IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM58)

FM58 - Sun, Jun 14 - (16:00 - 18:00) - Sport & Kurhotel at Bad Moos

FM58 Supplementary - Wed, Jun 17 - (12:30-14:00) - Dolomiten Saal



Sunday, June 14, 2015 (16:00 CT) - Sport & Kurhotel at Bad Moos

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 (12:30) - Dolomiten Saal


  1. Roll Call and Agenda (JE)
  2. Minutes of TM57
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Project Reports [Significant Events Only]
  5. USVOA organization update (GF)
  6. TCG status
  7. WG Chairs/Vice Chairs status
  8. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  9. Registry of Registries (RofR) transfer from NCSA
  10. Review Expiring/New Working/Interest Group Chair/Deputy Chair posiitons
  11. Review Exec Members Email List updates
  12. AOB
  13. Review of Action Items(JE)
Agenda FM58S

  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Decision for Expiring/New Working/Interest Group Chair/Deputy Chair positions
  3. CSP role in IVOA and Charter review
  4. KDD interest group
  5. Progress on IVOA documents in the ADS
  6. Registry services that are unresponsive
  7. Document / software repository (volute to git/other?)
  8. Future Interops
    • Northern Fall 2015 - Sydney, Austalia (Oct 30-Nov01; after ADASS)
    • Northern Spring 2016 - South Africa (May)
    • Northern Fall 2016 - Trieste, Italy (Oct 21-23; after ADASS)
  9. Date of Next Exec Meeting
  10. AOB
  11. Review of Action Items

Expiring/New/Deputy Chairs

  • Expiring:
    • TCG Chair / Vice Chair (Extendable)
    • DM Chair / Vice Chair (no extension)
    • Grid and Web Services Chair (no extension)
    • Registry Vice Chair (no extension)
    • Semantics Chair / Vice Chair (Extendable)
    • Theory Chair / Vice Chair (Extendable)
  • New
    • Operations Interest Group Chair / Vice Chair (New)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA





BRAVO will host and publish the data of the survey S-Plus, to be observed with the T80South telescope being built in CTIO/Chile ( http://t80s.iag.usp.br/). Two servers and a storage have been recently acquired, funded by INCT-A. A small IT team at Sao Paulo has been assembled and is currently working on setting up the infrastructure. Contacts are been made with other VO national projects, as we study the publishing toolkits already available. Besides the data from T80South, we aim at offering the server to host other smaller databases from Brazilian researchers, and we currently have 3 groups interested. We expect to have the first services online in about 6 months.


Please refer to the project report for TM57




The CoSADIE project, a small coordination action funded by the European Commission since September 2012, ended on 28 February 2015. It allowed to continue the coordination of European VO activities, and to assess all the elements of a sustainable Euro-VO. It worked in close collaboration with the ASTRONET ERA-NET, which gathers the European funding agencies of Astronomy and establishes a European strategy for the discipline. Among its results, a MoU between the Euro-VO partners which represent national initiatives (CNRS, INAF, INTA and the Universities of Edinburg and Heidelberg) and a paper summarising the lessons learnt in coordinating the VO activities in Europe (Euro-VO - Coordination of VO activities in Europe, Genova et al., Astronomy \& Computing, Vol. 11 pp. 181-189), in addition to a detailed assessment of the medium term needs to sustain the Euro-VO. The ASTRONET project ends in June, and the funding agencies will continue to collaborate in a new structure, the kick-off of which will be held on 17 June 2015. They identify the VO as one of the topics for their collaboration.

A new phase is beginning for Euro-VO, with the start of the ASTERICS project funded by the European Commission in the new Horizon 2020 Framework on May 1st. The 'Astronomy ESFRI & Research Infrastructure Cluster’ (ASTERICS) addresses the cross-cutting synergies and common challenges shared by the various Astronomy ESFRI facilities (SKA, CTA, KM3Net and E-ELT). This 15M€ project, led by Mike Garrett (ASTRON), is scheduled to last for four years. One of the main aims of ASTERICS is to enable astronomers to have broad access to the data products of the ESFRI telescopes via a seamless interface to the Virtual Observatory framework. WP4 Data Access, Discovery and Interoperability (4.5 M€), led by CDS, will gather the Euro-VO and ESFRI teams, plus EGO/ET (ESO is an observer in the project). It will develop activities in support for the ESFRI teams for their take-up of the VO framework and for the astronomical community in its usage of the VO, gather their requirements and feedback, and perform the required technological development to update the VO standards and tools. This is perfectly in line with the current IVOA priorities to serve large projects. It is particularly important in this context that the first version of the standards developed to deal with multi-D data, on which the IVOA has been working for several years now, is completed now. ASTERICS will then help to gather the requirements and feedback from large projects to feed the next step.


