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The FITSIO subroutine library was first written 2 years ago to provide a simple programmer interface for reading and writing data files in FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) format. The FITSIO library has been continually updated since it was first released, and this talk is intended to describe some of the new features that have been added.
The FITS format (especially the binary table extensions) can be used to store very complex data structures. FITSIO hides the underlying complexity of the FITS files from the programmer and provides a simple to use set of machine-independent subroutine calls for reading or writing the data.
FITSIO is supported on most popular computer systems, including the new DEC ALPHA machine. The FITSIO package is written completely in Fortran, but sets of C and SPP/IRAF wrapper routines are also available for convenience when calling FITSIO from programs written in these languages.
An extensive suite of interface subroutines is provided in FITSIO to perform all required operations on a FITS file. This includes routines to read, append, insert, modify, or delete header keywords, and routines to read or write any subset of data contained in the FITS primary array or a FITS extension (IMAGE, TABLE, and BINTABLE extensions are all supported).
Work is currently in progress to add data compression capabilities to the FITSIO interface. The design goals are to make the compression transparent to the application program that reads the FITS file and to make the compressed FITS files themselves legal FITS files. Some recent experiments in this area will be described.
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