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Using Cassini Raw Images, An Update
post Jan 27 2007, 11:47 AM
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Over the past 3 years, we've been fortunate enough to have an ever expanding library of nearly 200,000 images from the Mars Exploration Rovers thrown onto the web as uncalibrated JPG's for enthusiasts like ourselves to get our teeth in to. The success of this is written on the walls of UMSF and elsewhere, and most remarkably, the scientists and engineers involved were pleased to see people getting their hands on 'their' data. Jim Bell even commented on Planetary Radio in November '05 :
"The team really appreciates the public support, and we put the images out there every day on marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and people download them and make their own mosaics and panoramas and do their own analysis and we think that's great - it's great to have the public along for the ride"

Cassini followed suit and after some trouble getting images that were not overly stretched the workflow was sorted out and amazing images have been making it onto the JPL website ever since. From time to time we've seen some great results - mosaics, colour composites, animation - great work and a fantastic credit to the Cassini team, their policy of putting images online and the example set by MER.

However - over the last 18 months or so there have been some rumours and unpleasant undertones regarding Cassini imagery. Some enthusiasts who have created amazing images found that their creations were not universally appreciated. There seemed to be an unspoken 'look but don't touch' policy in place regarding the raw JPG's and thus they stopped working with Cassini imagery or took down bits of their websites and so on.

Over the past year or so, the UMSF mod and admin team have been discussing this, and recently we contacted JPL for clarification. Could we find some way to give people the confidence to get creative with the Cassini images as they have with MER images? I want to thank the Cassini outreach team for responding to us so positively and for everyone involved in helping us establish in writing what we all hoped was true, but were perhaps a little unsure of. I'm happy to report that the Cassini images are out there for us to use and enjoy in exactly the same way we do with MER imagery.

To confirm that - recently there has been an addition to the text on the Raw Images page saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

"Welcome to the Cassini raw image section, where the Cassini mission and Cassini outreach are happy to provide these raw images for the public to use and enjoy. ... "

As with MER - if you do something with the Cassini images - you should cite where the data comes from. For MER it has always been NASA/JPL/Cornell and for Cassini it should be NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. For those of you that may have had concerns or doubts about getting thoroughly stuck in to the Cassini imagery, then you can put those fears aside and get stuck in - to cite a senior Cassini team member:

"Our intent in creating the raw image page was to accomplish exactly what Jim Bell said for the MER Project. The public is paying the bill for this, so we should be doing everything we can to help them enjoy the ride"

So - crack open your photo editing software and start exploring Saturn!

Thanks to Alice and the team at JPL for helping us with this, and personal thanks to the rest of the mod and admin team who, as ever, knew the rights words to say at the right time.

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post Feb 22 2007, 09:13 PM
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Group: Chairman
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I think it's right and fair that Carolyn air her comments at UMSF in response to recent goings on - however I think I should further clarify a few points.

The source of the 'rumors' is that on multiple occasions, for whatever reason, people have responded to Carolyn's feedback by stopping their work with Cassini imagery all together. In one case this was the removing of an amateurs work from the private website (which would rather fly in the face of the suggestion that it is only via media outlets this is a problem) , and indeed one person responded by vouching to never work with imagery from any current mission. One has to ask - what inspired them to react so strongly?

It seems unlikely that anyone was told that it was great to see them working with raw imagery but could they just keep it to their own website and not share it via any media outlets. That's not the sort of message that stops you working on imagery all together. Perhaps the message they got was a little too broad and too strong.

But, truthfully, I don't believe any of that actually matters. The creation of movies, mosaics and colour images form the raw imagery and the publishing of those creations anywhere on the scale from forum, to personal website to media outlet or print, is entirely allowed within the JPL image useage policy.

Given that it can be days, weeks or even several months until some imaging products are put together officially (and given the limited resources science teams have, this is understandable) , it seems a little counterproductive to not encourage people to produce and display the 'stop gap' pretty pictures that many here and elsewhere enjoy. No one is ruining the party by having one next door...we're simply having a few drinks to get everyone in the mood before the party gets started because sometimes, the party starts quite late.

