IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM30 Supplementary)

Wednesday 29 October 12:00 - 13:30 EDT


Full Meeting at InterOpOct2008: Bloomberg 471

STScI building, 3700 San Martin Drive, across the street from the JHU Physics Department (Bloomberg building). Being a Sunday the Institute will be locked, but there is a guard at the front desk who will let you in. They will be aware of the meeting and can direct you to the Cafeteria Conference Room. To get to the "CafCon" you enter the STScI lobby, go to your right beyond the doors to the auditorium, down the hall into the cafeteria, and cross the cafeteria to the far side at the right. There is a short corridor and just off that corridor you will find the CafCon on your left.


  1. Roll Call and Agenda ­ NW
  2. Minutes of FM30
  3. Review of Action Items ­ NW
  4. Approval of New IVOA Recommendations ­ Standing Item
  5. Report on ADQL Discussions - CA
  6. Report on RFC/Recommendation Process - FG
  7. Report on Recommendations from IGs - FG
  8. Discussion of IVOA Newsletter - DD
  9. Spring 2009 Interop Venue and Planning - FG
  10. Autumn 2009 Interop Venue and Planning - DD
  11. Date of Next Exec Meeting
  12. AOB
  13. Review of New Action Items

Reports from the Projects



AstroGrid recently made two significant releases recently. First there was a public release of the main component of our user software suite, VODesktop 1.2.0. There are no very major changes, but a number of minor improvements and bug fixes. This is available as usual at http://www.astrogrid.org The second significant release was of the background software, AstroGrid 2008.2 This release is intended for data centre staff, third party developers, and of course other VO projects. It is available at a separate website, http://deployer.astrogrid.org (Kept carefully away from end users...) The deployer website has much less explanation than the end-user website, but our intention is to gradually make this much easier to use.

Meanwhile, as you all know, we have been the victim of STFC funding problems. Our current funding was for the calendar years 2008-9, with the expectation that we would apply for longer term operational funding during 2009. Unfortunately the STFC programmatic review resulted in a decision to close this funding early. (Despite the best efforts of many of our IVOA colleagues in the consultation period !). We have completed negotiations with STFC officials, and the AG3 funding will ramp down during 2009 until finishing by June.

The minimalist situation is that by June we will "shrink wrap" the AstroGrid software product, i.e. complete, robustify, and document the current components, so that this software is as useful as possible to others. Meanwhile, the operating services (Registry, VOSpace etc) will be kept running as long as possible on a best efforts basis by the current consortium, so that users can continue getting value.

However we are of course actively pursuing continued funding for VO-related activity. Following discussions with STFC officials, this will have a distinct change of focus, and will be focused explicitly on the needs of facilities, and on European integration. The new project will be called "VOTC:UK". It is not AstroGrid. But it uses the AstroGrid product and builds on it. We held a meeting in September with representatives from many UK facilities, missions, and data centres, which was extremely positive. A "Statement of Interest" will be submitted by November, with a proposal to follow on soon after.



On October 16, 2008, completion ceremony of the LAMOST hardware construction was held at National Astronomical Observatory of China (NAOC). It was a very important milestone for the LAMOST project and the China-VO. Since then, making the LAMOST to be a VO-enabled project becomes a realistic and high priority task for the China-VO. China-VO 2008, the 7th nation-wide VO annual workshop will be held in Taiyuan from Nov. 27-30 with the title of “VO-enabled LAMOST and furthers”.

The second phase of China National Grid (CNGrid II) project was approved by the Chinese authority, in which the China-VO acts as a sub-project. We will get about 100,000 USD funding support from the CNGrid II project in the next two and half years.

An e-Science project proposal titled with “Developing and operating of Virtual Observatory platform” was submitted to Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) two months ago. Final result should be available by the next IVOA telecon. Another proposal focused on scientific database environments will be submitted to the CAS very soon.

Close collaboration has been established between the China-VO and Microsoft Research (MSR) during the last two months in astronomy education using the WWT. At the 10th anniversary Faculty Summit of Microsoft Research Asia on Nov. 3rd, a new version of the WWT with Chinese localization and Chinese WWT tours will be presented. Those contents maybe also appear at the 213th AAS meeting in January 2009. Furthermore, MSR and NAOC will discuss how to extend our collaboration for the coming IYA 2009. On July 22nd, 2009, a 6 minutes long total solar eclipse will happen along the Yangzi river region.

