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Topic Title: Exporting Data to the Shared File System and Setting the 'Remote Reference' URL manually
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Created On: 10/9/2018 1:25 PM
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 10/9/2018 1:25 PM
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To set the Remote Reference URL manually using measurement data available in Columbus:

Export to the shared file system

- Switch to the Export View

- Select Export Options - Method - Export to Disk (*)

- Export Folder - the path to the shared file system used by the Columbus Cluster

- Image Data - tick checkbox and select SinglePlane TIF

- Start Export

If you are uncertain of the Export Folder path refer to the import_path parameter in the /etc/columbus/*.config file

For purposes of this example the Export Folder is


To export to this path the acapella user requires write access. This would normally be the case if the shared file system is owned by columbus (acapella user typically being in the same group) but if you see a warning to the effect:

Selected directory /columbus_cluster/data/image1 does not exist.

Check and potentially change the permissions to allow acapella to write, if writable you will see:

Selected directory /columbus_cluster/data/images OK.

Once exported by default the folder created will bear the name of the Screen appended with the Screen ID within []

For purposes of this example Reference Screen is the name of the Screen and the Screen ID in Columbus is [3152]. Therefore the first folder created is Reference Screen[3152] then a plate and finally the measurement folders containing the images. The full path in this example being:

/columbus_cluster/data/images/Reference Screen[3152]/Plate[3202]/2008-06-12T123202+0100[3252]/2008-06-12T123202+0100[3252]

Confirming the above path on the Columbus Server

- Log into the Columbus server using ssh

- Navigate to the top level folder in the Export Folder path i.e the measurement level (keep changing directory until you can list the TIF files)

- Get the path, for instance using a command such as:

$ pwd

- Switch to the Browse view in Columbus interface

- Edit the Remote Reference adding the path such as above but append ‘file://‘ to the beginning.

When adding the remote reference be mindful of any escape characters, for instance spaces in the path. In this example the Screen started with 'Reference Data' in which case \ would need to preceed any spaces i.e ‘Reference\ Data'. If a special character has not been accounted for you will typically see the following error on attempting cluster analysis:
  1. Error Message: tcgetattr: Inappropriate ioctl for device Connection to gcc1 closed.
Ammended path for this example:

file:///columbus_cluster/data/images/Reference\ Screen[3152]/Plate[3202]/2008-06-12T123202+0100[3252]/2008-06-12T123202+0100[3252]
  1. (*) If you are only exporting a single measurement as oppose to a large Screen and do not need to preserve the folder hieracy the exported subfolders can be simplify by choosing: Screen or Screen+Plate or left at default Screen+Plate+Measurement in Generate Subfolders. You will find this under the left drop down arrow at the bottom of the Select Export Options section.

Edited: 1/4/2019 at 9:22 AM by Jace
 11/27/2018 7:40 AM
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Joined: 5/9/2014

Without the luxury of SSH server to otherwise check the path keep it simple. You can do this by electing not to create Subfolders. The single folder created will only bear the Measurment date followed by its ID in [].

In this example the Measurement folder is created:


To derive this name from the Columbus Web Interface

- Right click the measurement level to view the Date and ID, in this example:

Date = 2008-06-12 12:32:02 +0100

ID = 3252

- first 10 characters are exately same: Year, Month, Day = 2008-06-12

- Character denoting time = T

- The time 12:32:02 appears minus ':' thus = 123202

- Zone indicator = +0100

- finally Measurement ID within [] in this example = [3252]

Therefore the complete Remote Refernce URL in this manually exported example is:


Hope this helps to simplify the path a little.

Edited: 1/29/2019 at 7:01 AM by Jace
 6/25/2020 9:18 AM
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Thanks Jace for the tip. Been looking for the help on this topic since last week. Glad that I ound everything here.

 7/2/2020 12:41 AM
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Posts: 5
Joined: 5/27/2020

This actually works!! Amazing

 3/18/2021 12:16 AM
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Joined: 3/18/2021

It was very detailed, clear and helpful to me, I followed and succeeded, thanks for your post mapquest driving directions

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