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I agree

Now starting on the new AstroBin equipment module

siovene
08 Dec, 2018 18:39
comp exec astrobin ./manage.py startapp astrobin_apps_equipment
Historical moment 😇as I now start working on the new equipment module on AstroBin. I will call it "equipment" instead of "gear", as it's standard on AstroBin, for differentiation purposes.

Here's a birds-eye-view of the main deliverables of this project:

  • The final goal is to have a polished database of equipment items (telescopes, cameras, mounts, accessories, software, etc). The keyword here is "polished". So no duplicates with different spellings.
  • I want to build a database in which each equipment item has it's nice looking page, with one or more pictures of it, and a search view of the pictures on AstroBin taken with that item. This is sort of already in the system but it needs to be revamped.
  • The #1 objective of this exercise is to index and catalogue, and provide users of AstroBin for a way to really find all images acquired with such and such equipment item.
  • A secondary objective that will be built into the system is to allow monetization by providing links back to retailers of such and such equipment item. These will not constitute as ads, and I plan to make them unobstrusive and I doubt anyone here will object.
Here's my general plan on how to achieve this:

  1. The effort will be community driven, because while I can write the code, I cannot go and add thousands of items in the database, obviously.
  2. The process starts with each user's settings page, where you have your current list of gear (the messy database).
  3.  You will have the possibility to associate each of your current gear items to an "AstroBin Certified Equipment Item" (ACEI from now on, pronounced "a-see"smile or some other name if this one sucks (please suggest something).
  4. You will be presented with a list of suggestions based on name similarity (a list that's coming from the ACEI DB) and if you find your match you can do your association.
  5. Your association will enter a review queue. I will need volunteers to approve association requests.
  6. If you can't find an ACEI to associate your legacy gear item to, then you will be asked to create a new ACEI, so you get to a new nice page where you can enter all detail as possible about this ACEI. A lot of fields will be mandatory because the goal is to be thorough, and if you can't be bothered and leave the page, maybe someone else with the same item will do it.
  7. After you have created your ACEI, it will beed to be reviewed by people on the ACEI Review team.
  8. There will also be a generic page with all ACEI items, and they will be available in the search page (i.e. you can search equipment items and not images acquired with them).
Do you see any problems with this approach? Obviously the weak link is that we are trusting the ACEI Review team to not make mistakes and allow duplicates to slip thru. But I reckon that even if we might have a few duplicates, it will never be as bad as today, and they can be fixed manually.

Any thoughts? Any wish list? Any volunteers for the review team?

I also need to know if you have any ideas to incentivize people to associate their legacy gear items to the new ACEI. I can send them emails once a week to bug them, but I don't know if it helps, especially for inactive users who don't contribute anymore and will just mark it as SPAM smile

One option is to let everybody associate everybody else's item, and the system automatically propose assiciations based on automatically detected similarities to the review team…

I'm all ears for your brainstorming!
dakloifarwa
08 Dec, 2018 19:40
Thank you, Salvatore, and good luck for the implementation! That will hopefully lead to a much better AB with great usability.
A few suggestions:
  1. Salvatore Iovene
    I also need to know if you have any ideas to incentivize people to associate their legacy gear items to the new ACEI.
    I would simply leave the gear database as it is and only mark the ACEI devices in a special way. I think most of the active users will update their items quite quickly because they all really need the new feature. But sometimes there might be some exotic or unique (DIY, customized,…smile items where the users don't want to enter all the necessary data or they just don't wish to disclose too many details. For them the old page would still be fine.
  2. The option to change everybody's gear associations is a bad idea. It may be okay for the system to send the proposed associations directly to the user.
  3. To simplify the start for the review team, there could be a prefilled list with 90 percent of most well-known brand names and trade marks available today. All missing items will be added on demand by the ACEI team.
Best, Andreas
Edited 08 Dec, 2018 19:40
siovene
08 Dec, 2018 22:11
I have identified the following categories and subcategories for equipment items, please let me know if I'm missing something! It should only be for items that are quite directly involved with the acquisition and processing of images.

