IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM42)

Sunday October 16 @ 17.00-19:00 Pune

Supplementary: Wednesday October 19 @ 13:00-14.15


The meeting will be held in the Bhaskara 3 Meeting Room at IUCAA.

Transportation will be provided at 16:30 from the Marriott Hotel on Sunday, Oct. 16. A representative from IUCAA will be available in the lobby at the time of departure.

Agenda FM42

  1. Roll Call and Agenda (MA)
  2. Minutes of TM41 (PP)
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Project Reports - Significant Events Only
  5. Report of the TCG meeting and TCG status (CA)
  6. Reports by WGs - WG Chairs
  7. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  8. WG Chairs and vice-Chairs with expiring terms
  9. IVOA membership application from Ukrainian Virtual Observatory (PP)
  10. Possible new IVOA members (PP, AK)
  11. Next IVOA Exec chair and vice chair
  12. The VO in the current global economic situation (PP, All)
  13. May 2012 Interop (BH)
  14. Future Interops (All)
  15. CSP status (MA)
  16. Date of next telecon
  17. AOB
  18. Summary of Actions (MA)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA

NOVA has finally received the funds from Conicet,one of the main research agency. We are installing and testing software to allow uploading data. A national workshop is being planned for next year to introduce users to VO tools. If possible, we will try to synchronize it with the Interop in Brazil, since it needs to be close or simultaneous with the national meeting of the Argentinian Astronomy Society to increase the impact in the local community. NOVa is also in contact with HELIO project to make observations from solar telescopes at CASLEO available.





Activities planned for the next year:

1) IVOA Interoperability meeting

In the last Exec meeting in Naples it was proposed that Brazil could host the Interop meeting of the 2nd semester of 2012. This proposal was discussed in the committee and unanimously approved. It was decided that Paula Coelho and Alex Carciofi will co-chair the LOC. We would like to suggest to the Exec that the meeting be held in the main campus of Univ. of São Paulo, more specifically at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences.

Advantages of this choice:

- No cost to use the facilities - Fast internet connection - Audio and video equipment readily available - Good restaurants nearby


- Hotels are about 20-30 minutes away from campus, but subway and bus services are good (albeit very crowded in the rush time). - Hotels in São Paulo are pricy.

We ask the Exec opinion about this choice for the venue. Also, we need more information about what else must be provided by us (coffee-breaks? what else?).

2) VO School in Brazil

We advanced in the planning of a VO school in Brazil for next year. We contacted the Brazilian Astronomical Society (SAB) and suggested that the school be carried out at the same time of the annual meeting of the SAB. At the moment, the plan is for two independent, near simultaneous events:

a) VO day: this would be a one-day event during the SAB meeting, aimed at a broad and potentially large audience (100+ people). It will consist mainly on talks about VO, but practical activities (short tutorials) are also being considered;

b) VO school: this will be a 2-3 day event either after or before the SAB meeting, at the same venue (which will make the logistics much simpler). The target audience are grad students and post-docs and the estimated number of participants are 20-30.

For this event we will invite 6 tutors from Europe and/or US. The tutors will be responsible for both the VO school and the VO day.

The details for this plan are still being discussed with the SAB executives.

3) BRAVO Challenge

The most important short term goal of BRAVO is to promote the VO among brazilian grad students. With this in mind we are now working on an idea called "BRAVO Challenge". The idea is simple: a challenge consisting in the development of a VO project (to be decided) is going to be proposed to the brazilian community. The target is the 150+ grad students in astronomy thoroughout the country. A possible target is also the large IT community in the country. The winner will get a prize comprising of cash, gear (notebook?) and a perhaps a trip to some research center or conference.


- Come up with a good idea for the Challenge. Ideas from the Exec are welcome! - Contact IT companies in Brazil (Google, Microsoft, etc...) to look for financial support. - The timescale we are working is one year, so that the prize can be awarded during the Interop meeting in Brazil.

Report of previous activities:

1) Use Case Project. In the last Exec we reported on a new project call Use Case Project, in which BRAVO gives the financial support for brazilian astronomers to hire professional IT services to help them developed their VO project. So far, three Use Cases have been proposed to the committee. Ine has already been concluded, another has been approved and the other is still being evaluated.


No highlight from the China-VO since last meeting.


The CVO project continues to work on implementing new features in our TAP service, such as inline table upload, authenticated access to properietary metadata, experimental PQL support, and RSS output format. Users can combine PQL queries and RSS output format to make their own custom RSS feed which notifies them when new data of interest becomes available at the CADC.

We have implemented the draft TAP Registry Extension (TAPRegExt) as part of the VOSI-Capabilities resource in our TAP service.

Our work on implementing a complete VOSpace-2.0 service has continued and we have now implemented most aspects of the current working draft; we have provided feedback that has been incorporated into the draft specification (mainly as clarification, some as changes).

