from creating new MacPorts packages via its standard infrastructure. In the meantime, please follow the instruction below to install/upgarde to the latest version of the GuideCam Tool in MacPorts:

bash
cd /tmp
curl -O ftp://ftp.eso.org/pub/usg/guidecam/Portfile/2.3.1/Portfile
sudo port install

 

Installation from tarball

GuideCam requires Java (version 1.8, note GuideCam is currenty not compatile with Java > 8). Please make sure that the Java executable can be found by the system (try the command "java -version" from the command line), or alternatively define the environment variable JAVA_HOME to point to the installation directory of Java, e.g. with a command such as:

export JAVA_HOME=/home/someuser/jre

Otherwise an appropriate JDK should be installed via your package management system or from Oracle, or similar.

Once Java is installed, please follow these steps:

  • Move to the directory where you want to install GUCT.
  • Download the following tarball to the chosen directory:
  • Unpack the tarball gunzip -c GuideCamTool[Version].tar.gz | tar xvf -

    This creates a directory structure that starts with:

    GuideCamTool[Version]/
  • Move to the GUCT directory:  cd GuideCamTool[Version]
  • STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: if you had previously GUCT version 1.x installed on your computer, first remove the default configuration file from your home directory: rm $HOME/.GuideCamTool/preferences/default.json
  • Start-up the software ./bin/GuideCamTool

    If the GUCT control panel and the Aladin sky view panel appear, you have successfully installed GUCT. You can delete the compressed TAR file.


Unified Guidecam tool Users' Manual

 

  • The Unified Guidecam tool (GUCT) Users Manual is available for download (PDF file)

 


 

HAWK-I specific comments on the unified GuideCam tool

The use of GUCT is highly recommended for HAWK-I observation preparations. It efficiently supports the planning of observations, in particular when offsets will be used. GUCT also allows to prepare ESO compliant finding charts and has a direct interface to p2 to attach the created finding charts, as well as to transfer acquisition parameters and science observing offsets which are specified during a GUCT session.

 

Instrument selector