IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM49)

Sunday May 12, 2013 @ 16.00



Room 106


  1. Roll Call and Agenda (MA)
  2. Minutes of TM48
  3. Review of Actions (MA)
  4. Project Reports [Significant Events Only]
  5. TCG status
  6. WG Reports
  7. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  8. WG/IG chairs/deputy chairs with expiring terms
  9. IVOA Exec Chair and Vice Chair
  10. IVOA Secretary
  11. IVOA Web pages and Document Repository
  12. Future Interops
  13. Date of Next Exec Meeting
  14. AOB
  15. Review of Action Items (MA)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA




The Australian VO is pleased to inform about an on-going, well-funded project.

The All-Sky Virtual Observatory project is the first step towards building a federated network of datasets from all types of astronomical facilities in Australia. The project consists of two sub-projects:

SkyMapper, which will provide an integrated and comprehensive environment for the hosting, analysis, and exploration of the SkyMapper Southern-Sky Survey.
TAO (the Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory), will provide access to several cosmological simulations and galaxy formation models and processing on Swinburne University's super-computer.

Together, these will provide a direct and vital link between the theoretical and observational aspects of data collection and analysis. For more information please refer to the About Pages.

The aim is to fully release the TAO service by the end of this year and the SkyMapper service once SkyMapper data becomes publicly available.The SkyMapper service will also be used to support the internal data reduction.

In addition the Australian AstroInformatics school in Brisbane earlier this year had some focus on VO access through Python and Australia will also host the AstroInformatics 2013 in December.



Call for requirement is underway for the CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) projects. A takeoff meeting was held on April 16. 7 working groups were formed, including architecture, proposal system, data archiving, data access, HPC, software and utilities, education and public outreach.


The CADC has implemented prototype DataLink and Cutout services to support access to data via our TAP service and the ObsCore data model. The Cutout service supports cutouts in position and energy axes using STC-S and we have example CGPS and ALMA data cubes in the system for demo purposes.

The CANFAR project continues to support the use of grid and cloud services for astronomers, using VO protocols wherever possible. Our VOSpace-2.0 service is used heavily to support both data processing and distribution of data to project teams and the public. We are currently implementing RESTful web service interfaces for VM-On-Demand and cloud-based batch processing.

The CADC has begun issuing Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to publish data resources through an agreement with DataCite Canada. Users are now using their CADC VOSpace to organize their own content that is referenced by publication.

The CADC is now operating it' own publishing registry for the cadc.nrc.ca authority. This registry as implemented using AstroGrid software and is included in the IVOA registry of registries.


Euro-VO activities since the beginning of 2013 are described at http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/IvoaExecMeetingFM50.


Scientific and technical support to the CoSADIE Euro-VO School @ ESAC 5-7/Feb/2013 on the VOSpec tutorial

Start of a contract with a Greek company late April 2013 for the maintenance, operations of the current Euro-VO Registry, together with a complete re-engineering to improve performance and long term operations and maintenance. A representative from Neuropublic will attend the Heidelberg interop.

France VO

France VO activities since the beginning of 2013 are described at http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/IvoaExecMeetingFM50.


GAVO continues to run its Heidelberg and Potsdam data centers, where Heidelberg has added some larger non-orginal catalogs (e.g., WISE and Supercosmos) to its TAP-queriable catalog collection, as well as the public high-energy Auger data. Particularly welcome are contributions by astronomers we had no previous contact with (e.g., VLBI in Lockman Hole, arcs in CARS).

We continue the development of the relational registry; after a year in internal working draft state the specification is now an official working draft, with registries operational in Heidelberg, Potsdam, and Trieste. Heidelberg has also developed a web-based, simplified interface to the relational registry data that enters alpha at this interop.

The other focus of GAVO's standards work have been utypes, with two members being in the utypes tiger team. In our work on the Provenance data model, we have commenced our collection of use cases, our development of a data model for describing processing steps, and we are researching what Provenance-type information is in use, e.g., in existing FITS files.

GAVO is proud to host this spring's interop. We will furthermore host a second international workshop in Heidelberg soon, the CoSADIE Data Center Forum (http://www.g-vo.org/cosadie-dcforum) June 10 and 11.




Since last October Japan-VO had a very busy time for replacing our computer system, which was finished at the end of February. The new system is designed to incorporate not only data from the Subaru telescope, but data from ALMA, Nobeyama (the 45m radio telescope and the ASTE), the VERA (VLBI Exploration for Radio Astrometry), and Solar data. In total our new computer system serves a large storage of more than 6 PB.

The JVO portal has evolved to include the ALMA data service. The publically available Sciencitic Verification data are accesible from the JVO portal together with ALMAWebQL and a new dedicated application, Vissage. Our young colleagues will present ALMAWebQL and Vissage during the application session at the Heldelberg interop.