Our experimental Group Membership (GMS) service is functionally complete and operational. We will likely bring a proposal to the GWS working group in the near future.

The CADC continues to provide VM-based cloud computing services to users; this service now uses VOSpace to store and retrieve VM images so users can now share both data and VMs with their collaborators.




France VO


GAVO has hired two new persons; one is already busy working on the new relational registry and on providing packaged VO tools for Debian-based systems, the other will initially be taking up Splat-VO development to update the SSAP interface. We also worked on our data center software, DaCHS, e.g., on easier setup. There's also new code easing generation of SDM-compilant VOTables.

We continued maintaining our data collections, e.g., updating our theoretical spectra service in many respects while moving it to the data center proper, improving access to the Königstuhl plate archive, providing RAVE 3, adding orbits to our ephemeris service, and more.

In standards, we've been working on TAPRegExt, thinking about updating ADQL, TAP details, and more. We plan to spend some time on finally getting a utypes document done.




We are preparing our Quarterly Report for the period July-September 2011, and we will upload that here once it is complete.

We are dealing with a 50% budget cut from NSF, and at least 33% budget cut from NASA. This reduction will have a profound impact on what VAO is able to accomplish in the coming year. However, we believe we will be able to host the May 2012 Interop meeting at NCSA in Urbana, Illinois. We will confirm in the next several weeks.


RVO progress report (Oct 2011)

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

In 2011 the following activity in the RVO area at the Institute of informatics problems of RAS deserves noting. Development of VO approaches based on the mediation of heterogeneous distributed information resources and applied to the problem of calibration of photometry of optical GRB afterglow continued. The core of the mediation infrastructure based on the declarative specification of the problem in conceptual terms and provided for the integrated access to the registered catalogs (including USNO, 2MASS, SDSS, VSX, UCAC, NSVS, GSVC) was refined to make the results practically applicable. Now the system works automatically starting as soon as a GRB is detected and delivering the results to be used in further observations.

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)

The General Catalog of Variable Stars (GCVS), appended via Name-Lists, has got thousands of new entries in 2011. Because of its unprecedented large volume, the 80th Name-List is being prepared in three parts. Part 1 (2036 stars, right ascensions between 0h and 6h) has been published (Kazarovets et al., 2011a). Part 2 (more than 2000 stars, right ascensions between 6h and 16h) will be published later this year. Part 3 (also about 2000 stars) is in preparation. Dozens of corrections to the electronic GCVS have been introduced during the year. Besides 4 Novae given their GCVS names immediately upon discovery in 2011, we announced GCVS names for 10 young variables of special astrophysical interest (Kazarovets et al., 2011b).

Digitizing the Moscow plate collection (its part kept at Sternberg Institute) has slowed down due to technical problems with scanners. However, discoveries of new variable stars using digitized plates were continued. A paper on 75 new discoveries in the 10 deg x 10 deg field centered at SA 9 will be submitted this year. Search for variable stars has been commenced in the 10 deg x 10 deg field centered at the star beta Cas. Dozens of new variables have already been discovered; hundreds are expected to follow.

3. Working group "RVO data" (INASAN, led by Dana Kovaleva)

The revised list of Russian astronomical data resources is compiled (version of June 2011) and placed at http://www.inasan.ru/eng/rvo/rus_res.html The report on activity of the WG Astronomical Data will be presented at the XIII yearly All-Russian conference on Digital Libraries (Voronezh State University, October 19 to 22, 2011, http://rcdl2011.vsu.ru/index.php?&plang=e).

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

Zvenigorod observatory keeps working on the project "The creation of the electronic library of astronegatives received on Zvenigorod Astrograph".

Main task: processing, analysis and maintenance of access to plates archives and observational logs.

Since 1972 to 2005, 3703 negatives were observed and fixed in log.

The basic result: an electronic Astrograph Zeiss scan archive, data reduction and their inclusion into WFPDB.

The information on work science groups, tools, volumes and characteristics of glass library of the Zvenigorod observatory is presented on the INASAN site http:// www.inasan.ru/rus/scan/. The address of a site for viewing of archive of photographic plates of the Zvenigorod Astrograph in a Data Base in Bulgaria is http://draco.skyarchive.org/search/search.cgi

The Main Observatory Telescope: Astrograph Zeiss - 400/2000. It is established in Zvenigorod in 1972. Focus=200 sm. The telescope have wide field equal 8.5 to 8.5 for as much as possible for a large plate with size 30 on 30 cm. Such field of view allows to photograph a long tails of comets, having them on a plate diagonal.

The equipment for the project: A3 EPSON Expression 1640XL scanners with a computers.

