Tools and Tips

The Survey Area Definition Tool - SADT

To support the definition of large survey areas and efficient execution of survey observations VISTA consortium developed the tool that defines the survey geometry and selects suitable guide stars and wave front sensor stars. The SADT output must be imported in the P2PP version 3 tool for the preparation of the surveys' OBs. The tool and its documentation (cookbook and video tutorial) are available from:

The VISTA/VIRCAM Exposure Time Calculator

Generic Tools and information

  • As of P101 all Service Mode OBs for VIRCAM have to be prepared using the p2 (web) tool

First Steps and Tips at Phase 2:

All informations about the instrument and the steps toward the preparations of surveys are available from the user manuals andthe WEB-based phase 2 service mode instructions. Here a briefsummary of the first steps for first time users of the phase 2tools:

  • Before starting the preparation one should quickly look through thedocumentation to have a rough idea on the observation strategies liketiling, pawprints, jitter patterns, on the acquisition and observationtemplates and at VISTA about scheduling containers like groups,concatenations and time links.
  • If not already clear one would as well look into the exposure timecalculator to review the DIT, NDIT settings.
  • In case of wide field surveys the next step would be to tile thesurvey areas with sadt and export the surveys in xml format. Since sadtwould share configuration files with p2pp-3, it will be required toinstall p2pp-3 first, and then sadt.
  • Next, to create a template OB with the correct (close to final) parameter settings. Some parameters have to be consistent with the past settings in sadt.In case of wide field surveys, one would finally import the xml-file withthe survey definition as created by sadt.
  • The resulting, typically large number of OBs should be then copied into groups and other scheduling containers and thenassigned priorities (unless the order of the OB execution is not ofimportance for the project).
  • Before the final step, the submission of the phase 2 package, it would be in general recommended to review the documentation again and to check the phase 2 package for inconsistencies.