Running Vis-Tools from COMPS

This page gives a quick overview of how to run Vis-Tools from within the COMPS system.


To access and use COMPS you must receive approval and credentials from IDM. Send your request to

To use Vis-Tools this way, you’ll need to create or otherwise have access to a spatial simulation, which is to say, a simulation with multiple nodes that have latitude/longitude geospatial locations.

Locate a target simulation in COMPS

  1. Log into COMPS using your account credentials

  2. Navigate to Explore > Simulations

  3. Locate a spatial simulation for visualization. When you select such a simulation, you’ll see the following in the Spatial tab of Explore’s Details pane.



  1. Click the Preprocess button to launch a COMPS work item to perform preprocessing on the simulation. Preprocessing for Vis-Tools will not modify or damage the simulation in any way. After you click the Preprocess button, the Spatial tab will change to this:

  2. After the preprocessing work item completes successfully, you’ll see the spatial tab change again:



  1. Click the Visualize button to launch Vis-Tools on the simulation’s data.


The preprocessing script created a visset that lets us see our nodes on the map, with no bindings between our simulation’s outputs and the visual parameters of the visualization at all. It’s a good starting point for us to customize the visualization to our needs.

To learn more about the Geospatial visualization client, see Geospatial visualization.


You may find need to “re-preprocess” a simulation. For example, if you’ve already run Vis-Tools preprocessing for a “Points”-type visualization, you might change your mind and want to preprocess for “Shapes.”

  1. In the COMPS Spatial tab, click the Re-preprocess button. COMPS will return you to the preprocessing options view, wherein you may re-preprocess or upload your own preprocessing script.


Using your own preprocessing script

COMPS can create default “Points” or “Shapes” preprocessing files for you. But more advanced users may choose to modify a default script to their liking and preprocess using that modified script.

  1. In the COMPS Spatial tab, run Preprocess with either “Points” or “Shapes” to have a default preprocessing script created for you.

  2. Navigate to the COMPS Output tab. Therein, find the Vis-Tools folder among your simulation’s output files and find the script that was create by the Preprocess operation.

  3. Right-click the Download icon next to that file and choose Save Link As… to save it to your local computer.

  4. Open the file in an editor and modify it to your liking. For example, you might add default bindings or change the base map. See the comments within the file for examples of changes to make.

  5. When you’re done making changes, save the file as “” to any convenient location.

  6. Back in the COMPS Spatial tab, click Re-preprocess.

  7. Click the Custom script… button. This will open a file open dialog. Locate and open the script you saved earlier.

  8. Click Preprocess to run preprocessing with your custom script.