Linux Journal: Gri: A Language for Scientific Illustration
Jul 01, 2000, 19:09 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter S. Galbraith, Dan E. Kelley)
Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
"For quick jobs, it's lovely to use a GUI-based graphing package
or a spreadsheet. However, many users prefer a markup-based
system for complicated illustrations, for the same reasons they
prefer a markup-based system for complicated text. An additional
factor is that GUI-based systems cannot help with illustrations
that must be generated automatically without human
"An interesting example is provided by storm-surge forecasts
prepared by oceanographers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia,
Canada. Storm surges are unusual elevations in sea level that are
driven by anomalous wind stresses and low atmospheric pressures
associated with storms. ... Dalhousie researchers have developed
numerical ocean models, akin to numerical weather models, for
predicting the incidence of storm surges in the northwest Atlantic
Ocean. The goal is to provide advance-warning systems that display
surge forecasts graphically on the Web. Gri is used for the
graphics in this system, because it can be run without human
intervention. It is so flexible, researchers can tailor the
illustrations to be quickly understood by non-technical users."
"One feature scientists like about Gri is that it provides fine
control over nearly all aspects of the appearance of the output.
This is relevant because scientists have diverse needs, ranging
from complicated working plots to pared-down and elegant diagrams
for use in proposals, conference presentations and publications.
Many Gri users report it is flexible enough to satisfy the full
range of applications, removing the need to learn one tool for
working plots and another for ``publication-quality''