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Paper: A Scheme for Compressing Floating-Point Images
Volume: 172, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems VIII
Page: 125
Authors: White, Richard L.; Greenfield, Perry
Abstract: While many techniques have been used to compress integer data, compressing floating-point data presents a number of additional problems. We have implemented a scheme for compressing floating-point images that is fast, robust, and automatic, that allows random access to pixels without decompressing the whole image, and that generally has a scientifically negligible effect on the noise present in the image. The compressed data are stored in an FITS binary table. Most astronomical images can be compressed by approximately a factor of 3, using conservative settings for the permitted level of changes in the data. We intend to work with NOAO to incorporate this compression method into the IRAF image kernel, so that FITS images compressed using this scheme can be accessed transparently from IRAF applications without any explicit decompression steps. The scheme is simple, and it should be possible to include it in other FITS libraries as well.
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