Python Plotting Tool — TU Delft Master thesis — Aerospace Engineering

In 2020, I wrote my Master thesis for the Master of Aerospace Engineering (on the fascinating MMX mission which goes to one of the moons of Mars in 2024). Naturally, one wants to have clear and beautiful plots for such a personal work and academic achievement. In this short post, I outline how I approached this, and I share the code that I used to make all my plots in my thesis.

Example plot — some test results of my thesis.

Plotting tool

The scripts I used are found on Github: github.com/HaralDev/TUDelft_thesis_plotting

.ipynb script — readable python notebook to organise plots and datafiles.

Custom font — Utopia

To setup the font of the TU Delft template, found here: tudelft.nl/huisstijl/downloads. I used the tutorial by JWalton: jwalton.info/Embed-Publication-Matplotlib-Latex.

Lessons learnt

  • Use consistent and clear colours for lines
  • Use understandable filenames for your plot — perhaps even plot titles
  • Same goes for line types (e.g. dotted)
  • Avoid clutter — vary line thickness with amount of datapoints, separate plots (see plot above)
  • Don’t use the Jet colormap. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAoljeRJ3lU
  • Organise yourself, the Python Notebook should help with that
  • Plot in PDF format — always

Stand on the shoulders of giants

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. I found inspiration on the web, most notably from:

Wrap-up

I hope this article can help you, if you need help with the scripts that I wrote, feel free to contact me!

I write articles on space related subjects.