IDL is the trusted scientific programming language used across disciplines to extract meaningful visualizations from complex numerical data.

With IDL you can interpret your data, expedite discoveries, and deliver powerful applications to market.

Additionally, IDL is a truly cross-platform solution, providing support for today’s most popular operating systems, including Microsoft Windows®, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.

To get the IDL software and all other IDL related properties, please visit the Harris Geospatial Solutions Website for all IDL and ENVI software related properties.

IDL is the ideal, timesaving solution for data analysis, data visualization, and software application development. From “quick-look” analysis and display to commercial programming projects, IDL combines the technology and tools you need with a modern, extensible environment.

If you are pretty much new to data analysis and wants to become a data analyst, you can see our resource page and list of the best data analysis online training for beginners, to help you get started.

To help you get the answers you need from your data,
IDL requires less code and programming expertise to produce dynamic visualizations and analysis, or to develop powerful software applications with user-friendly interfaces. And, since the IDL software development environment, the IDL Workbench is based on the popular, open-source Eclipse framework, which further makes it a truly cross-platform solution.

IDL: Interactive Data Language

IDL, which is an abbreviation for Interactive Data Language, is a programming language used for data analysis and visualization. IDL is the programming language of choice for many scientists and engineers because it’s easy to learn, easy to use, and requires fewer lines of code than other programming languages, making it easier and faster to go from data to discovery.

A Modern Programming Language

The dynamically typed nature of IDL gives you more flexibility in your programming than a static language, saving you valuable time and allowing you to focus on data analysis and visualization, rather than on programming details.

Because the IDL language is based on intuitive and easy-to-learn rules and conventions, you can create visualization programs and even full-blown applications with fewer lines of code. With an extensive library of prebuilt analysis and visualization routines, IDL is the choice for programmers of any experience level.

Access Virtually Any Type of Data

IDL provides built-in support for the data sources, data types, file formats, and file sizes you use. Receive data from remote servers or write files to a disk at a remote location using common protocols.

IDL acts as a client to HTTP and FTP servers, and provides access to common Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) servers such as Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS).

Common Image Formats:
PNG, and more

Scientific Data Formats:
netCDF-3 and netCDF-4
GRIB support on 32 and 64 bit Windows
as well as custom binary and ASCII files

Video Formats:
AVI, and more.


Produce insightful graphical visualizations of your complex numerical data quickly and easily with the IDL graphics system. With its intuitive syntax, the IDL graphics system gives you the flexibility to create high-quality graphic visualizations to help interpret your data and share results with colleagues.

Easily Create Presentation-Quality Graphics

idl level 2 Presentation Graphics

The scriptable nature of IDL makes it easy to quickly create powerful graphic visualizations, ranging from 2D plots, contours, maps, and image displays to complex, interactive 3D representations.

The powerful IDL graphics engine leverages OpenGL hardware acceleration for rapid rendering.

This means IDL can efficiently handle large data sets and output the graphics you need.

Customize Individual Graphic Attributes

The interactive IDL graphics system allows you to customize how your graphics look. Whether you need to include multibyte characters (Japanese, Chinese, or Korean) or include TeX-like formatting for math and Greek annotations, IDL is suitable for creating graphics for office presentations or international publications.

While other programming languages require you to reprogram or regenerate results to make a change, with IDL you can modify line styles, symbols, annotation, font style, and color on the fly.

Output to Virtually any Image File Format

Programmatically or interactively output to a variety of standard image formats, like GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, EPS etc. or import graphics into PowerPoint, Keynote, or HTML presentations. Additionally, graphics can be output to PostScript or PDF for inclusion in a journal article, LaTeX, or Word Document.

With so many standardized output options, you can easily share your findings with colleagues for review, secondary analysis, or a verification study.

Pin It