© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd. Doppler tomography is a well-known method in astrophysics to image the accretion flow, often in the shape of thin discs, in compact binary stars. As accretion discs rotate, all emitted line radiation is Doppler-shifted. In fast-ion Dα (FIDA) spectroscopy measurements in magnetically confined plasma, the Dα-photons are likewise Doppler-shifted ultimately due to gyration of the fast ions. In either case, spectra of Doppler-shifted line emission are sensitive to the velocity distribution of the emitters. Astrophysical Doppler tomography has lead to images of accretion discs of binaries revealing bright spots, spiral structures and flow patterns. Fusion plasma Doppler tomography has led to an image of the fast-ion velocity distribution function in the tokamak ASDEX Upgrade. This image matched numerical simulations very well. Here we discuss achievements of the Doppler tomography approach, its promise and limits, analogies and differences in astrophysical and fusion plasma Doppler tomography and what can be learned by comparison of these applications.