Now we are scanning and cataloging the plate images according to requirements of the Data Center in Sofia (WFPDB). Scanning of photographic plates of the Zvenigorod Astrograph: 400 negatives in FITS, TIFF and JPG - formats are scanned in 2011. Now accessible more than 1500 scans in total. The scans was recorded on DVD, SOTA and USB disks.

Have presented the report at conference: European Week of Astronomy and Space Science, 4-8 July 2011, Saint Petersburg, Russia

5. Observational Data Archives Working Group (SAO RAS, led by Olga Zhelenkova)

We carried out step-by-step work on standardization of observation parameters of FITS files, stored in the SAO RAS archive and preparing of science-ready observation data. It includes:

1) integration of information systems for support of observations at the 6-m telescope. In SAO RAS the following systems were developed and supported for a number of years: the interactive system of submission of applications and scheduling of observations (http://www.sao.ru/request/), the electronic journal of observations (http://tb.sao.ru/BTALogs/, local access), the search information system of the observation archive (http://oasis.sao.ru/oasis/cgi-bin/fetch?Z&user&ru, http://www.elbib.ru/index.phtml?page=elbib/rus/journal/2010/part4/ZVP). The architecture of each system has three levels — "client - application server — database server". A web browser is used as a client, the application server is the Apache server, and the database server is PostgreSQL. All three systems integrated at the level of database tables, in order to eliminate duplication of information input and thereby reduce the errors introduced when entering the names of observational programs, surnames of the authors of the programs and observers;

2) we developed the program tool for automatic correction of astrometry calibration of direct images, getting on the 6-m telescope, Zeiss-1000 and the auxiliary telescopes. The tool works on the base of AstroGrid node , locally deployed in the observatory. As a reference catalogues through AstroGrid DCA are used 2MASS and GSC. We use our own astrometry correction algorithms. With the package we plan to held, in accordance with the WCS FITS standard, mass correction of coordinate parameters of direct images stored in the observation archive.

We optically identified of radio sources of the RCR catalogue with help of program tools and resources of the virtual observatory. We designed a prototype of the information system which contains radio, IR and optical data for the RCR sources, collected from digital surveys (VLSS, NVSS, FIRST, GB6, DSS-II, 2MASS, SDSS, LAS UKIDSS) and catalogues (VLSS, TXS, NVSS, FIRST, RCR, GB6, USNO-B1, GSC2.3.2, 2MASS, SDSS, LAS UKIDSS). The system will be used for further research as the RCR catalogue, as other lists of radio sources (http://www.sao.ru/fetch/cgi-bin/SkyObj/, http://www.elbib.ru/index.phtml?page=elbib/rus/journal/2010/part4/ZMST).

6. Publications

Kazarovets, E.V., Samus, N.N., Durlevich, O.V., et al. 2011a, The 80th Name-List of Variable Stars. Part I - RA 0h to 6h. Information Bulletin on Variable Stars, No. 5969.

Kazarovets, E.V., Reipurth, Bo, Samus, N.N. 2011b, GCVS Names for Interesting Young Variable Stars. Peremennye Zvezdy/Variable Stars, 31, No. 2.

Vereshchagin S., Chupina N., Digital archive of plate collection of the astrograph of the Zvenigorod observatory of Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Baltic Astronomy, 2012 (in press).

Kovaleva D.A., Dluzhnevskaya O.B. Russian resources of astronomical data to be integrated in the International Virtual Observatory. In: Digital libraries XII, 2011 (in press).


(Since June 2011)

Manpower: 11 FTEs. The SVO Thematic Network (people from Spanish institutes with interest in the VO) is composed of 177 members in 34 institutes.

New project: SVO has got funds from the Spanish Ministry of Research for the period 2012-2014 (315000 euros).

SVO in Twitter (http://twitter.com/#ObsVirtEsp). In Spanish.

VO-compliance of astronomical archives:

- Official release of the Calar Alto VO archive (http://www.caha.es/the-scientific-archives-of-calar-alto-observatory-a-world-of-discoveries-at-everybody-s-reach.html)


- TESELA: a new Virtual Observatory tool to determine blank fields for astronomical observations (Cardiel, Jiménez-Esteban, Alacid, Solano, Aberasturi). Accepted in MNRAS

- VOTA: A Virtual Observatory tool for asteroseismology. 20th Stellar Pulsation. Conf. Series. E. Solano (oral).

VO Science:

- WISE/2MASS-SDSS brown dwarfs candidates using Virtual Observatory tools (Aberasturi, Solano, Martín). Accepted in A&A.

- The Virtual Observatory and Gaia (II Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Gaia Network. E. Solano. Oral presentation.).

- The Virtual Observatory in action. SF2A. Paris. July 2011. E. Solano (invited talk).

- PHA's precovery using the Virtual Observatory. Solar System Exploration. Bilbao. June 2011. E. Solano (oral).