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_CATEGORY_OPTICAL = "OPTICAL"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_CATEGORY_DETECTOR = "DETECTOR"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_CATEGORY_TRACKER = "TRACKER"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_CATEGORY_ACCESSORY = "ACCESSORY"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_CATEGORY_SOFTWARE = "SOFTWARE"

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_TELESCOPE = "OPTICAL_TELESCOPE"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_CAMERA_LENS = "OPTICAL_CAMERA_LENS"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FOCAL_REDUCER = "OPTICAL_FOCAL_REDUCER"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_DIAGONAL = "OPTICAL_DIAGONAL"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FIELD_CORRECTOR = "OPTICAL_FIELD_CORRECTOR"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_EYEPIECE = "OPTICAL_EYEPIECE"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_L = "OPTICAL_FILTER_L"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_R = "OPTICAL_FILTER_R"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_G = "OPTICAL_FILTER_G"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_B = "OPTICAL_FILTER_B"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_H = "OPTICAL_FILTER_H"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_SII = "OPTICAL_FILTER_SII"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_OIII = "OPTICAL_FILTER_OIII"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_LP = "OPTICAL_FILTER_LP"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_SOLAR = "OPTICAL_FILTER_SOLAR"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_OPTICAL_FILTER_LUNAR = "OPTICAL_FILTER_LUNAR"

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_CCD = "DETECTOR_CCD"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_DSLR = "DETECTOR_DSLR"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_FILM = "DETECTOR_FILM"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_GUIDER = "DETECTOR_GUIDER"

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_TRACKER_EQ_MOUNT = "TRACKER_EQ_MOUNT"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_TRACKER_ALTAZ_MOUNT = "TRACKER_ALTAZ_MOUNT"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_TRACKER_BARN_DOOR = "TRACKER_BARN_DOOR"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_TRACKER_TRIPOD = "TRACKER_TRIPOD"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_TRACKER_PIER = "TRACKER_PIER"

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_ADAPTER = "ACCESSORY_ADAPTER"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_FOCUS_MASK = "ACCESSORY_FOCUS_MASK"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_FOCUSER = "ACCESSORY_FOCUSER"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_ARTIFICIAL_FLAT_FIELD = "ACCESSORY_ARTIFICIAL_FLAT_FIELD"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_DEW_CONTROL = "ACCESSORY_DEW_CONTROL"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_FILTER_WHEEL = "ACCESSORY_FILTER_WHEEL"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_INTERVALOMETER = "ACCESSORY_INTERVALOMETER"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_ACCESSORY_WEATHER_STATION = "ACCESSORY_WEATHER_STATION"

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_SOFTWARE_OBSERVATORY_CONTROL = "SOFTWARE_OBSERVATORY_CONTROL"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_SOFTWARE_DATA_ACQUISITION = "SOFTWARE_DATA_ACQUISITION"
EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_SOFTWARE_DATA_PROCESSING = "SOFTWARE_DATA_PROCESSING"
Die_Launische_Diva
08 Dec, 2018 22:30
Hi Salvatore, maybe we need a detector subcategory for CMOS cameras, besides the DSLR and mirror-less cameras.
Snjór
08 Dec, 2018 23:13
Accessory_Books
Accessory_Miscellaneous
Software_Miscellaneous
Jean-Baptiste_Paris
09 Dec, 2018 01:20
Good idea Salvatore !

If I can help in the review team, it will be a pleasure.

JB
Ethan
09 Dec, 2018 06:25
I’d be happy to volunteer if it starts rolling out in the next month as I will essentially have no personal responsibilities starting in a few days and ending in mid-January. Any other time might be more difficult but still doable for me.

I would also suggest a category for CMOS as a distinct category for detectors.

