Here are some projects in IDL development, collaborative research and data science that I have undertaken for my consulting clients over the years. Click an image to see it in full size.

L’Oréal Research & Innovation USA (2014–2016)

  • Developed new image processing methods for identifying and quantifying features in images of human skin and hair
  • Improved methods of colour correction of images from cameras with varying characteristics
  • Applied Gabor filters, measures of isotropy, principal component analysis, curve fitting, and clustering in various projects
  • Supported and mentored a researcher doing IDL application development

Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS, Space Geophysical and Oceanographic Studies Lab, France, 2014–2015)

ViewMyOcean / VueMailleOcéan screen snapshot

AltiTrace screen snapshot

  • Developed AltiTrace (“Alti-plot”), an IDL system to work with NCDF files with years of recorded data variables from various laser altimetry satellites, allowing the user to customize a display of 2-D plots as well as data points plotted on a reference map. Raw data variables as well as user-specified calculated variables could be plotted. (see screenshot)
  • Developed ViewMyOcean / VueMailleOcéan (roughly, “Ocean Mesh View”), an IDL application to display animated time sequences of scalar or vector data for meshes of spatial points from NCDF files such as ocean flow models. (see screenshot)

This is my second contract with Dick on IDL programming. Dick is a very skillful and efficient IDL programmer. Besides, it is very pleasant to work with him. Dick is always keen to propose a lot of solutions and has a solid scientific basis. I really recommend him without any hesitation.

Laurent Testut

EchoTrack, Inc. (2012–2015, also 2004)Screen snapshot showing zones of risk of bird collisions to aircraft on takeoff and landing

  • Performed major upgrades on all aspects of a system for analyzing raw radar data files to detect flight paths of birds and bats within significant noise, distinguishing among animal types, displaying to screen and PDF output, overlaying onto reference maps.
  • Using Google Earth, IDL and other utility software, merged landform imagery, bird and bat flight path data and 3-D CAD models into custom graphics for producing stereoscopic 3-D lenticular prints and animated video display.
  • Developed an IDL application to schedule automated capture of radar and acoustic data for monitoring bird and bat flight.
  • Produced an IDL-based interactive 3-D display of the space in the vicinity of an airport to illustrate zones of risk of bird collisions to aircraft on takeoff and landing. (see screenshot)

Government Works, Inc. (2013)

  • Updated and improved an IDL application to handle data from a new version of sensor hardware.

Dick Jackson not only produced an excellent solution to our assigned task, he went beyond that and developed some improvements we hadn’t even asked for.

Government Works, Inc.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products (1999–2012)Screenshot showing images of teacup acquired from four camerasScreen snapshot showing pixels from rose image in Lab colour space

  • Image processing in IDL
  • Colour correction of images
  • Digital camera image calibration system
  • Application for visualizing distribution of image colours in various colour spaces (see screen snapshot showing pixels from rose image in Lab colour space)
  • Flexible multi-camera image acquisition system for clinical studies with  camera setting controls (see screenshot showing images of teacup acquired from four cameras)
  • System to allow an expert to assess and mark up clinical study images, saving results for further analysis, with many features involving data handling, options for presentation and randomization of image sets
  • 3-D surface visualization and analysis, including registration, mesh processing, volume calculation
  • Digital imaging and quantitative analysis implemented into consumer kiosk systems

Dick Jackson delivers incredible value and surpasses expectations for programmatic solutions to real world problems. I’ve worked with Dick for 13 years and he is especially effective in asking questions to guide understanding and visually presenting fundamental principles for evaluating data.  A superb IDL coder and free thinker!

Greg Payonk, Ph.D.
Research Fellow II
Johnson & Johnson

Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont (2012) Image of forest and lake region colour-coded with Day of Year of Full Leaf-Out (Preliminary Results)

  • Developed IDL software for computing the timing of forest leaf appearance from Landsat imagery, using curve fitting of data across time from each pixel, and data quality heuristics. (see image of forest and lake region colour-coded with Day of Year of Full Leaf-Out (Preliminary Results))

Dick Jackson was great to work with and proved indispensable to my group’s research on automating spring phenology monitoring with Landsat imagery.  He was always quick to respond to questions or changes to the project, and offered his own improvements and suggestions.  His knowledge of IDL capabilities and how to streamline projects was impressive.  But despite Dick’s expertise he still was patient in explaining IDL techniques to a non-programmer in simple terms.  My research group will definitely recommend Dick Jackson consulting for future work.

