ISIS 2 Documentation

Isis ISIS Installation Guide


Last Updated July 14, 2006 
  1. Introduction
  2. System Requirements
  3. Obtaining The ISIS System
  4. Preparation For Installing ISIS
  5. Using RSYNC to Install ISIS
  6. IDL Display Setup
  7. ISIS Documentation
  8. ISIS User Support



NOTE: For the strong of heart and/or to get the short version documentation of the ISIS installation script, type:

Or, click on the following link:

If you decide to use Quick Start instead of the following instructions, hold onto your hats, and don't call us for help when you run into trouble. Good Luck.


For the rest of you sane people, this document describes how to obtain the various components of the ISIS software system, how to install the components of the system, how to do the setup necessary to run the system, and where to obtain more documentation on the system.


The following sections describe the components needed in order for ISIS to operate properly on your computer system. Please read each section carefully to reduce problems during the installation procedure and when utilizing ISIS.

The USGS Astrogeology Team supports ISIS under the requirements given below. WARNING: Failure to meet these requirements may render ISIS unusable.


The following operating systems, compilers, and third party software products are acceptable:


We have run extensive tests of ISIS binaries built on PC (Intel/AMD chipsets) under SuSE 9.0. The binaries have been successfully tested on the following Linux distributions:

                RedHat 9
                RedHat Enterprise Linux WS Release 3
                RedHat Enterprise Linux WS Release 4
                SuSE 8.2
                SuSE 9.0
                SuSE 9.3
                SuSE 10.0
                SuSE 10.1

* * Note that other Linux distributions may work but have not been tested.

After evaluating the four Linux distributions above, we have selected SuSE 9.0 for the Linux reference system for ISIS 2.1 and 3.0. SuSE 9.0 has the following system components:

                IDL................6.0 (optional)


ISIS was built under Solaris 9 on UltraSparc Sun-Fire-V210 hardware using the GNU FORTRAN, C, and C++ compilers with the following components:

                SunOS 5.9..........Generic_112233-08
                IDL................6.0 (optional)


ISIS 2.1 was build using Mac OS X version10.3.3 on PowerPC G4 hardware. It has been known to run on G5 hardware also. It was built using the following components:

                Kernel............. Darwin 7.3.0 (or above)
                gcc-g++.............3.3 20030304 (Build 1640)
                g77.................3.5.0 20040429 (experimental)
                Apple X11...........1.0
                IDL................6.0 (optional)

Fortran and C compilers are only required when you plan to develop software under the ISIS environment.

It is possible the binaries provided with the ISIS distribution will run on higher versions of these operating systems (or other operating systems such as SuSE 7.3) however, it is not guaranteed or fully supported.

Fortran and C compilers are only required when you plan to develop software under the ISIS environment.

Perl executables need to be located in /usr/bin. If you have Perl installed in a different directory you need to set up a link between your location and /usr/bin/perl. To accomplish this, you need to determine the absolute path name of your Perl executables. Then type the following at the command line:

This will estabish a softlink between our perl scripts and your Perl exectables. If you don't have root priviledges you will have to see your Sys-Admin person to execute this command.

If you are not intending to use the Perl scripts within ISIS (presently used mainly for MGS/MOC image processing) you will be given the option to install ISIS without creating the link described in the last paragraph. Simply type "yes" when prompted "Do you want to continue without PERL? :". The installation script will then bypass this step.


ISIS performs best with a large amount of swap space. We recommend your system be configured with at least 500 megabytes of swap space.


The basic installation requires the following disk storage:
        ISISR including executable bin      248 MB
        TAE                                   7 MB
        Standard data                       523 MB
        PGPLOT source and executables        12 MB

Optional components require the following disk storage:

        ISIS source code                     51 MB
        NAIF toolkit (Version N0060)        176 MB
        Cassini data                       3199 MB
        Clementine data                     117 MB
        Galileo SSI and NIMS data           639 MB
        IMP Pathfinder data                  15 MB
        Lunar Orbiter                         3 MB
        Mariner 10 data                     263 MB
        Mariner 9 data                       42 MB
        Mars Global Surveyor data          5581 MB
        Mars Exploration Rover data        5042 MB (Currently unavailable)
        Mars Express                       1259 MB
        Mars Odyssey (THEMIS) data         3148 MB
        NEAR data                            64 MB
        Viking data                         253 MB
        Voyager data                        212 MB

The source code and NAIF toolkit are needed if you plan to develop software under the ISIS system.

The data elements (SPICE kernels and calibration files) are needed if you plan to work with a particular mission.

