As of version 3.0 (October 2014), STILTS offers plotting commands corresponding to the new-style plots in version 4 of the TOPCAT application. The commands are currently:
plot2plane: Draws a plane plot
plot2sky: Draws a sky plot
plot2cube: Draws a cube plot
plot2sphere: Draws a sphere plot
plot2time: Draws a time plot
plothistwere available - these are now deprecated, but described in Section 9).
These commands all have a similar structure.
The plot surface, or geometry of the plot,
is defined by which command you use
(for instance, if you want to plot longitude/latitude data on
the celestial sphere, use
Content is added to the plot by specifying zero or more
as described in Section 8.3 below.
Section 8.4 describes the shading modes which affect
how colouring is performed for some of the layer types.
Once a plot has been specified, it can be displayed on
the screen or exported in some way according to
a selected output mode (Section 8.5)
and perhaps export format (Section 8.6).
Plots displayed to the screen are by default "live" - they can be
resized and navigated around (pan, zoom, rotate, ...) using the mouse
in the same way as in a TOPCAT window.
These commands allow you to make all the plots that can be produced with TOPCAT, in some cases with more flexibility in configuration. Unlike TOPCAT, the size of table you can plot is not limited by the size of table you can load into the application. In most cases, STILTS will generate plots from arbitrarily large data sets with fixed (and modest) memory requirements. Performance is of course highly dependent on the details of the plot, but for instance an all-sky density plot for 2 billion points can be produced in the order of 30 minutes.