IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM23)

Sunday May 13 2007 @ 17.30-20.00 (Beijing Local Time)


Full Meeting: Floor 2, Meeting Room 5 (Beijing Oriental Culture Hotel, Beijing, China)


  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Minutes of TM22
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [standing item]
  5. Discussion of the IVOA Assessment (FG/DDY)
  6. Working Groups and Interest Groups
    • Standardisation process: highlights, concerns, goals (RW)
    • Proposal for creation of Solar System IG
  7. Status of the Assessment of Implementation of IVOA standards in Data Centres (DS/CA)
  8. Status of the preparation of the Fall 2007 Interoperability meeting (NW)
  9. Status of the preparation of the Spring 2008 Interoperability meeting (FP)
  10. Data and venue of the next Exec meeting
  11. AOB
  12. Summary of Actions

Papers for Meeting

Reports from the Projects



During the last few months, the main focus of AstroGrid has been on two main areas. The first is improving robustness and reliability of core services, where we have made significant improvements. The second is updating and completing end user documentation, which is also now much improved and close to completion. Meanwhile we have also been undertaking a review of "fitness for purpose", looking towards our operational deployment phase next year. This has included both a survey of users, and an internal "brainstorming" review.

We have recently had official notification of the success of our most recent funding proposal. We have been funded at a healthy level -three quarters of our request - but for just two years rather than the requested five. This means we are funded through to the end of 2009. The feedback was essentially that reviewers were very impressed with what we had achieved, and remain convinced of the potential, but were not yet quite convinced that we were ready to be funded as a steady-state operations project. (This is a good judgment of the worldwide VO perhaps !) We will be reviewed again in eighteen months.



Preparing for the IVOA interoperability meeting has the highest priority for China-VO. 104 qualified registrations have been received. It is the first time that number of attendees of IVOA interoperability meeting reaches 100. Now, the meeting is going on in Beijing.

A beta version of VO-DAS system has been finished before the IVOA meeting. Some basic data access functions are realized, including synchronous and asynchronous query, data format conversion, ADQL parsing, huge volume data (>3M records) query.

A beta version of SkyMouse 2.0 was finished before the IVOA meeting. New functions including Linux screen word-capturing, VO-Registry resource harvesting, have been added.

FitHAS (Fits Header Archiving System) is developed, which can help data providers import headers of large amount of FITS files into a database.

Three talks will be given at the IVOA meeting on VO-DAS, SkyMouse and FitHAS respectively.


VObs.it (aka DRACO) Italy


In the framework of the EURO-VO Data Centre Alliance and Facility Centre, 2 major workshops are being organized in 2007:

The "Astronomy Spectroscopy and the VO workshop" took place on 21-23 March 2007 at ESAC. More than 120 people attended with a wide variety of attendees (scientists, usual VO people, developers, implementers, IVOA WG chairs and IVOA chair). That was the occasion to present VO work in the context of astronomical spectroscopy to the scientists and get requirements and feedback from the scientists to the VO people. In the coming months, workshop proceedings will be published and an IVOA note will be compiled by the Workshop Scientific and Technical Organizing Committee. Full details can be found at : http://esavo.esac.esa.int/SpectroscopyAndVOWorkshopMarch2007/

The "EURO-VO workshop on How to publish data in the VO" will take place on 25-29 June 2007 at ESAC. The workshop is geared towards data centres and large projects to acquire the knowledge and experience necessary to allow them to become "publishers" in the VO. Registration is open and programme is in under preparation depending of the requirements of participants when they register. Full details can be found at : http://esavo.esac.esa.int/EuroVOWorkshopJune2007/

The EURO-VO mailing list is being built up and now contains about 400 people. People can still subscribe through the EURO-VO helpdesk at: http://help.euro-vo.org/esupport/index.php?_m=news&_a=view

The EURO-VO project, through the Facility Centre, which is jointly managed by ESO and ESA, issued a Call for Proposals for astronomical projects driven by the Virtual Observatory concept and making use of Virtual Observatory tools and applications (see http://www.euro-vo.org/pub/fc/call.html). This followed a suggestion from the EURO-VO Science Advisory Committee. Nine proposals were received. After evaluation by the EURO-VO Science Advisory Committee for scientific merit and by the project for technical feasibility three proposals were selected. The successful teams will receive the necessary scientific support and technical contact points to complete their projects by December 2007. It is expected that the final results will be published in peer-reviewed research publications.

Work in on-going to set-up a EURO-VO presence at the next Joint European National Astronomy Meeting (JENAM 2007), to be held in Yerevan, Armenia. Various talks will be given at the "Science with Virtual Observatories" Symposium and a booth will be manned with on-line demonstrations.

France VO

Please see the France VO report to the TM24 IVOA Exec meeting.