As of now, I have two questions:
  1. When we convert our gear to equipment, will the migration be reflected automatically on our images?
  2. If I were to upgrade my ZWO ASI290MM, for example, from the gear database to the equipment database, would the 29 other owners with that exact gear automatically be upgraded with me?
—Ethan
siovene
09 Dec, 2018 07:26
Sigga
Accessory_Books
Accessory_Miscellaneous
Software_Miscellaneous
How do you use a book during the acquisition of an image directly? I guess if your tripod is leaning to one side and you put a book under one leg… 😂I think that we should only include the equipment items that can be associated to an image. Because even if you own a book and you used the knowledge you acquired from it to take an image, it doesn't make much sense to say that the book was used to produce that image. For instance, I don't tink you would be able to learn anything by doing a search for all images "acquired" with a certain book.

Accessories_Miscellaneous I agree.

Softare_Miscellaneus… can you name a software that is directly used to produce an image, and is not one of the 3 specified above?

Ethan & Geo Chappel
When we convert our gear to equipment, will the migration be reflected automatically on our images?

Yes.

Ethan & Geo Chappel
If I were to upgrade my ZWO ASI290MM, for example, from the gear database to the equipment database, would the 29 other owners with that exact gear automatically be upgraded with me?

That was my original idea but I think we need to discuss it further.
carlocolombo
09 Dec, 2018 07:30
Sempre se posso esserti utile in queste tue grandi idee, nel mio piccolo mi metto a tua disposizione,   smile  ciao    c.colombo
khrrugh
09 Dec, 2018 10:21
My biggest wish for AB is coming true  smile of course i'll volunteer for the review Team. If there is the need to do some initial work on the ACEI DB just count me in as well.
Edited 09 Dec, 2018 10:24
Snjór
09 Dec, 2018 12:36
Salvatore,

Book comment almost make coffee come out of my nose as laughing, I cede point _Book not needed. You very cheeky today :-)

For software was thinking something like Stellarium was not covered in categories but perhaps I am wrong.

I think excellent idea to do this and if can assist I pleased to do so.

Best wishes,
Sigga
siovene
09 Dec, 2018 13:56
Die Launische Diva
Hi Salvatore, maybe we need a detector subcategory for CMOS cameras, besides the DSLR and mirror-less cameras.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't CMOS a type of sensor, like CCD is? CCD cameras use CCD sensors, while DSLRs use CMOS sensors. I will add a MIRRORLESS subcategory tho, good one.
Die_Launische_Diva
09 Dec, 2018 14:32
Salvatore Iovene
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't CMOS a type of sensor, like CCD is? CCD cameras use CCD sensors, while DSLRs use CMOS sensors.
I don't think it is a good idea to use the term CCD for a dedicated astro camera which uses a CMOS sensor. Such are more versatile and can also be used for planetary imaging. They differ from the DSLR cameras since they are dedicated for astrophotography, and are usually cooled and monochrome. Also, the workflow for calibrating and integrating data from such sensors may be different from their CCD counterparts.
siovene
09 Dec, 2018 14:54
Die Launische Diva
I don't think it is a good idea to use the term CCD for a dedicated astro camera which uses a CMOS sensor

EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_CCD = "DETECTOR_CCD"EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_DSLR = "DETECTOR_DSLR"EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_FILM = "DETECTOR_FILM"EQUIPMENT_ITEM_SUBCATEGORY_DETECTOR_GUIDER = "DETECTOR_GUIDER"

It look like I'm saying that a CCD is a dedicated astrocamera that uses a CCD sensor. Even if we forget for a secon the different kinds of sensors, ultimately an astrophotographer will either have a CCD Camera, a DSLR camera, a mirrorless camera, or a film camera. Isn't that right?
Die_Launische_Diva
09 Dec, 2018 15:21
Salvatore Iovene
It look like I'm saying that a CCD is a dedicated astrocamera that uses a CCD sensor.
Maybe it's the word detector that confuses me. From the sites of the following three manufacturers:

