Commissioning Archive Platform

Recent datasets

Scheduling block measurements sets that have been recently observed, or are the subject of current processing, are kept on the Galaxy Lustre file system at /astro/askaprt/askapops/askap-scheduling-blocks. Each scheduling block directory contains a measurement set, the ingest pipeline parset and log, as well as other files indicating the state of the archiving.

Archiving of measurement sets

After the observation is complete, new datasets are archived on the commisisoning archive. This is tape and disk-based storage aimed at keeping raw and some processed data during ASKAP commissioning.

The observations are archived by tar-ing the entire scheduling block directory. After this is copied to the archive, the measurement set within the directory on /astro is removed, and a file called ARCHIVED is created.

There is a RESTORE.SH script that ASKAP operations will make use of to restore the measurement set from the archive. General users cannot run this, as the askap-scheduling-blocks directory is not writeable.

All BETA datasets were archived in the same fashion, and are available in their own directory on both the commissioning archive (in beta-scheduling-blocks rather than askap-scheduling-blocks).

Viewing and accessing the archive

The commissioning archive is visible through the Pawsey Data portal You can log in with your Pawsey credentials, and navigate through the directory structure. It is possible to download via the web client as well

There are also command-line tools available on Galaxy to access the archive and retrieve data. While the preferred way is to have the data restored to the standard location via the RESTORE.SH script, there are situations where downloading the datasets yourself is desirable. (Remember to moderate your usage of /group!)


The pshell command is the preferred way to access the archive. This is made available via the askaputils module, which can be loaded via:

module load askaputils

(adding this to your ~/.bashrc file allows it to be available automatically).

It provides a shell-like environment to navigate around the remote and local filesystems, and commands to get or put data. Useful features include tab-completion and a progress indicator.

When starting pshell, you will be presented with the following prompt:

=== pshell: type 'help' for a list of commands ===

You can login with your Pawsey credentials, and obtain data in the following way:

pawsey:/projects>get ASKAP Commissioning Data/askap-scheduling-blocks/3046

The available commands can be seen by typing “help” or “help <command>” for more details on a particular command:


Documented commands (type help <topic>):
cd        exit  help  login   ls         put   rm
debug     file  lcd   logout  mkdir      pwd   rmdir
delegate  get   lls   lpwd    processes  quit  whoami

There are different commands for moving in the local and remote filesystem. The remote filesystem uses the familar ‘ls’, ‘cd’ etc commands, while the local filesystem has an additional ‘l’ at the start (‘lls’, ‘lcd’ etc).

Finally, a useful command is ‘delegate’, which stores your login details for some period of time. This is useful for scripting pshell. To use, give delegate a number of days over which to store your credentials, and it will tell you when it will expire:

pawsey:/projects>delegate 30
Delegating until: 25-Mar-2017 07:55:35


The original tool used to connect to the archive was It has a similar (although not identical) interface to pshell, without tab-completion and a different scripting interface. We have kept ashell available for backwards-compatibility reasons.

This can be loaded manually using:

module load ashell

You can add this to your ~/.bashrc file for automatic loading; see the section “Setting up your account” in the Central Processor Platform documentation page. Once loaded you can start the interface with:

After starting ashell you should be presented with the the following prompt:


To download the BETA scheduling block 50 data to your current folder use the following commands:

pawsey:online>get /projects/ASKAP Commissioning Data/beta-scheduling-blocks/50.tar

You will then have a local copy of the file 50.tar, and you will need to un-tar it before you can use the measurement set therein.

Ashell also uses the concept of remote and local folders, although with a different syntax to pshell. the remote folder is set by the ‘cf <path>’ (Change Folder) command, you can check the current remote folder with the ‘pwf’ (Print Working Folder) command. The local folder is set by the ‘cd <path>’ command and can be checked with ‘pwd’.

Delegation is also available in the same manner as pshell. Quick help is also available via ‘help’ and ‘help <command>’.