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Key Features and Benefits of S2PLOT

  • Provides 3D plotting functions: dramatically increases capacity and options for display of multi-dimensional data;
  • Provides a mechanism for navigating the 3D world: drastically improves comprehension of 3D geometry and perception of depth on 2D display devices;
  • Is a programming library: can be called from existing and new C, C++ and FORTRAN codes;
  • Has a PGPLOT-like interface: many of the functions will look familiar to PGPLOT users;
  • Works on GNU/Linux and Apple/OSX: available for the most common workstations and laptops;
  • Works on standard monitors: enables users to create and explore 3D geometry at their desktop without requiring expensive hardware;
  • Works on advanced displays: if a sterescopic or dome display is available, it can be used with no change to the code;
  • Comes with documented sample programs: allowing new users to learn by example;
  • Is a binary distribution: no compilation is necessary to install the library or run the sample programs;
  • Can save hardcopy output: for production of figures, animations and movies for journals, presentations and websites; and
  • Can save geometry files: allowing views to be saved to disk and displayed later without re-running code.

Basic Concepts of S2PLOT

S2PLOT is a programming library - that means that by linking S2PLOT in with your existing code you gain a straight-forward way to add interactive, three-dimensional graphics to your existing code. S2PLOT functions allow you to create a range of standard and advanced geometric primitives, create dynamic (e.g. time dependent) visualisations through the callback system and interact with data through the use of handles.


S2PLOT is freely available for non-commercial and educational use, however, it is not public-domain software. The programming libraries and documentation may not be redistributed or sub-licensed in any form without permission from Swinburne University of Technology. The programming library and sample codes are provided without warranty.

We would appreciate it if research outcomes using S2PLOT would provide the following acknowledgement:

Three-dimensional visualisation was conducted with the S2PLOT progamming library

and a reference to

D.G.Barnes, C.J.Fluke, P.D.Bourke & O.T.Parry, 2006, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 23(2), 82-93.

S2PLOT development was funded through the Researcher Developer Grant Scheme at Swinburne University of Technology.

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