  • QHYCCD sells astronomical cameras with CCD sensors or CMOS sensors
  • ZWO sells astronomy cameras with CCD sensors or CMOS sensors
  • Atik sells cameras for astrophotography with CCD sensors or CMOS sensors
Why to classify a CMOS camera from one of the above  manufacturers as a CCD Camera, and not as an astronomical/astronomy/astrophotography Camera?
Edited 09 Dec, 2018 15:22
siovene
09 Dec, 2018 18:50
Die Launische Diva
QHYCCD sells astronomical cameras with CCD sensors or CMOS sensors

Oh I see now. I didn't know that you could buy a dedicated astronomy camera with a CMOS sensor, so I made the assumption "dedicated = CCD".

So does it work if I organize them like this?

DETECTOR_DEDICATED_ASTRONOMY_CAMERA
DETECTOR_DSRL
DETECTOR_MIRRORLESS
DETECTOR_FILM
Then the sensor type can be a property of this or that equipment item.
siovene
09 Dec, 2018 18:59
Sigga
For software was thinking something like Stellarium was not covered in categories but perhaps I am wrong.

Stellarium would fall under observatory contorl (yes, you can connect to a mount and slew it with Stellarium). If you have used for planning I don't think it belongs to the acquisition details of an image… might as well then add Google to the list smile
jtrezzo
09 Dec, 2018 18:59
I agree that there needs to be a separate camera type for CMOS. Calling a dedicated astronomy cooled CMOS camera a CCD is just wrong. I think you could argue that there may be some people who try to put their DSLR in CMOS category, as technically it is, but with the separate option of DSLR also there I don't think it would be a problem. I find it much more troublesome to be calling a QHY168C a CCD or a DSLR, which are currently the only options that are close to it. I like the idea of "Dedicated Astronomy Camera" with the Sensor Type property, as long as it is easy to search through that property. A lot of times I would like to search only dedicated astro CMOS, for example. Also worth adding here if not already noted, there should be a Color or Mono property here too.

Back to the original post, this is great and as a professional librarian that takes a certain joy and satisfaction in proper cataloging, this has been the part of Astrobin that has bothered me most.

Count me in as a volunteer for the review team, or any other means I might be needed.
Edited 09 Dec, 2018 19:13
craig_rodgers
09 Dec, 2018 20:55
Salvatore Iovene
How do you use a book during the acquisition of an image directly? I guess if your tripod is leaning to one side and you put a book under one leg… 😂I think that we should only include the equipment items that can be associated to an image. Because even if you own a book and you used the knowledge you acquired from it to take an image, it doesn't make much sense to say that the book was used to produce that image. For instance, I don't tink you would be able to learn anything by doing a search for all images "acquired" with a certain book.
Might be good to have a bibliography of recommended books/resources though, there are a lot of books out there, but a lot of them are poor quality.
siovene
09 Dec, 2018 21:16
Craig Rodgers
Might be good to have a bibliography of recommended books/resources though, there are a lot of books out there, but a lot of them are poor quality.
Completely off-topic but I agree. AstroBin really has a lot of potential to be a resource for new astrophotographers. I don't have time to coordinate any of that, but I am willing to facilitate the content creation via a wiki/articles section.
morefield
10 Dec, 2018 06:24
Salvatore Iovene
Die Launische Diva
QHYCCD sells astronomical cameras with CCD sensors or CMOS sensors
Oh I see now. I didn't know that you could buy a dedicated astronomy camera with a CMOS sensor, so I made the assumption "dedicated = CCD".

So does it work if I organize them like this?

DETECTOR_DEDICATED_ASTRONOMY_CAMERA
DETECTOR_DSRL
DETECTOR_MIRRORLESS
DETECTOR_FILM
Then the sensor type can be a property of this or that equipment item.