In addition to the above progresses, a new version of FitHAS is nearly completed. An important function for the new version is importing remote FITS headers into database.

CVO - Canada

Data Engineering

Data engineering and the hosting of astronomical data remains our core activity. We are currently preparing our primary collections to use the Common Archive Observation Model (CAOM) as the primary metadata repository. Existing services will be ported to this model in the next few months and all new CVO services will be built on the CAOM model.


The main operational services in the CVO project are our suite of SIA services (7 collections and 1 global CADC). These services provide access to 240,000 observations, 3 million "simple" images in SIA terms - about 40GB of fully calibrated data products. Since many of these images are from large mosaic cameras, we support on-the-fly extraction of extensions from multi-extension FITS files and image cutouts in all of these services.

We recently create a prototype sample UWS implementation to fully explore the UWS specification and to provide a base for building other services. On top of that we implemented a TAP/QL service to allow querying our observation database (the one used by the SIA services). The TAP prototype supports fully asynchronous operation as defined by the UWS pattern (with both XML and HTML output) as well as synchronous query execution. We implemented an ADQL parser and believe that it supports everything in the ADQL specification except DISTINCT (just as an example of a service disallowing a specific SQL feature) and REGION (because we do not have an STC java library). It does support spatial queries using POINT and CIRCLE and both the INTERSECTS operation (CONTAINS is allowed but treated the same way as INTERSECTS). Support for the missing features was put on hold as we are switching from DB2 to Postgres as our main CVO database. Support for table upload was not implemented as there were several different ways to do it and we thought it would be better to consult with others at the Interop meeting before putting effort into it. The UWS and TAP prototypes are available at http://www.cadc.hia.nrc.gc.ca/tapServer/ with http://www.cadc.hia.nrc.gc.ca/tapServer/async being the actual TAP/QL endpoint with the UWS behaviour.

Future Directions

In the near future we will be implementing SSA services for several collections, including both archival spectra and spectral extraction from datacubes. We will also be getting catalogues from our collections and making them available via TAP, including source catalogues from our main imaging collections and 3-D clump catalogues extracted from datacubes (from JCMT). As part of the CANFAR project, we will be implementing other data processing services based on UWS and working on using virtualization to help astronomers use grid resources in a flexible fashion.


Euro-VO pursued its activities, in the framework of the EC-funded projects VO-TECH (FP6), Euro-VO Data Centre Alliance (FP6), and Euro-VO Astronomical Infrastructure for Data Access (FP7), with significant contribution from the partners. Among recent highlights:

Support to Data Centres

The Euro-VO Workshop on “How to publish data in the VO” was successfully held on 23-27 June 2008 at ESO. The Workshop, organised in the frame of the Euro-VO Data Centre Alliance and Facility Centre, was targeted at participants from data centres and large projects in order to provide the knowledge and experience to enable them to publish a range of datasets to the Virtual Observatory (VO). Full documentation is available from the meeting web site.

In the frame of EuroVO-DCA Work Package 6 (Support to Data Centres from other European countries), a 'VO info day' was organised in Lisbon (Portugal) on 23-24 October 2008, after the first one which was organised in Belgrade (Bulgaria) in January 2008.

Support to users

As part of the EURO-VO AIDA project, a workshop "Multiwavelength Astronomy and the VO" will be organized at ESAC on 01-03 December 2008.

Seven proposals were submitted to the first EuroVO-AIDA research initiative, aimed at science projects that could benefit from the VO concept. These were evaluated by the EURO-VO Science Advisory Committee (SAC) and by EURO-VO staff, who also provided a technical assessment. This was done also by inviting the PIs to a one-day workshop in September at ESO. Four teams were selected and these will now receive EURO-VO support to carry out their projects.

Development of the VO framework

The second Euro-VO Technology Forum was organised in Cambridge (29 September - 2 October) together with the VO-TECH Planning meeting. VO-TECH acoomplishement were presented, and EuroVO-AIDA technology developments discussed. Three EuroVO-AIDA Work Packages deal with 'Joint Research Activities' (i.e. R&D): Interoperability standards, led by AstroGrid; Data Access Protocols and Data Models, led by ESA; and Assessment of new technologies, led by CDS (which includes Web 2.0 for data centres - CDS -, semantics - INAF - and data mining - Univ. of Edinburgh).


EuroVO-AIDA also has a very active Work Package dealing with Outreach, led by INAF. The contact person is Massimo Ramella.

