From the Archive: The plotter

Back to the scanned slides. We continue to look back in time at the Computer Room at the University of New England around 1985. This internet as we know it didn’t exist, there was no web, PCs were primitive, and graphical output was a chore to produce.

The line printer gave textual output though many people became adept at ASCII art – the art of drawing images using only printed character output.

More complex graphical output was got by using pen and ink. Vectors were calculated by computer programs, and the resulting instructions were input to plotters which then generated the image, line by line.

The main source of graphical output at UNE was to this Calcomp Plotter, driven by the vendor library of FORTRAN (FORTRAN 77) subroutines.

I’m guessing that the image seen here came from the Geophysics Department.

1 thought on “From the Archive: The plotter

  1. Judith

    So, somewhere in the basements of the University of Houston in Houston Texas circa 1973, there was a real computer person such as yourself. I had no idea. At the time, I was punching my research data into cards (in a small room with several card punching machines), bundling them up with rubber bands, and giving them to my major professor. Some time later, I was presented with printed data on a stack of folded paper, perforated at the folds. I would guess the size of each sheet was 12X18. From whence it came, I was oblivious. It was all very mysterious to me, but I was very grateful I did not have to do the statistical computations myself…I wonder if graphics were even possible at that time. I doubt it. I do remember the excitement I felt when I looked at the sheets…..I hadn’t had to do the number crunching!!! There it all was!


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