- The Virtual Observatory and the amateur astronomy. E. Solano. Cuenca. July 2011.


- The six Euro-VO cases translated into Spanish are available from the HoU-Spain web page.


VObs.it keeps active in the following areas: implementing embedded access to the grid as part of data centre services; developing VO-aware data mining tools; developing VO-enabled 3-D visualisation tools; preparing tools for access to the VO for educational/ outreach purposes. Development efforts have focussed on VO-Dance, a tool designed to allow users and data centers to create easily VO compliant services (Cone Search, SIAP, SSAP, TAP) on the fly starting only with a database table or view, without writing any code.

VObs.it staff (M.Ramella, M.Molinaro) are supporting the VO School in Kerala, India (Oct 2011).

VObs.it staff are preparing Terms of Reference for two perspective Liaison Groups: “Education and Outreach” (M.Ramella), and “IVOA-OGF” (F.Pasian). The OGF33 meeting held in Lyon in September was attended: VObs.it staff (G.Taffoni) is drafting the Terms of Reference of an Astro OGF User Group dedicated to processing and data in A&A.

The organisation of the "Astroinformatics 2011" conference in Sorrento (Sept 2011) was supported by VObs.it staff.


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

Applications WG

The only current standardisation activity of the Apps WG is SAMP v1.3, which adds the Web Profile, providing the capability for web applications to participate in SAMP communications. Some prototype web applications making use of the Web Profile for science usage will be presented in Apps sessions in Pune.

SAMP 1.3 is advancing through the standardisation process, though slightly slower than advertised during the last Exec meeting. A PR was posted on 05-09-2011, but this has stimulated further useful discussions, and that version will now not be the subject of an RFC. The arising items are by no means showstoppers, but it makes sense to resolve them while a new version is under consideration. We now plan to discuss these items at the Interop, and issue a corresponding new WD or PR, depending on the level of changes agreed, shortly after the meeting. This will then be moved through RFC and TCG review in the usual way, with the expectation of reaching REC status in early 2012.

A number of other VO-related applications will also be showcased during the Apps sessions as usual; the number of TAP-related submissions is notable.

-- MarkTaylor - 16 Oct 2011

Data Access Layer WG

The SSA-1.1 specification has completed the TCG review period.

The latest WD-TAPRegExt-1.0 was posted 2011-07-27 and has been implemented in several TAP services. The specification is mature and should be ready for RFC in November 2011.

Data Models WG

SpectrumDM 1.1 specification has completed the TCG review. Some editorial comments to be added. Main changes are UCD updates. More difficult ones will be covered by SpectrumDM 1.2

ObsCoreDM TCG review period completed. All comments incorporated to current version. Specification ready to be reviewed by Exec

Review of status of SED DM, PhotDMv1-1, Char2DM will be done during this Pune interop

utypes specification will be one of the first priorities in the next future

JesusSalgado 16/10/2011

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Registry WG

Semantics/UCD WG

Work on Units progressed with the creation of a Unity library by N. Gray. This library is compatible with most of the syntax in use in the FITS, OGIP and CDS representation of units. It will provide a reference implementation of the Units 1.0 document to be circulated shortly in the WG.

There have been again a few requests for new UCDs, but not following the process defined in the IVOA recommendation on updating the list of words. Discussion will take place in the Semantics session in Pune to improve the mechanism. Version 1.3 of the list of words should follow shortly.


VOTable WG

Data Curation and Preservation IG

While the IVOA DC&P list has been very quiet, over the last 12 months there has been an increasing level of discussion about data citation, in part triggered by the emergence of this topic on a wider scale. With more and more funding agencies now eager to measure the impact of research data, it is becoming obvious that establishing standards for citing data products and conventions for accessing the underlying datasets is now a necessity. The (informal) discussion on this topic indicates that the IVOA members are well-placed to provide recommendations on how our community should proceed on this effort.

The subject of describing workflows in astronomy as a way to capture provenance information is also gaining interest, and we will have a discussion on the topic.

Knowledge Discovery in Databases IG

Theory IG

  • RFC period has been extended by one month to allow the community to send comments on an update released beginning of September. The RFC is now closed. Additional comments will get a reply this week. Some sentences will be clarified but no major updated is foreseen. Therefore, SimDM will be ready to go to TCG RFC as soon as possible.
  • SimDAL and SimDB will be deeply discussed during the INTEROP in Pune. Clarifying the TAP implementation in SimDAL and what SimDM/Resources have to be registred in Registries will be the main goal of the INTEROP in Pune. This will allow to envision a SimDAL proposal ready in 2012.

  • Group picture on sunday evening's reception:
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JPEGjpg P1030206.JPG r1 manage 2433.5 K 2011-10-16 - 18:43 SebastienDerriere Group picture on sunday evening's reception
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