This library, written in Java, supports input and output of images and metadata (labels) in the VICAR, PDS image, and ISIS-2 and ISIS-3 file formats. Three levels of access exist.

The first level comprises the low-level, direct access to the file. This allows an application to read and write specific image tiles, lines, or pixels and to manipulate the label data directly. This layer is analogous to the C-language “VICAR Run-Time Library” (RTL), which is the image I/O library for the (C/C++/Fortran) VICAR image processing system from JPL MIPL (Multi-mission Image Processing Lab). This low-level library can also be used to read and write labeled, uncompressed images stored in formats similar to VICAR, such as ISIS-2 and -3, and a subset of PDS (image format).

The second level of access involves two codecs based on Java Advanced Imaging (JAI) to provide access to VICAR and PDS images in a file-format-independent manner. JAI is supplied by Sun Microsystems as an extension to desktop Java, and has a number of codecs for formats such as GIF, TIFF, JPEG, etc. Although Sun has deprecated the codec mechanism (replaced by IIO), it is still used in many places. The VICAR and PDS codecs allow any program written using the JAI codec spec to use VICAR or PDS images automatically, with no specific knowledge of the VICAR or PDS formats. Support for metadata (labels) is included, but is format-dependent. The PDS codec, when processing PDS images with an embedded VIAR label (“dual-labeled images,” such as used for MER), presents the VICAR label in a new way that is compatible with the VICAR codec.

The third level of access involves VICAR, PDS, and ISIS Image I/O plug-ins. The Java core includes an “Image I/O” (IIO) package that is similar in concept to the JAI codec, but is newer and more capable. Applications written to the IIO specification can use any image format for which a plug-in exists, with no specific knowledge of the format itself.

This work was done by Robert G. Deen and Steven R. Levoe of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This software is available for commercial licensing.

Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to NPO-47184.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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