How to provide my data in Aladin
P.Fernique - June 27th, 2008 - edition 2

This manual describes what you have to do to see your data in Aladin.

Table of contents


1  What kind of data do you have ?

Aladin can deal with a large range of astronomical data. There are several possibilities to provide access to the data in Aladin depending of the nature of your data (images, tables, instrument fields of view, pointed observations, structured results...), and depending of the capability of your data server.

2  You have an http server and you want to provide your data yourself

  1. HTTP: Your data has to be available behind a HTTP server, accessible via a simple GET method. The number and the nature of the parameters do not matter. It could be a Cone Search URL or an ASU compliant URL or any other kind of URL. ftp url is also supported.

  2. Target param: If you have a large database, your server should be able to respond to a query with a target position and a radius. Aladin can deal with other parameters (such a plate number...) but it is not very nice for the users.

  3. Images in FITS or JPEG: Aladin is supporting FITS, JPEG, PNG and GIF images. FITS Extensions and FITS cubes are also supported by Aladin. You can have FITS Extensions mixing images and tables. If the image does not have WCS keywords in the FITS header or in the JPEG comment segment, the image will be displayed and its astrometrical registration will need to be done by the user.

  4. Catalogs VOTable, FITS, TSV: Aladin supports most of astronomical table formats. The best way for manipulating catalogs in Aladin is the VOTable ( Notice that Aladin is recognizing the links (urls) attached to your data - very useful for providing to your user a way for loading original records, ancillary images.... (see VOTable appendices on LINK attribute)

  5. SIA : For images only, your server can provide an intermediate result such a SIA XML flat description of the images (IVOA These features provide a very flexible approach as you can help the user to choose the correct data among a set of items.

  6. Spectrum and SSA: Aladin is not really dedicated for spectra. However, it is recognizing a SSA result (IVOA For opening a spectra, Aladin will use another application via SAMP/PLASTIC (Splat, VOSpec....)

  7. FoV: Aladin is recognizing instrument Field of View descriptions provided in XML standard and following an emerging standard developed in the IVOA framework ( It means that you can use Aladin for helping mission preparation... see

  8. Gzip: Your data/images can be gzipped or hcompressed (for images). Aladin recognizes automatically these compression methods. The old Unix .Z format (compress command) is not supported.

  9. Restricted access: Your server can have a restricted policy based on a HTTP security mechanism. In this case, Aladin will pop up a login/password window when necessary.

3  ...or you want to let the CDS distribute your data

  1. Discuss this possibility with CDS

  2. Deposit your catalogs, tables in VizieR catalog service

  3. Deposit your images, or the meta-data of your images (FITS headers only) in Aladin image server.


4  You want to provide your data through the Aladin applet

5  ... and you want to install the Aladin applet on your own http site

The Aladin applet can be launched from several sites but you can decide to install it on your own http server. You have just to copy two files. Here the instructions :

6  You want to load your data in Aladin standalone

  1. By file or URL: Use the "File" button in Aladin to load your images, tables or SIA/SSA metadata files (via pathname or URL). You can also load your files from the Aladin command line.

  2. By script: You can control Aladin via the standard input by Aladin script commands. See the following address: . The Aladin script command to load local or remote data is :
       get File(filename)
       get File(URL)

  3. By SAMP/PLASTIC: Aladin is SAMP compatible (previously called PLASTIC - see the IVOA documentation It means that you can exchange data from your application (not necessary written in Java) to Aladin, and receive data from Aladin into your application. See the following address:

  4. By Java interface: You can control Aladin via a standard Java interface called VOApp. The VOApp interface is described at : . To send a VOTable from your java application to Aladin, you can write :
       public class YourTool implements VOApp {
          // Instanciate Aladin VOApp
          aladin = cds.aladin.Aladin.launch();
          // Ask Aladin to load a VOTable file
          InputStream in = (InputStream)(new FileInputStream("VOtablefile.xml"));

7  You would like to see your own server Aladin button

Aladin automatically creates new server forms according to a distributed registry called GLU. In order to see you own server button alongside Simbad, VizieR, SkyView buttons you have to create your own GLU entry describing your server. GLU records are described at : . See the example below. You can then save your GLU record into a small file and restart Aladin with the -glufile="YourFile" parameter. You can also start Aladin in applet mode with the first script command "-script=get File(http://the.url.for.loadin/YourFile)". You may also consider publishing your GLU record to all Aladin users: contact CDS (

      %ActionName 		Foo 
      %Description		My own server definition 
      %Aladin.Label		MyServer 
      %Aladin.Menu		Others... 
      %Aladin.LabelPlane 	MyServer $1/$2 
      %DistribDomain		ALADIN 
      %Url  		http://xxxx/yyy?ra=$1&dec=$2&radius=$3&color=$4... 
      %Param.Description 	$1=Right Ascension 
      %Param.Description 	$2=Declination 
      %Param.Description 	$3=Radius 
      %Param.Description 	$4=Color 
      %Param.DataType		$1=Target(RA) 
      %Param.DataType		$2=Target(DE) 
      %Param.DataType		$2=Field(RADIUS) 
      %Param.Value		$3=14.1 arcmin 
      %Param.Value		$4=Red 
      %Param.Value		$4=Blue 
      %Param.Value		$4=Infrared 
      %ResultDataType		Mime(image/fits)

8  No java ! You just want to generate a simple Web clickable map

Aladin can easily produce clickable maps for your own data. Click here to see a working example. Look at this address for instructions :

9  You would like to see your mission log in VizieR list

In Aladin, the mission logs are considered as catalogs, but each log entry can have buttons to access images. Contact François Ochsenbein at CDS ( to know how Vizier can ingest your observation log.

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