The EuroVO-DCA projects ends on 31 December 2008. The coordination of the Euro-VO Data Centre Alliance will continue through EuroVO-AIDA. Pending to EC approval, VO-TECH, which is also supposed to end at the end on 2008, may continue for six additional months. Part of its technological activities, in particular those relevant to the interoperability standards, will be pursued in EuroVO-AIDA.

France VO

This report summarizes F-VO activities since the last report, which was posted in April 2008.

The Action Spécifique Observatoirs Virtuels France (ASOV, which is the F-VO) presented its status report at the annual meeting of the French Astronomical Society (SF2A). This report “Evolutions of the astronomical Virtual observatory” (mostly in French) focusses on European projects (VO-TECH, Euro-VO Data Centre Alliance – EuroVO-DCA – and Euro-VO Astronomical Infrastructure for Data Access – EuroVO-AIDA – for astronomy; EuroPlaNet for planetary sciences) and on theoretical data and services in the VO.

Work on IVOA standards and on VO services has continued at a high level, with participation foreseen in most WG and IG meetings at the Baltimore Interoperability meeting.

The annual meeting of ASOV will be held in Paris (Institut d’Astrophysique) on 12-13 November 2008 and more details on the programme of the meeting will be posted soon on the meeting web page. As usual, the meeting will illustrate the different strands of work of France VO (development of standards, tools and services, VO actions in observatories). The Scientific Council of ASOV will also meet at this occasion, to discuss its future goals and actions in the evolutionary context of VO. Several ‘topical’ meetings will be held the following day, also in Paris (Observatoire de Paris): Theory, Workflows, Planetary science VO, Software bricks for the VO.

F-VO has also continued to be active in European projects: participation in the “Workshop on how to publish data in the VO’ organised at ESO in June 2008, support to the Euro-VO Science Initiative, participation in the Euro-VO Technology Forum held in Cambridge (29 September-2 October), preparation of the Euro-VO Workshop “Multiwavelength astronomy and the Virtual Observatory’, which will be held at ESA in December.

GAVO - Germany

GAVO III has officially kicked off in July. To the previous partners have been added the university in Bonn (Peter Schneider) and the Max-Planck Digital Library (MPDL, Wolfgang Voges' new role) as associate partner. We continued the development of our data center and the underlying software. Notable new features in recent months include (preliminary) ADQL support, improved data discoverability and automatic public documentation or feedback queries; numerous other changes and additions, many of them mainly internal, were implemented, bringing a public software release in 2009 within reach. New services are continually brought online as scientists respond to our standing invitation to publish through the GAVO data center. We have worked further on the SimDB data model and reference implementation, to be discussed in Baltimore (though sadly without physical representation). We are also further persuing a collaboration with the MPDL in evaluating the suitability of their collaboration and publication tools for VO and generic astronomical purposes.

HVO - Hungary


JVO operation has been going well. A stable access to the JVO portal has been observed, and more than 1 TByes of data has been downloaded from the JVO portal. It is apparent that much more data accesses have occurred to the other VO projects through JVO site. Now we are adding more data that are directly accessible from the JVO site.

The Astronomy division of the Science Council of Japan has been drafting a long term future plan for astronomy in Japan. Along with large telescope projects, the databased astronomy through VOs has been listed as one of important key issues. We were asked to draft the databased astronmy part of the future plan, which will be public very soon.

Korean VO


The period October 2007—September 2008 was the 7th year for the NVO development project, and a year in which we used increased support from NSF and NASA to begin a transition to an operational facility. Unfortunately, several of our core organizations found it difficult or impossible to hire qualified people to augment their staffs. This led to a modest budget surplus at the end of the year, but we accomplished somewhat less than we had hoped. NSF approved a no-cost extension for the project. The remaining funds will sustain the team at FY08 levels of effort for about three months. All core organizations are trying to conserve funds and stay involved with NVO work for up to six months by having staff work on other activities at their home institutions.

The NVO Data Discovery Portal matured greatly in the past year, and components were demonstrated at AAS and IVOA meetings. A full release of the Portal has had to be delayed to the first quarter of FY09 as we finalize user interfaces and make final tests of compatibility amongst components. Users of the portal can search the registry, do quick and simple queries to any VO service, get an inventory of catalog objects at one or more positions of interest, and compare images, spectra, and catalogs through the Virtual observatory Integration and Mining tool (VIM). DataScope collects data from throughout the VO for a given position, and the VO Command Line Interface (VO-CLI) provides access to common VO services in a command-line and scripting environment. A user's source tables can be uploaded and converted to VOTables through a table import and conversion tool. Portal components use common user interface elements, such as a table browser that permits sorting and filtering on columns. Pre-release components of the portal were exercised by participants in the 2008 NVO Summer School. All components of the data discovery portal will be directly accessible from the NVO web page.

