Accessing the HEASARC CALDB Remotely

Important Notes

  • Downloading Remote Files: By default, QUZCIF and other CALDB subroutines will download remote CALDB files to the user's current working directory. This enables the user to use these local calibration files later on. However if the user does not have permission to write to the current working directory, QUZCIF and other CALDB routines will produce an error when trying to download the remote file.

  • November 8, 2006: Some remote users are experiencing problems with remote access. If you are currently having problems please contact the CALDB manager via e-mail. Remote CALDB access should be available by following steps 1 and 2 below, but set the CALDB environment variable to ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/caldb instead of http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb, i.e.
    % setenv CALDB ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/caldb
    
    Update (March 30, 2010): Some users are reporting that using ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/caldb for $CALDB is causing access problems, but setting $CALDB to http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb as described in step 3 below is working.

Users of HEASOFT 5.0 (aka FTOOLS 5.0) and later versions can remotely access files in the HEASARC CALDB directly. Remote Access has the following advantages:

  • HEASOFT users can run CALDB-aware tools (like pcarf, ascaarf, etc.) without having to make sure that they have the necessary CALDB files installed and accessible. This means that a user who want to run pcarf, for example, no longer needs to actually have the CALDB for the ROSAT PSPC installed locally (i.e., no more tar files to download and untar!)

  • Users no longer have to worry about updating their local installations of the CALDB every time a new data file is released, so maintenance is much easier.
To enable Remote Access, do the following:

  1. download the file

    http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb/software/tools/caldb.config

    and set the environment $CALDBCONFIG to point to that file. For example if you download the file to /local/user/caldb.config, then

    % setenv CALDBCONFIG /local/user/caldb.config
    or, if you're using the bash shell:
    % CALDBCONFIG=/local/user/caldb.config; export CALDBCONFIG

  2. download the file http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb/software/tools/alias_config.fits and set the environment variable $CALDBALIAS to point to that file. For example, if you download the file to /local/user/alias_config.fits, then

    % setenv CALDBALIAS /local/user/alias_config.fits
    or, for bash shell users:
    % CALDBALIAS=/local/user/alias_config.fits; export CALDBALIAS

  3. set the environment variable $CALDB to http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb :

    % setenv CALDB http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb
    or, for bash shell users:
    % CALDB=http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb; export CALDB

    If you experience connection problems, then set the environment variable $CALDB to ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/caldb :

    % setenv CALDB ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/caldb

Now, whenever an ftool task which needs a file from the HEASARC CALDB (for example ascaarf or pcarf), if the key CALDB is given at the prompt for the filename, the task will connect to the HEASARC CALDB via ftp check the appropriate caldb.indx file for the name of the appropriate file, download the file to the current working directory, and continue the task.


History


July 18, 2006: Changes to the GSFC network are currently causing problems with accessing the CALDB remotely. If you are experiencing problems please contact the CALDB manager via e-mail. Remote CALDB access should be available by following steps 1 and 2 below but setting the CALDB environment variable to http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb instead of ftp://legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov/caldb

% setenv CALDB http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/FTP/caldb

March 2, 2004: Changes to the GSFC network are currently causing problems with accessing the CALDB remotely. If you are experiencing problems please contact the CALDB manager via e-mail. A patch to FTOOLS 5.3 should be available shortly.

Update (20 May 2004): The FTOOLS patch release 5.3.1 fixes this problem.


Page author: Michael F. Corcoran
Last updated: Monday, 21-Jul-2014 13:58:49 EDT.


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Last modified: Monday, 21-Jul-2014 13:58:49 EDT