Setting Up GDL
IDL is a high level programing language offered by ITT Visual Information Solutions. It's an ideal programing language for data manipulation, analysis, and visualizations, and it's the primary programing language I use. The one down side of IDL is it cost money. Fortuantely, Marc Schellens started a project to write GDL, a free software that is compatible with IDL. GDL is still in its nascent stages, but many of the features offered in IDL are also offered in GDL.
Many projects in soft condense matter require the capability to track moving objects. In 1995, John Crocker wrote an easy to use and robust software to identify and track the motion of objects with time. In 2008 alone, his paper describing the algorithm recieved 93 citation. Crocker's source code was written in IDL and is offered online at Eric Weeks' Particle Tracking Website . Others have rewritten his code in other programming languages which can be found on Eric's website as well.
In an effort to make particle tracking software free, I have written the necessary code needed for GDL. Hopefully the code I've written will find some use in devoloping countries, small labs with scarce resources, and graduate students who want to spent some days working from home. Also to make GDL more useful for soft condense matter researchers, I will continue to write useful IDL functions missing in GDL.