We mad substantial progress in implementing an operational framework for the VO. We now routinely monitor and test distributed VO services, both for aliveness and for adherence to VO standards. When problems are found we contact the group responsible for the service and work with them to resolve the issue. We discussed a strategy for more thorough testing of NVO software applications and libraries and started to put this into practice in the development of the data discovery portal components. We extended user documentation, deployed new standard templates for web applications, and designed a new NVO home page that emphasizes functions instead of programmatic information and presents a much cleaner interface. We adopted project-wide software management tools and integrated our distributed software collection into a common system. We continued to provide user support through our “feedback” e-mail system.

The NVO registry services were updated to the new IVOA standard. This upgrade was delayed many times, primarily because it required complete coordination across all international VO projects. With the new registry standard we also developed a new user interface for querying the registry and a new interface for data and service providers to register their services. We developed the “registry of registries,” a meta-registry service that knows the location of all international registry services and that validates their contents and harvesting services.

Substantial progress was made in development of the second generation image access protocol, SIAP V2, and on a general Table Access Protocol, TAP. SIAP V2 follows the interface model pioneered in the Simple Spectrum Access Protocol, SSAP, and enriches the query capabilities beyond positional constraints to many other observational parameters (bandpass, time, resolution, object name, etc.). It also extends support to data cubes and has much more general data generation capabilities, such as cut-outs and projections. TAP is a general interface to tabular datasets and databases. Both parameter-based and ADQL queries are supported. The NVO team has implemented several prototypes in order to test out the TAP concepts. SIAP V2 and TAP will be discussed at the October 2008 IVOA Interoperability Meeting in Baltimore, and should move forward quickly from there.

The Astronomical Data Query Language (ADQL) specification was brought to RFC this past summer, following extensive discussion at the Trieste Interop meeting in May. The specification focuses on the syntax of the query language, and closely follows the SQL standard but with extensions for astronomical coordinates and regions. As we approach the Baltimore Interop meeting, some concerns remain that the syntax is unnecessarily complex and that this will lead to interoperability problems. We hope to resolve these concerns quickly.

Progress was also made in the area of grid services and integration. VOSpace V1.0 was approved as a Recommendation, and V1.1 was released for RFC. VOSpace V1.1 establishes a fully functional environment for shared, distributed storage. NVO single-sign on services were deployed by NCSA and NOAO.

The NVO education and outreach staff worked closely with people outside the VO projects who are developing a metadata tagging standard for public outreach images and multi-media content.

RVO - Russia

RVO progress report (Oct 2008)

1. Task force "Technologies of RVO information structures" (IPI RAS, led by Leonid Kalinichenko)

Development of the middleware /architecture of subject mediators/ in the hybrid grid-infrastructure of the Russian virtual observatory (RVO) for scientific problem solving over a set of heterogeneous distributed information resources (such as databases, services, ontologies) integrated by the mediators has been continued. The RVO hybrid infrastructure is constructed as a binding of the AstroGrid VO system developed in the UK and of the middleware supporting subject mediators developed at the Institute of Informatics Problems of RAS. In the mediator middleware an approach /driven by applications/ is implemented. According to this approach for a class of applications a specification of subject domain (a mediator) is formed independently of the pre-existing information resources. An example of implementation in the hybrid architecture of a subject mediator for solving of distant radio galaxies discovery problem is presented (http://synthesis.ipi.ac.ru/synthesis/projects/Z_Mediator).

Significant part of work in 2008 has been focused on the approach for resource information models semi-automatic mapping into the canonical one assisted by the Heterogeneous Information Model Unifier. It is important to note that the prototype of the Model Unifier that has been developed is a universal tool that assists in development of mapping of various kinds of information models. The process of mapping includes construction of a compiler from the resource model (including data definition languages, ontological models, process specification languages, service specification languages, etc.) into the canonical one with the help of metacompilation tools.

