Node: Successful use of PP3, Previous: Online resources, Up: Introduction

1.4 Successful use of PP3

PP3 has been used in real life already and has proven its helpfulness.


PP3 has created the celestial maps of all 88 constellations on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Feel free to browse through a list of all constellations.

This is a web page, so you need bitmaps1, and a short Gimp script2 helped me to convert PP3's EPS vector output to PNG bitmaps. Additionally, this script creates smaller thumbnail version for all charts that exceed a certain width.

The result is that one can create all maps plus their thumbnails with one simple command call:


Surely it can't become simpler. You may retort “Well, but creating the maps must have been the actual work”. Of course it was, but first it took only 10–15 minutes per map, because much work is done by the default behaviour of PP3 itself. And secondly:

French Wikipedia

Several months later the French division of Wikipedia wanted to translate the maps to French. They wanted another background colour and French labels and constellation names. They provided me with a translation table. It took me three hours to adjust the scripts, to run make again, and to upload the ZIP file with all the demanded bitmaps. See for example the Scorpius entry.


Originally PP3 was written for a project on h2g2, an edited Internet encyclopedia. Unfortunately the BBC editors wanted very small bitmaps that would not have been helpful, and they were too lazy to include all the 88 bitmaps. So the project died, but on a smaller scale (for ten constellations or so), it indeed motivated authors to contribute articles about constellations. The maps were externally linked.


[1] as long as we don't have SVG

[2] which is included into the distribution