Since April 2007 Dr. Kawanomoto, who worked to implement spectral line tools, left the JVO project. Dr. Kawanomoto will work to construct a new generation imaging camera, HyperCAM, for the Subaru telescope.

JSPS approved to run the Core-to-Core program by the JVO in the fiscal year 2007, that strongly supports activities of JVO.

JVO made a trial implementation of the NaReGi (National Research Grid Initiative in Japan) middleware into a part of its data analysis service by JVO. It was found that the middleware is still premature for operations phase, however, a graphical user interface for the Work Flow builder seems very useful. JVO will continue to evaluate the middleware, and will contribute to comment the middleware for the NaReGi project to improve it.

Korean VO


Substantial progress continues to be made in VO supporting technology and standards. NVO-led international standards for Resource Metadata (V1.11) and Identifiers (V1.10) were approved by the IVOA for promotion to Recommendation, the highest level. NVO-led efforts on the spectrum data model and Simple Spectrum Access Protocol (SSAP) are essentially complete, and will be finalized at the upcoming IVOA Interoperability Work-shop in Beijing in May. The Space-Time Coordinates data model and metadata definition, also developed by NVO, is ready for promotion as an IVOA standard as well. An initial version of the VOSpace standard for managing distributed data collections is also ready for the IVOA promotion process.

NVO team members are active in discussions of several new protocols. An applications messaging standard is being developed in the IVOA, drawing upon initial success of the PLASTIC protocol (PLASTIC = PLatform for Astronomy Tool InterConnection), which was developed initially within the AstroGrid project. NVO is also participating in an IVOA “tiger team” that is developing a new Table Access Protocol (TAP) and a second version of a VO Query Language. TAP generalizes the capabilities of the simple Cone Search protocol, and VOQL allows database-type queries to be submitted to large and/or complex tables. A major goal is to make the TAP interface as similar as possible with the other Data Access Layer protocols so that both server- and client-side applications can be easily extended and generalized.

Members of the NVO Executive Committee have been preparing for the IVOA Interoperability Workshop: preparing the annual technical assessment, analyzing the results of an IVOA survey and considering adjustments to the way the IVOA functions, and assembling the overall schedule. The May Interop workshop in Beijing marks five years of IVOA activities.

Work began in November 2006 on a new data discovery portal that would provide a rapid summary of the data available for a given object or list of objects. The underlying technical support for such a service was prototyped and demonstrated at the March team meeting. More work is required to understand how to present the results of such a query (in essence, a table with N-objects rows and M-attributes columns, and where the columns can contain source attributes, spectra, images, etc.) to the user in an understandable and manageable format.

A revised schedule for the deployment of the new registry schema has been negotiated with our international partners, and this work will start following the May Interop meeting. In the meantime we have developed a suite of registry validation tools that will make it easier to assure that the updated registry contents are correct and complete.

Substantial work has been done to collate documentation and provide better links via the NVO website. We also developed an NVO applications template in order to provide a common look-and-feel for all NVO-sponsored applications. Both the website improvements and applications template will be deployed in the next quarter.

Work continued on the NVO Book. The editors corresponded with the many contributors, and arrangements for publication were further refined with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The book is planned to be ready for submission to ASP by the end of May.

The NVO EPO effort included participation in a special session at the January AAS/AAPT meeting. Education with Large Astronomical Surveys addressed techniques for incorporating large datasets into astronomy education. Twelve practitioners in the field covering a wide range of projects discussed their lessons learned and best practices from years of experience. Another full day of sessions was specifically for teachers and incorporated NVO in some of the discussion. NVO team members are also collaborating with NASA Ames (WorldWinds), Google, and Microsoft to make astronomical survey data available through advanced visualization tools.

A detailed report of NVO activities in the period 1 Jan - 31 Mar 2007 is available in the NVO document repository at http://www.us-vo.org/pubs/files/FY07Q2.pdf.




Reports from WGs & IGs(follows order as at http://www.ivoa.net/forum/)

Please have a look at the WGs and IGs talks and session at the Beijing Interoperability meeting, which can be accessed from InterOpMay2007

Data Access Layer WG

Data Models WG

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Registry WG

Semantics/UCD WG



VOTable WG

Applications IG

Astro-RG IG

A very successful workshop was held at OGF 20, Manchester, UK (9 May 2007). Details of the agenda are at IVOA.GgfIvoaMay07WorkShop and the presentation materials linked from the OGF20 schedule page. It is apparent that there is increasing interest in the use of distributed computing infrastructure, and that there is activity outside of the IVOA in this area. The IVOA Astro-RG Interest Group is a good forum to allow more engagement with large external groups such as LOFAR/ SKA who may need to integrate their grid based computational systems to the VO.

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Theory IG

-- NicholasWalton - 12 May 2007
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Topic revision: r13 - 2007-07-10 - FrancoiseGenova
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