2. The database of Moscow astronomical plate collection and maintenance of the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (INASAN and SAI MSU, led by Nikolai Samus)

We continued the work on the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS). The 79th Name-List of Variable Stars (more than 1250 stars) will be submitted for publication before the end of the year 2008; we are actively working on the 80th Name-List. Having in mind to drop the obsolete rule that variable stars in globular clusters should not be included into the GCVS, we have undertaken preparatory work: identification of all globular-cluster variables and preparation of good-quality equatorial coordinates (retrieved from positional catalogues or measured anew) for them. This work is now finished for about 80% of the stars in the current electronic version of the Catalog of Variable Stars in Globular Clusters, with many mistakes detected and corrected.

We also continued digitization of the Moscow collection of astronomical plates. So far, we have completely digitized more than 1000 plates. We used 250 plates of the field 66 Ophiuchi to further develop our techniques for semi-automatic detection of new variable stars. The result was 274 new variable stars (and about 30 suspects) discovered and studied in the northern half of the field (50 square degrees). The electronic catalog of the Moscow collection of plates of the 40-cm astrograph was made available to the Sofia center.

3. Zvenigorod Scanlaboratory Group (INASAN, led by Sergei Vereshchagin)

The negatives received by AFU cameras are ordered. The archive includes 3800 films received at different stations for an artificial satellite observations in 1973-1984 period. There is a set of negatives received with the AFU-75 cameras at Zvenigorod, Simeiz, Ulan-Bator, La-Pas, Kito and others stations of artificial satellite observations. Camera AFU-75 is capable to trace the sattelite movement across the sky. Diameter of an objective - 21.2 sm, a focal length - 73.6 sm, a field of vision 10 х 15 deg.

The basic parts of observational journals on the AFU cameras are transferred to an electronic form.

Scanning of photographic plates of the Zvenigorod Observatory astrograph is continued. 500 new negatives scans are received. The Karl Ceiss astrograph has the diameter of an objective 40 sm and a focal length 206 cm. The plates size is 30 х 30 sm, covering the sky area 8 х 8 degrees. From the 1972 about 4500 negatives are received.

4. Task force "Observational data archives" (SAO RAS, led by Olga Zhelenkova)

The SAO RAS archive of observations consists of the 16 different digital collections. Since 1994 the archive had been started and to nowadays it contains more then 300000 files of observation data in optical and radio range with total volume about 400GB. The most data are the FITS format files (95%).

In context of GA IAU and IVOA requirements archive data re-engineering is conducted step by step, starting from the analysis of the completeness of the necessary parameters in each collection and the correction, where this is possible, the missing parameters of an observation file. Now we provide the open web-access to the SAO RAS observation archive: http://www.sao.ru/oasis/cgi-bin/fetch?Z&user&ru or http://www.sao.ru/oasis/cgi-bin/fetch?Z&user&en

Data requests realize with the search information system (SIS) based on PostgreSQL server. Each observation file is described in the database tables with more than 60 parameters. They are used for the dynamic formation web-interface, observation file identification and so on. Relations between parameters of different collections of observation files stored in FITS-format and attributes of the SIS database tables set up with the thesaurus that contains all available in the archive FITS keywords. It makes it possible to integrate heterogeneous collection in the archive system. There are no hard constraints to file formats in the system and therefore the new local archive addition does not cause difficulties if to execute sufficiently simple rules in data organisation.

5. Task force "RVO data" (INASAN, led by Oleg Malkov)

The list of Russian and some fSU astronomical Internet resources was recently upgraded. The results were reported in the "Russian Virtual Observatory: Russian and fSU resources to be integrated in the IVO" presentation made by Malkov et al. at 21st International CODATA conference (Kiev, Oct 5-8 2008). The list will be posted on the RVO web-site on November 2008. We also continue to register our resources in the NVO Registry.

6. Publications

Malkov O., Kalinichenko L., Kazanov M., Oblak E. "Data mining in astronomy: classification of eclipsing binaries" 2008, in ADASS XVII Conference, eds. Bob Argyle, Peter Bunclark, Jim Lewis, London, Sep 2007, ASP Conf. Ser., Vol. 394, 381-384.

Malkov O.Yu. "International virtual observatory" 2008, in Thirty seventh international student scientific conference "Physics of cosmos", eds. P.E. Zakharova et al., Ekaterinburg, Jan 2008, Ural State University Press (in Russian), 90-97.

