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Creating timestamps with sub-second accuracy

Atle Borsholm

The TIMESTAMP function in IDL is good when you need to write log files and chronologically sort entries from multiple files. However, a common problem is that the number of digits is not enough when code runs quickly. This alternative routine shows how to improve timestamps into fractions of seconds. On Windows,"systime" is normally limited to about 1ms. But on Linux the accuracy can be closer to 1 microsecond.

 

Here is a comparison of the standard TIMESTAMP function and the output from the improved accuracy TIMESTAMP2 function.

ENVI> print,(t=timestamp()) & for i=0, 299 do if t ne timestamp() then print, (t=timestamp())

2014-08-27T21:31:30.00004827976228Z

ENVI> print,(t=timestamp2()) & for i=0, 299 do if t ne timestamp2() then print, (t=timestamp2())

2014-08-27T21:31:41.808

2014-08-27T21:31:41.809

2014-08-27T21:31:41.810

2014-08-27T21:31:41.811

2014-08-27T21:31:41.812

2014-08-27T21:31:41.813

2014-08-27T21:31:41.814

2014-08-27T21:31:41.815

2014-08-27T21:31:41.816

2014-08-27T21:31:41.817

 

For TIMESTAMP2 the update rate is about 1ms running on a Windows 7 OS in this case. The following is a listing of the source code for the TIMESTAMP2 function:

function timestamp2

 compile_opt idl2,logical_predicate

 t = systime(1)

 str = systime(0, floor(t), /utc)

 td = 0d

 reads, str, td, format='(c())'

 td += (t-floor(t))/(24*3600d)

 tstr = string(td, format='(c(cyi4.4,"-",cmoi2.2,"-",cdi2.2,"T",cHi2.2,":",cmi2.2,":",csf06.3))')

 return, tstr

end

 

 

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