Area Tool

The Area tool enables you to calculate the area of a model from a given view direction, over a given time interval, such as an orbit period. You can use the Area tool with any object that uses a model file.

To access the Area tool for a particular object, highlight the object in the Object Browser and select Area Tool from the <object> menu The Area Panel window is displayed along with a 3D Area View window. The view window enables you to see the changes in the position of the object model during animation. Use the Animation toolbar to set your scenario in motion.

You cannot use the Area tool on any model that contains the FaceEmissionColor parameter.

Use the Area Panel window to define the view in the view window and set the data reporting options:


Bound Radius. Use to tailor your view to yield the optimal display for visualization and analysis. The field of view for area analysis is defined in terms of a rectangular plane rather than a linear boresight or direction of gaze. You can limit the size of that plane by specifying the radius of a circle centered in the rectangle and touching its long sides; i.e., a circle having a radius equal to one half the length of one of the short sides of the rectangle. This ensures that, once the optimal dimension is set, the satellite remains within view even when rotated.

The projection is orthographic, that is, without perspective.


The Area tool computes area over time by animating the scenario and periodically counting the pixels corresponding to the model under consideration. For this reason, you can specify a Start Time, a Stop Time and a Time Step for the analysis. If you do not set these parameters, they default to those set for the scenario.

Interval. The time component interval for reporting area data.

Start Time. The start time for reporting area data.

Stop Time. The stop time for reporting area data.

For more information on the options available for interval and start/stop times, see Time Options

Time Step. The time step used to separate data points.

View Direction. Specifies the view direction displayed in the view window. Click Select... to select the reference component from which the object in the view window is being viewed and the direction in which the model area will be computed.

Compute. Click Compute to calculate the area of the model in the view direction at each time step over the specified time period. If you have already computed area data for this object, STK displays a window that enables you to choose to delete existing data or cancel the compute.

Delete Data. Deletes existing area data so that computer memory is restored once analysis is complete.

Data Reporting

Report/Graph. Click Generate... to create a report or graph containing the area data computed.