Katherine White
University of Vermont

National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health (USA) (2010–2011) Screen snapshot showing Z-deviation of surface data from fitted polynomial

  • Applied and enhanced an IDL-based system for visualizing and analyzing skin tumour volumes from 3-D surface data. (see screenshot showing volume between tumour surface and polynomial surface fitted to skin outside the tumour)

In a recent project, Dick’s knowledge of and skills in IDL and his ViewSurface software were instrumental in analyzing and understanding differences in volume in skin surface tumors, as determined from photogrammetric data. His involvement was key to making progress and making sense of a set of complex images.

Douglas Stewart, MD
National Institutes of Health

ITER Organization (2009–2011)Animated screenshot of magnetic field lines and tokamak port plug at different positions

  • Developed an IDL application for computing, analyzing and viewing magnetic field interaction with CAD geometry of a large tokamak reactor (see animated screenshot of magnetic field lines and tokamak port plug at different positions).

Dick Jackson has been my IDL consultant for 11 years, most recently at the ITER Project in France (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor).  On numerous tasks Dick has shown an amazing flexibility and inventiveness to first understand a complex physics or engineering problem, second to suggest the most efficient solution and third to quickly write the necessary software.  Oftentimes, Dick’s solution to a problem is one previously not considered by us, sometimes involving languages other than IDL.  This has saved significant time and resource on our side.  Dick’s grasp of our needs and goals and his proactive approach is highly valued by the ITER Project.  Highly skilled and conscientious, I would strongly recommend Dick in any sort of programming activity.

Dr. C. S. Pitcher
ITER Organization

Lidar Research Group, California State University, Chico (2010–2011) Image from Lidar horizontal scan, three quantities used for colour, vector and subset criterionImages from Lidar, horizontal and vertical scans

  • Developed IDL software to create presentation-quality maps with colour coding and overlaid vector data from Lidar instruments, capable of indicating numerous layers of wind and data quality information, as well as advanced data subsetting options. (see Images from Lidar, horizontal and vertical scans; Image from Lidar horizontal scan, three quantities used for colour, vector and subset criterion. Also, most images in these Examples of Lidar time series and others on that site were generated by this software).

Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) (2010)

Provided rapid assistance to enhance existing IDL library routines to work with new version of IDL and across hardware platforms, in support of a NASA satellite mission.

Mr. Jackson is a pleasure to work with.  His extensive knowledge of IDL is nothing less than astonishing.  This was clearly evident when we requested his assistance in debugging an issue with a large and complex code.  Within hours, he had isolated the problem, explained the cause, fixed the code and found and fixed another unrelated bug of which we had not been aware.  He is an engaging and consummate professional who goes the extra mile.  I welcome the opportunity to work with him in the future.

Janet Daniels
Mission Operations Analyst, SSAI

Scientific Solutions, Inc. (2007) Prototype GUI for FringeTool

  • Developed prototype system in IDL for analyzing FITS images of airglow from telescope interferometers, involving preprocessing, calibration, automatic optimizing positions of rings within the image, plotting and output of results. (see prototype GUI for FringeTool)

Research Systems, Inc. (now Exelis VIS) Professional Services Group (2002–2004)

  • Using ActiveX controls and DLLs, integrated IDL with online services for convenient real-time and historical financial data, for a third-party client.
  • Delivered a course in Intermediate IDL Programming, in Toronto.

ViroLogic, Inc. (now Monogram Biosciences) (1999–2000)Plots from curve fitting of virus inhibition

  • Extended existing IDL application used in testing antiviral drug therapies, enhancing database access, curve fitting and bootstrap statistics features, and adding user intervention in handling of outliers.

Vista Medical (1999)

  • Applied IDL to coordinating image data from an ultrasound imaging wand and its position and orientation to synthesize 3-D image data.

Fanning Software Consulting (1998–1999)

  • As an employee, worked with numerous clients on IDL graphics, data handling, curve fitting, bootstrap statistics, GUI development.
  • Assisted in editing manuscripts for publication.

Dick worked for me several years ago. I can absolutely vouch for this coding ability and for his ability to understand and work with clients. He is a great guy as well as an excellent IDL programmer.

David Fanning, Ph.D.

Institute for Biodiagnostics, National Research Council Canada (1992–1998, Institute no longer active)Screenshot of EvIdent

  • Established and enhanced skills with IDL to become the institute’s primary IDL developer and resource person.
  • Created innovative, interactive GUI for AllFit, an existing command-line system for fitting Lorentzian curves in complex space for magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
  • Supported and maintained an early version of EvIdent, a system for applying fuzzy clustering to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). (see screenshot of EvIdent)