Mamardashvili N.A., Patrakova M.E., Vovchenko А.Е., Malkov O.Y., Kalinichenko L.A. "Integration of Data Mining Tools in the Infrastructure of Virtual Observatory" 2007, in Ninth National Russian Research Conference RCDL'2007, Digital Libraries: Advanced Methods and Technologies, Digital Collections, eds. S.V. Znamenskij, I.S. Nekrestyanov, Pereslavl, Oct 2007, Pereslavl State University Published Press (in Russian), 112-122.

Kalinichenko L.A., Lebedev A.E., Malkov O.Yu. "Data mining in astronomy: classification of eclipsing binaries" 2007, Moscow, IPI RAN, ISBN 978-5-902030-41-6, (in Russian), 1-87.

SVO - Spain


VObs.it - Italy

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

Applications WG

Data Access Layer WG

Data Models WG

Since the last meeting in May, here are the workpackages the DM WG worked on:

Spectral Line Model

Version 0.7 of the AML data model is delayed. 2 possible schemata have been issued beginning of September but no documentation is provided. It is delaying the SLAP.
A new strategy to be discussed: SLAP to be proposed first, with a core DM.

Observation Data model

- The model integrates and generalizes existing classes from Spectrum and Characterisation.
- It describes a Provenance container and an Access container as defined in SSA protocol.
- First example XML documents to appear for this meeting, requirements for NVO footprint service.
- Various examples of transmission curves to be modeled and attached under the Characterisation level4 ( Sensitivity- Variability).

Characterisation DM extension for polarization data

An example of characterization for polarization data will be presented at this interop meeting.

Syntax definition of UTypes

Current progress to define syntax and illustrate various usages of Utypes: metadata publication, mapping of data base columns, utype-based queries, processing validation, etc...
A note will summarise the decisions after the meeting.
Improvements Shorten the names in order to speed up parsing of large documents. Semi-Automatic generation of Utypes from the Xml schema of a DM.
Dissemination via simple services
- An interactive mapper from data base columns to Characterisation Utypes in the case of ad hoc heterogeneous data sets. (SAADA)
- Interactive and trained mapping for data collections (CDS internship)


Syntax recommendation and practice. IVOA Note in preparation. Distinguish units labels and units transformations bound to quantities.

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Following final discussions at the Trieste Interop, work has been completed on the VOSpace 1.1 and Credential Delegation Protocol specifications over the summer and these have been released as Proposed Recommendations. They are both currently now in their RFC periods. There were some versioning issues with the VOSpace specification which highlighted a weakness in the existing Standards and Documents process but this is hopefully addressed in the revised process.

New Working Drafts of the VOSI and UWS specifications have also been released and these will hopefully be promoted to PR status following this meeting. The WS Basic Profile specification was also finally released as a proper IVOA Working Draft but dependencies on VOSI have been identified and these two - WS Basic Profile and VOSI - will now be kept in step.

Starting with this meeting, we will be moving onto VOSpace 2.0 - the RESTful version - and authorization. We are revisiting logging and continuing to look at alternate security mechanisms, driven by industry practices. We will also be considering whether we need to define "web service friendly" versions of VO standards, such as VOTable, and should we be recommending a particular set of software libraries for implementors.

Registry WG

The RWG moved the Registry Interfaces spec to PR status, and the RFC is currently underway (ending just after ADASS). We have had one comment submitted so far, so I would like to hear from the TCG if it would be helpful to extend the RFC period a bit. The one comment that was submitted raised a good issue that I would like to hear more about: it questions the wisdom of basing the required advanced interface on ADQL v1.0. This will be a topic of discussion at our first Registry session.

Work on the revision of the VODataService registry schema, important for VOSI and DAL services, over the summer, perhaps in part because of the chain of dependencies between it, VOSI, and TAP. Nevertheless, in the flurry leading up to the interop, we now a revision with very nice consistancy with the emerging TAP model. Plante has updated the internal WD, and is finishing off the spec. document. We will discuss this at the second Registry session with the hope of moving to PR soon after the interop.

Plante recently received an update AVM spec document formatted for the IVOA process. We will present it at the interop with the plan for commencing an RFC soon afterward.

Plante has been consulting with the VOEvent WG on their document specifying a VOResource extensions for registering VOEvent stream services.

Semantics/UCD WG

Semantics activities since the Trieste meeting.

Most of the work was focused on the "Vocabularies in the Virtual Observatory" document, which was submited as a proposed recommendation on september 12. There were no major negative comments during the RFC, and the Vocabuaries document should pass to Recommendation soon.