Salvatore,

I think it is valuable and important to distinguish between CMOS and CCD for dedicated astronomy cameras.  This distinction is more important  for me than DSLR vs mirrorless.   If you wanted a high level distinction I would have CCD, CMOS, Film, and Digital non-astronomy camera’s.

CMOS based astronomy cameras are probably the most commonly purchased astronomy cameras today.  It is the hottest segment of the market and indeed there is question about the future of CCD sensors for dedicated astronomy cameras.

Kevin Morefield
AC1000
10 Dec, 2018 13:30
Salvatore,

related to DSLR - would it make sense to distinguish between "modified" and "not modified"?

Harald
siovene
10 Dec, 2018 13:38
Yes, but not globally, unless the camera comes as modified straight from the shelf. The database equipment should be about things that you can buy (for instance no DIY stuff, for that we also need to figure out a solution).

So on top of the camera that you select from the equipment database, you can add your own properties that are only relevant for the specific item that you possess.

So yeah I will add that but being careful that there's a clear distinction about the scope of the properties.
AC1000
10 Dec, 2018 14:34
Thank's for clarification, Sal.
whwang
12 Dec, 2018 03:06
Let me give some historical prospect. CMOS and CCD are different technologies. In old days, CCD gave cleaner images. So all dedicated cooled astro-cameras used CCD. Even DSLRs once used CCD and those with CCD were considered as "better."  Later CMOS technology quickly caught up, thanks to Canon and then Sony. Now DSLR and mirrorless exclusively use CMOS.  15 years ago, when hobbyists bought DSLRs, some of them ask whether the model use CMOS or CCD.  This was asked because at that time, whether it's CCD or CMOS mattered.  Now it doesn't matter any more and people do not ask such a question any more, because CMOS is much better than CCD and every DSLR uses CMOS.

Today's dedicated astro-cameras still primarily use CCD, for several reasons. The most sensible one is that, it's still very hard for small camera companies such as SBIG, FLI, QHY, ZWO… etc (cf. Nikon, Pentax) to get large-format (APSC and up) CMOS chips from Sony and Canon. Kodak CCD is lousy and expansive, but can be obtained by those small companies. This is one (and perhaps the more important one) of the reasons why we still see CCD in the astro market.  Nevertheless, CMOS started to appear in the astro-camera market a few years ago, and the CMOS cameras are making impact.  The astro market is small, and has great inertia against changes.  So the movement to CMOS will be much slower than the commercial camera market.  But it will happen, sooner than you might expect.

Like the shift from film to digital, from CCD to CMOS, there is another shift just happening this year: from DSLR to mirrorless. DSLR will disappear sooner than many of you might expect.

Now, considering all the above rapid landscape shift, it's time to ask how ACEI should place itself in this continuously changing landscape.  In the digital camera world, it no longer matters whether it is CCD or CMOS.  Everything is CMOS.  The proof is that Salvator only listed DETECTOR_DSLR, not DETECTOR_DSLR_CCD, nor DETECTOR_DSLR_CMOS. So, what should we do to the astro-camera category? To me, DETECTOR_CCD  is definitely inappropriate, because there is a parallel system that should be called DETECTOR_CMOS. It will be definitely incorrect to call ASI1600 a CCD.  It's not a CCD.  It's CMOS. If you accept that, the question becomes if we should have two entries: DETECTOR_CCD and DETECTOR_CMOS? Or we just unify it into DETECTOR_astro-camera (for example)?

At this moment, it also seems appropriate to have two categories DETECTOR_DSLR and DETECTOR_mirrorless.  But it won't be necessary any more in 10 years. How about we just unify the two into DETECTOR_DC (digital camera), without differentiating DSLR and mirrorless?

Also, I think the boundary between cooled astro-cameras, guiders, and planetary cameras can also be very vague. I expect that we will see ambiguous cases.
Edited 12 Dec, 2018 03:07
 
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