Once the raw images are online - everyone can see them, everyone can see anything they might show be it geysers, spokes, or the next new discovery, everyone can turn to someone who understands what they might be seing and say 'what do you make of this', but not everyone can enjoy them fully because they don't know how to put them together. The role of the amateur enthusiast has been to make the absolute most of every image as often and as quickly as possible.

I believe that any image that a media outlet considers of sufficient quality to be published is an achievment of which all parties should be proud - amateur and scientist alike. Surely the whole point is to have as many movies, maps, mosaics and pretty pictures as possible seen by as many people as possible - whoever has made them and wherever they are posted. Every time something makes it to APOD or the cover of a Magazine or elsewhere it's a credit to the mission, the decision to share the pictures, the people who made that decision and the instrument they built and command.

We have all seen the revised scope of the image useage policy, and that opinions from both sides of the issue have been made fully public. There is little more that can be said on the matter and I think it is now time that enthusiasts were left to make up their own minds, to create what they feel they should and share it how and where they feel appropriate.

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Posts in this topic
- djellison   Using Cassini Raw Images   Jan 27 2007, 11:47 AM
- - scalbers   Interesting to hear today that CICLOPS may soon be...   Feb 11 2007, 11:14 PM
- - dilo   To confirm what Doug report, I just received last ...   Feb 12 2007, 07:10 AM
- - djellison   Actually the Sector 6 news is a new, very suprisin...   Feb 12 2007, 08:36 AM
|- - ugordan   Yeah, talk about a plot twist... I'm curious, ...   Feb 12 2007, 08:59 AM
- - CosmicRocker   This is really quite good news. I wasn't awar...   Feb 12 2007, 09:50 PM
- - mysagan   To all of you from Carolyn Porco... -------------...   Feb 22 2007, 01:46 AM
|- - ElkGroveDan   QUOTE (mysagan @ Feb 21 2007, 05:46 PM) C...   Feb 22 2007, 08:44 PM
- - dusty   Hi folks. This is Dusty from #space on irc.freenod...   Feb 22 2007, 02:03 PM
- - ngunn   I appreciate Carolyn taking so much time to explai...   Feb 22 2007, 02:46 PM
- - climber   I must say that having Carolyn Porco's opinion...   Feb 22 2007, 02:47 PM
- - ugordan   Actually she says APOD and TPS are "grey medi...   Feb 22 2007, 02:56 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (ugordan @ Feb 22 2007, 04:56 AM) A...   Feb 22 2007, 06:11 PM
- - elakdawalla   I'll confirm that Dr. Porco has repeatedly ask...   Feb 22 2007, 03:45 PM
|- - tedstryk   QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 22 2007, 03:45 P...   Feb 22 2007, 05:07 PM
|- - stevesliva   QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 22 2007, 10:45 A...   Feb 22 2007, 05:31 PM
- - Littlebit   QUOTE (Dr. Porco)Maybe it's not possible for s...   Feb 22 2007, 04:15 PM
- - dvandorn   There is really only one example of a Cassini disc...   Feb 22 2007, 05:21 PM
|- - tedstryk   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Feb 22 2007, 05:21 PM) ...   Feb 22 2007, 06:29 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (tedstryk @ Feb 22 2007, 08:29 AM) ...   Feb 22 2007, 06:52 PM
- - tasp   Also interesting is the varied reactions to the Ia...   Feb 22 2007, 06:41 PM
- - Nix   "I ask you: Would *you* be disappointed? ...   Feb 22 2007, 07:00 PM
- - helvick   The speculation here about the Enceladan plumes wa...   Feb 22 2007, 07:38 PM
|- - centsworth_II   QUOTE (helvick @ Feb 22 2007, 02:38 PM) T...   Feb 22 2007, 09:41 PM
- - djellison   I think it's right and fair that Carolyn air h...   Feb 22 2007, 09:13 PM
- - CarolynPorco   Everyone, Interesting comments, along the lines -...   Feb 22 2007, 11:11 PM
- - helvick   QUOTE No one credits the discovery of America to t...   Feb 23 2007, 01:45 AM
- - djellison   I'd like to thank Carolyn for her input, and a...   Feb 23 2007, 08:20 AM

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