A few comments had been gathered since the UCD1+ list of words recommendation in april 2007, to request the addition of new words to the existing ones. And even more requests were made since the Trieste meeting. They arise from specific communities (OVGAFF for earth-orientation parameters), or working groups (DM, VOEvent). Taking these into account, a new list of words has been obtained. It is backward-compatible (current UCD words are still valid in this new list). The new document will be circulated to the semantics WG prior to RFC opening.

There have been discussions between the Semantics WG and other IVOA groups, and in particular:

  • With Theory IG for the usage of vocabularies in SimDB
  • Description of Units in the DM WG
  • Use of vocabularies for VOEvent (a joint session will take place at the Baltimore interop meeting)


Activities since Trieste have focused on discussions and preparations for VOEvent v2.0. Intent is to move this to proposed recommendation stage in coordination with the VOEvent IV workshop at UCSC at the end of April 2009.

VOEvent v2.0 will include support for the representation of time series and orbital elements, for improved references to external URIs of various types, for explicitly referencing external schemata in support of non-native event streams, and for a controlled vocabular(ies) based on the excellent work of the semantics WG. In addition, the WG is investigating different options for authentication via digital signing technologies.

As separate initiatives that will likely result in distinct proposed recommendations, the WG is discussing the Simple Event Access Protocol (SEAP) and Registry support for servers serving streams of scientifically related VOEvent packets. These efforts are not currently scheduled, but one would anticipate significant progress over roughly the next year.

The VOEvent WG continues to pursue collaboration with several extra-IVOA entities, particularly including the internationally sited Heterogeneous Telescope Networks (HTN) consortium and NASA's Gamma-ray bursts Coordinates Network (GCN). We are aggressively pursuing additional event streams, for instance, events resulting from the upcoming Dark Energy Survey to be conducted with the very wide field DECam at the CTIO 4m Blanco telescope.

In addition to VOEvent sessions and joint sessions at the Baltimore Interop, WG personnel will be presenting at the ADASS Sky/WWT tutorial and at the ADASS BOF, "Architectures for Time Domain Astronomy". Several ADASS contributions derive from VOEvent technologies and projects.


VOTable WG

Astro-RG IG

No special activities in the last a few months.

OGF 24 will be held in March 2-6, 2009, Le Ciminiere, Catania, Italy, and OGF26 will be held in June 8-12, 2009, The Friday Center, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. We should condiser to hold sessions in these OGF meetings.

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Theory IG

TIG activities since the last INTEROP were twofold:

1) Since Trieste, SimDB (Simulation DataBase) and SimDAP (Simulation Data Access Protocol) have been on a fast development track (see roadmap). Prototype implementations of standalone services based on the proposed SimDB and SimDAP protocol are under development at various places (Germany, Italy, France, US). An alpha version of a SimDB browser is operational.

A Note dealing with the recommendation process for SimDB was submitted in July. This Note focuses on the features that require special attention in the evaluation of SimDB proposal.

The bunch of people working on the SimDB WD proposal has been recently extended to Norman Gray and Mireille Louys for respectively semantics/ontology and data modelling aspects.

For the SimDAP, an issue about the exchange data format has been pinned down. This will be discussed during the INTEROP.

2) For the so-called micro-simulations field (i.e. simulations that are not in the 3D+time space), it was decided in Trieste to perform a requirement analysis and thus to contact scientists who expressed interest in Garching DCA workshop in April. This action is still opened.

In the meantime, a Note about the Simple Self-described Service (so-called S3) protocol for microsimulations should be submitted just before the INTEROP by SVO. Two prototype implementations have been developed and demos will be done during the INTEROP.

A prototype implementation of SimDB applied to microsimulations has also been developed and results will be reported during the INTEROP.

Stds & Process

The Web page of the Standing Committee on Standards & Processes has been updated and maintained. Topics relevant to the SCSP often arise from questions from WG leads, document authors, or the docment coordinator. Two sections of the web page keep track of these questions: "FAQ" and "Discussion topics relevant to SCSP". Have a look at these pages if you want to see the list of topics. The SCSP web page also records the Committee history, and the web page of its predecessor, the IVOA Standards & Processes WG.

The updated version of the IVOA Document standards (V1.10), prepared by R. Hanisch, which had been ready for several months, has been submitted tp RFC on 16 September 2008. Numerous comments were recieved and will be assessed by the Committee during the Baltimore Interoperability meeting.

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Topic revision: r28 - 2008-10-29 - DaveDeyoung
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