The mission of CARTA

CARTA is the Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for Astronomy, a new image visualization and analysis tool designed for the ALMA, the VLA, and the SKA pathfinders - MeerKAT and ASKAP. As the image size increases dramatically with modern telescopes in recent years, viewing an image with a local CPU-based image viewer or with a remote CPU-based image viewer via the ssh protocol plus X11 tunneling or the VNC becomes much less efficient. The mission of CARTA is to provide usability and scalability for the future by utilizing modern web technologies and computing parallelization.

Client-Server architecture

CARTA uses a client-server architecture which is suitable for visualizing images with large file sizes (GB to TB) easily obtained from ALMA, VLA, or SKA pathfinders (MeerKAT and ASKAP) observations. It is practically difficult to process such a huge file with a personal computer or a laptop. By using a client-server architecture, computation and data storage can be handled by remote enterprise-class servers or clusters with high computing power and high performance storage, while processed products are sent to clients only for visualization with modern web technologies, such as GPU-accelerated rendering. This architecture also enables users to visualize images from the ALMA and the VLA science archives by using CARTA as an interface.

Codebase and releases

CARTA is an open-source project. Its source code is publicly available at

CARTA has two deployment modes: “Site Deployment Mode” (SDM) and “User Deployment Mode” (UDM). The former is intended for hosting multiple users with an enterprise-class server, while the later is intended for single-user usage with a personal computer, a laptop, or a remote server.

Installation guides for the “Site Deployment Mode” and the “User Deployment Mode” are provided in the section Installation and configuration. Please contact the CARTA Helpdesk ( if there is a problem.

Beside the annual stable release (the current stable release is v3.0.0), there are beta releases within the one year development cycle. With the beta releases, you can try new features and provide your feedback to the development team for improving the next stable release. Please visit the CARTA homepage ( to obtain the latest beta and stable releases.

Getting help

The CARTA development team welcomes any suggestion, feature request, or bug report, to make CARTA better via

Software citation

Please use the following DOI as a citation when using CARTA for publications.

The bibtex is

author       = {Angus Comrie and
               Kuo-Song Wang and
               Shou-Chieh Hsu and
               Anthony Moraghan and
               Pamela Harris and
               Qi Pang and
               Adrianna Pińska and
               Cheng-Chin Chiang and
               Rob Simmonds and
               Tien-Hao Chang and
               Yu-Hsuan Hwang and
               Hengtai Jan and
               Ming-Yi Lin},
title        = {{CARTA: The Cube Analysis and Rendering Tool for
month        = dec,
year         = 2018,
publisher    = {Zenodo},
doi          = {10.5281/zenodo.3377984},
url          = {}

You may also refer to…3377984C/abstract.


ASIAA CASA Development Center (ACDC) acknowledges the grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan for the ALMA-NA collaboration.

The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy is a partnership of three South African universities: the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Pretoria.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

The Department of Physics at the University of Alberta has contributed to the CARTA project thanks to support from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory under an ALMA Development Project and from the Canada Foundation for Innovation as part of the Canadian Initiative for Radio Astronomy Data Analysis (CIRADA).

CARTA is mainly built in C++, TypeScript, and JavaScript, and with the following third-party libraries:

The source code of CARTA is hosted on Github.

The CARTA development team is grateful to David Berry for consultation of the AST library and to Kumar Golap for consultation of the casacore library.