Ukraine VO


This past year saw the successful deployment of updated and enhanced versions of all VAO science applications. The Data Discovery Tool (DDT) incorporated a new display interface with sky coverage “footprint” overlays, embedded image previews, an improved user interface, and SAMP (Simple Applications Messaging Protocol) support. The DDT is widely used and is often the first step in discovery of multi-wavelength data for further analysis. The Spectral Energy Distribution builder and analysis tool Iris was enhanced with an integrated desktop user interface, more versatile graphics, plug-in capabilities that allow users to add their own fitting functions, and SAMP support. A final release scheduled for May 2013 will include co-plotting, red- and blue-shifting, interpolation, and calculation of integrated quantities. In 2012 and 2013 there have been more than 500 downloads of the Iris package. The Scalable Cross-Comparison (SCC) service saw improvements in the user interface, incorporation of SAMP support, and the addition of several key catalogs (WISE, PPMX, DENIS3, UCAC3, TYCHO2); SDSS DR9 is being added now.

VAO/VO services reached new levels of stability and compliance, with growth from 8,400 services to 9,300 services over the past year. Overall uptime exceeds 99%, and overall compliance of VAO member organization services with VO standards now exceeds 80%. (Most “violations” are minor and of little consequence for properly formatted queries.) A thorough review of the registry identified ~400 services in the broader VO community that were not being supported, and these were deprecated in the registry. Service growth greatly surpassed service deprecation.

The VAO works extensively in standards and protocol development in concert with the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), and VAO team members have leadership roles in the IVOA Technical Working Group, Registry WG, Data Access Layer WG, and Data Models WG. VAO supported completion of standards development work in the areas of the Registry, Grid and Web Services (VOSpace 2.0), and Data Models (Photometry Data Model 1.0). Other VAO supported standards activities include Spectral Data Model 2.0, UTypes 1.0, Simple Image Access Protocol 2.0, and a sky coverage footprint standard.

Work also progressed on a suite of capabilities for data sharing and publication, including a toolkit for deployed a Table Access Protocol (TAP) server, an improved user interface to registering services in the VO Registry, and a “Dropbox-like” environment for data sharing in research collaborations. Progress on support for data cubes increased rapidly toward the end of the past year, this being a major thrust area for the remainder of the VAO program. Revision to the VAO Registry itself were undertaken to bring the VAO implementation up to date with the most recently agreed registry standards and to support a TAP-based query interface.

Design specification and prototype implementations for Python interfaces to VO protocols and services were developed, both in a “pure Python” mode (for easiest integration into a user’s scripting environment) and in a higher-level interface, VOClient. We are coordinating work with the AstroPy collaboration in order to reach the increasing number of astronomers whose data analysis environment / language of choice is Python.

Professional engagement activities in the past year included two Community Days: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (November 14, 2012) and Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore (November 29, 2012). Each event featured VO demonstrations and tutorials and attracted about 50 participants. VAO had an exhibit at the January 2013 American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, CA, and team members and collaborators also presented 12 poster papers. VAO team members also provided lectures and tutorials at the Penn State Statistics Summer School (June 2012), the NASA Exoplanet Sagan Summer Workshop, Pasadena (July 2012), and at the Brazilian National Astronomy Meeting and Brazlian VO Summer School (Sao Paulo, November 2012). Materials from these community outreach events are available through the VAO website.


South Africa VO

South African Astroinformatics Association (SA3): SA3.pdf


(Since Feb 2013)

Manpower: 8 FTEs. The SVO Thematic Network (people from Spanish institutes with interest in the VO) is composed of almost 200 participants from more than 30 labs.


  • Solano, E.; Gutiérrez, R.; Alacid, J. M.; Jiménez-Esteban, F.; Velasco, A.
    • Title: The Gran Telescopio Canarias and Calar Alto Virtual Observatory compliant archives
    • Proceedings of the X Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society
    • 2013hsa7.conf..932S

  • Eiroa, C.; et al.
VO standards:

  • Rodrigo, C.; Solano, E.
    • Title: Photometry and the Virtual Observatory
    • Proceedings of the X Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society
    • 2013hsa7.conf..953R

  • Rodrigo, C.; Solano, E.; Pulido, R.
    • Title: Asteroid precovery. A citizen-science project using the Virtual Observatory
    • Proceedings of the X Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society
    • 2013hsa7.conf..995R

  • Conferences:
    • Title: Identify potentially hazardous asteroids using the Virtual Observatory
      • Science Museum. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. March 2013
      • Science Museum. La Coruña, Spain. April 2013

  • Diago, P. D.; Gutiérrez-Soto, J.; Ruiz, J. E.; Solano, E.
    • Title: Teaching astronomy and astrophysics at the Valencian International University (VIU): Application and use of Virtual Observatory tools
    • Proceedings of the X Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society
    • 2013hsa7.conf.1008D
- Master course at Universidad Granada: "The Virtual Observatory". March 2013


VO-India has recently released AstroStat, a tool that allows astronomers to use both simple and sophisticated statistical routines on large datasets. This tool uses a large public-domain statistical computing package called R. AstroStat has a visual interface that is easy to comprehend and results are presented in a well formatted manner with focus on important output parameters. It uses a third party R library 'ggplot2' to create publication quality graphs. Help sections explaining all the routines in sufficient detail are built into AstroStat. A TAP client has been integrated into AstroStat to access data from TAP compatible catalogs. AstroStat is a significant improvement over a previous similar tool by VO-India for statistical analysis. Work has already commenced on the next version of this application, which will focus on adding time series and survival analysis techniques.

In continuation of VO-India's work in the domain of machine learning, the tool VOIMachine has been developed with a modular structure in which different machine learning tools such as Bayesian Classifiers, Support Vector

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