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Forklet of cbassa's sattools for use with free software giza instead of closed pgplot. https://spacecruft.org/spacecruft/sattools
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Libre Sattools

Libre Sattools is a free software fork of parts of Cees Bassa's sattools.

Current state: skymap, satmap, and satorbit have been ported to libre giza. Additional features have been added to skymap.

skymap-giza rev 21

See above screenshot from port of skymap.

satmap-giza rev 3

See above screenshot from port of satmap.

satorbit-giza rev 3

See above screenshot from port of satorbit.

satid-giza rev 3

See above screenshot from port of satid.

stvid-example PNG of FITS image from stvid, used in example below.


Above, screenshot of this command:

satid examples/satid-sample.fits
mv satid.png examples/satid-sample.png

Note: R.A. and Decl. issue. Values are read from FITS (?).


The giza branch is mostly similar to upstream, but with giza instead of pgplot.

The following (mis?)-features have been added to skymap in the active spacecruft branch:

  • Optionally resize window on command line with --width and --height. (Probably best to just get width and calculate a good height.)

  • Optionally change resolution of drawing lines with --nmax. (Probably best to calculate nmax depending on window size.)

  • Add SatNOGS (now default), last 30 days, Space Stations, Active Satellites, GNSS, and visual TLEs.

  • Update SGP4 files to latest upstream.

  • Add long options (e.g. --help) on the command line.

  • A local version of bits of qfits is included, so no upstream install is required to build. (Are the binary apps needed elsewhere?)


Development is done in Debian Bookworm (testing). Tested and working with Debian Bullseye (11/stable) Doesn't require any dependencies outside of Debian.

sudo apt install giza-dev git make dos2unix source-extractor wcslib-dev \
     libgsl-dev gfortran libpng-dev libx11-dev libjpeg-dev libexif-dev

git clone https://spacecruft.org/spacecruft/sattools

cd sattools/


sudo make install

# To clean
make clean

# To rebuild
make clean

# To uninstall
sudo make uninstall

Built files get put in the bin/ directory.


cd bin/

# set config in ~/.bashrc XXX

./skymap --help
Usage: skymap [OPTION]
Visualize satellites on a map of the sky.

-t, --time    Date/time (yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss.sss) [default: now]
-c, --catalog    TLE catalog file [default: satnogs.tle]
-i, --id    Satellite ID (NORAD) [default: all]
-R, --ra    R.A. [hh:mm:ss.sss]
-D, --decl    Decl. [+dd:mm:ss.ss]
-A, --azimuth    Azimuth (deg)
-E, --elevation    Elevation (deg)
-w, --width    Screen width (default: 1024). Set height too.
-g, --height    Screen height (default: 768). Set width too.
-n, --nmax    nmax line resolution/speed (default 128)
-S, --all-night    All night
-Q, --no-stars    No stars
-a, --all-objects    Show all objects from catalog (default: LEO)
-h, --help    This help
-s, --site    Site (COSPAR)
-d, --iod    IOD observations
-l, --length    Trail length [default: 60s]
-P, --planar-id    planar search satellite ID
-r, --planar-alt    planar search altitude
-V, --visibility-alt    altitude for visibility contours
-p, --positions-file    File with xyz positions
-L, --longitude    manual site longitude (deg)
-B, --latitude    manual site latitude (deg)
-H, --elevation    manual site elevation (m)


Info about the port to free software giza instead of proprietary and unmaintained pgplot can be seen in the PORT.md file.


See README-upstream.md.

Sattools, GPLv3.

Upstream has ported many of the tools to Python. See also:

Giza, GPLv2.


qfits, libre permissive:

  • ftp://ftp.eso.org/pub/qfits


Same as upstream sattools, GPLv3.

Copyright (C) 2022, Jeff Moe