2.4 TAE

The ISIS system requires the Transportable Applications Environment (TAE). TAE is supplied with the ISIS distribution; however, other software packages (namely VICAR) utilize TAE. We have made changes to TAE which renders it incompatible with other versions of TAE. If you plan to use both VICAR (or other packages utilizing TAE) and ISIS then plan accordingly.


You can obtain ISIS from our distribution server using "rsync". This tool will allow you to download the most recent version of ISIS with each modification we make to the software. For more information on installing ISIS with "rsync", see section 5. USING RSYNC TO INSTALL ISIS.


First select a disk partition on your Unix machine for the location of the ISIS system. Make sure you have sufficient space for all the components you plan to use (see section 2.3 Disk Space Requirements for space usage).

ATTENTION ISIS DEVELOPERS: If you already have an older version of ISIS on your system, it is highly recommended (but not absolutely necessary) you perform a backup and install the new version in an empty directory. If you choose to overwrite an existing ISIS system, the new installation will overwrite any development modifications you may have made to your existing system.


To download and update ISIS we are know using "rsync". This utility provides the capability to both acquire the new ISIS release, if you are a new user, and/or update your working ISIS system with the latest version.

"rsync" works by comparing the ISIS files on your system to the ISIS files we have on our system. If the utility finds that your system is out of date it will download only those files that have been modified to your system. This will allow you to stay current with every change we make to ISIS.

To run "rsync" you must have it installed on your system. If you do not already have this utility installed, you can find it at:

Once it is installed you are ready to download ISIS. At the command line type:

        rsync -az .

This will transfer the ISIS install script (isis_install) and the install script readme file.

Next you up need to create the isis_cfg file. This file contains the path names to the various ISIS directories. As you progress through the install script you will define the path for each directory you download. These path will then be assigned to the particular ISIS environment variables. To initiate the script type:

        ./isis_install sync makestartup

Your return should look something like this:

                                  Sync Option Selected

     `isis_cfg` file does not exist.

Use current ISIS environment variables to build `isis_cfg` (yes/no/exit)? [no] -
> n

 ***  Minimum required ISIS settings have not been entered.  ***

    Current ISIS config settings

base kit (required)
  1) ISIS executables ........ IS NOT SET
  2) TAE  executables ........ IS NOT SET
  3) ISIS common data tree ... IS NOT SET
  4) PGPLOT src & exe ........ IS NOT SET

dev  kit
  5) ISIS source tree ........ IS NOT SET
  6) NAIF src & exe .......... IS NOT SET

data kits
  7) Cassini ................. IS NOT SET
  8) Clementine .............. IS NOT SET
  9) Galileo ................. IS NOT SET
 10) IMP - Pathfinder ........ IS NOT SET
 11) Lunar Orbiter ........... IS NOT SET
 12) Mars Odyssey............. IS NOT SET
 13) Mariner 9 ............... IS NOT SET
 14) Mariner 10 .............. IS NOT SET
 15) Mars Exploration Rover .. IS NOT SET
 16) Mars Express ............ IS NOT SET
 17) Mars Global Surveyor .... IS NOT SET
 18) NEAR Shoemaker .......... IS NOT SET
 19) VIKING 1 & 2 ............ IS NOT SET
 20) Voyager ................. IS NOT SET

Modify Current ISIS configuration (exit/no/{yes=all} 1 2 3 ...)? [no] ->

To run the required minimum ISIS installation (the executable directory - isisr/, the basic data directory - data/, and the TAE directory - /tae) you will need to type "1 2 3". If you plan to work with specific mission data, such as Clementine, MGS, Pathfinder, etc, you will need to install the proper mission specific distribution kits. To install data identify, which ones you want by the associated number and type in the numbers all in one line (space delimited) or type "yes" to install the entire ISIS package.

Once you have defined all the path names you need for your ISIS installation, the script will automatically create the path directories and then download the ISIS files associated with those path names.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must have "write" permissions to the directories you have defined the script will exit with an error.

Finally, the script will generate two files, isis_cshrc and isis_profile, in the current working directory. When the script is done, the commands contained in these files should be placed in the users .cshrc or .profile file or in a system-wide startup file. Make sure to place them after any IDL initializations.


For detailed information on how to configure your display for IDL see Notes on Use of the IDL Display Programs on the ISIS Documentation web page.


Further ISIS documentation can be viewed by using the following command after ISIS has been installed and the user setup has been performed. Use the following:


Direct questions, comments, and bug reports to the Isis Support Center.

Documentation | Tutorials | Technical Documents | Isis Support Center (URL: | Home

Last updated: Jul 14 2006