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IMACS and LDSS Mask Making Software

Welcome to the new home of the IMACS/LDSS mask making software, aka maskgen. Chris Burns is now the curator of maskgen and maintains the software and this site. If you have questions and/or want to report problems with maksgen, please email


A set of software support programs is available for users of the IMACS and LDSS instruments to prepare slit masks. These programs may be run in any of these places (Click link to download distribution):

The current version of maskgen is 2.14. Read the Release notes.

If your particular system is not supported, try the closest match. If that doesn't work, please email with complete details of your operating system (name, version, CPU type) and we will try to make you a custom build.

The pre-built distributions may be downloaded using the links above, stored in a directory of your choice, and expanded by a command like tar xfz maskgen-CentOS-6.6_x86_64.tgz. Then follow the installation instructions which are also supplied as the file README in the distribution.


Documentation on the use of this software is included in the distribution itself as text files. At a future time, some of this may be made into web pages; when this is done, they will be linked here.

The software consists of these executable programs:

  • intgui -- interface to define the observing details.
  • maskgen -- program which generates mask data from intgui output.
  • maskcut -- takes mask specification and generates NC file.
  • ncplot -- utility to plot NC movements to see how mask is cut.
  • smdfplt -- plots mask described by a .SMF file.
  • mgclean -- script to delete files generated by this software.
  • obscat -- script to construct an observing catalog from .SMF files.
  • cacherep -- utility to report star catalogue cache status.
  • and other utility programs as needed.

Here are the data files needed for and distributed with the programs. Please right click and save these files to disk as they may not display as text.

Here are some links to the current distributed documentation files:

And, here are some documentation links for file formats:

Here are links to supplemental documentation and data files which are subject to change in the future:

Documentation on IMACS itself, and on submitting slit masks is found on the LCO web site.

For further details, read the documentation, or email Chris Burns.