France VO

The annual meeting of France-VO (ASOV - Action Spécifique Observatoire Virtuels France) was held on 23-24 March in Paris Observatory. ASOV continue to support travels of French participants to the IVOA meetings, and collaboration meetings between French teams, as well as meetings organised to discuss specific topics. The ASOV mandate, which is currently to coordinate French participation in the VO, may be extended to coordination of the technical activities in data centres, following a recommendation of the 2014 Astronomy national strategic exercise.

French teams continue to be very active in the work on standards and applications, in particular on the 'DAL Caravan' of high priority standards for multi-D data, on the completion of Theory standards and on the development of VO-enabled tools and services. It also continues to build bridges between astronomy and 'nearby' disciplines, in particular with planetary studies, with the community which deals with atomic and molecular data in the VAMDC project, and also with the astroparticle community. Relations with CTA had been on-going for several years, and the CTA project has very active representatives from several French labs in the IVOA. ASTERICS will be the occasion to collaborate with new teams working on other "messengers". CDS leads ASTERICS WP4, and several French teams, representing CTA (LUTH), EGO/ET (APC) and KM3Net (CPPM), are also involved.


The GAVO Data Centers in Heidelberg and Potsdam keep maintaining and developing services; notable additions since Banff include a TAP-searchable, up-to-date version of the wide field plate database, scans of historic plates for the definition of the Kapteyn selected areas, the first data release of the Applause database with object catalogues extracted from photographic plates from Potsdam, Hamburg and Bamberg, and the sp_ace spectral analysis service. Our DaCHS server software grew a set of proposed new ADQL features, support for a subset of SDM2, annotations in VOTables, and up-to-date datalink support. We released version 0.9.4 in March. In liaison with Gaia CU9 we work out publication and dissemination modes for future Gaia data releases.

In standards, we put much work into updating the Identifiers REC and published a validator for ivoids; we also participated intensively in working out VO-DML serialisation in VOTables, clarifying the use of delimited identifiers in TAP, cube representation in Obscore, and developing a procedure for errata. Provenance work was delayed by one of the main actors in its development leaving the project.

We made a first release of the IVOA document preparation system ivoatex, set up a volute mirror in preparation for google code shutting down, and prepared the submission of IVOA RECs to ADS (this is still pending the upload of the remaining RECs to arXiv).



The kick-off meeting of ASTERICS, a 4-years 15 MEuro project funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme, was held on 26-27 May in Dwingeloo (NL). ASTERICS fosters a common approach to the main infrastructure programs endorsed by the EU ESFRI initiative (i.e. SKA, CTA, KM3Net and E-ELT) and other world-class infrastructures (e.g. Euclid). Activities of the various WPs started. INAF/VObs.it is involved in the following activities relevant to the VO:

  • education and citizen science (within WP2 – DECS),
  • workflows, authorisation and authentication (within WP3 – OBELICS),
  • data access standards, support to ESFRI projects and scientific community (within WP4 – DADI).
EGI-Engage is another project funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme. Within WP4.3, INAF/VObs.it has started working in close collaboration with CADC/CVO and EGI staff in view of the federation of the EGI and the Canadian CANFAR clouds.

VObs.it and the INAF data centre (IA2) provide support to the following projects: VIALACTEA and GENIUS (EU-funded), CTA, the WINGS survey, GAPS, PESSTO, in particular for the implementation of VO services and publishing of resources in the VO; VObs.it also supports IVOA Documentation resources.A [[http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1R7CX7tDLOx4iq][ (paper on VObs.it (Astronomy \& Computing, Vol. 11 pp. 169-180) [[http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1R7CX7tDLOx4iq][]])]] was also written.

INAF and VObs.it have started the organisation in Trieste of ADASS 2016 and of the Northern Fall 2016 Interoperability Meeting in mid-October 2016. Contacts have started with potential sponsors and local authorities for support.


Japan-VO team has been developing a more user-friendly portal, JVO portal version 2, since last year.
We plan to release its public version in June (this month).

A big wave, "Open data/ Open science", has arrived to Japan. The government of Japan has been seriously considering how to share scientific data among not only science communities but the public. The ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology of Japan (MEXT), which takes care of astronomy, has approached to the Japan-VO team, asking us to demonstrate the current situation in data-sharing with other VO projects. The Japan-VO team is also asked to give talks on the same issue in a few other governmental organizations.

We are not sure if this trend would be beneficial for future VO activities in Japan. We'll see.






USVOA report to the IVOA – June 2015

The US Virtual Observatory Alliance (USVOA) is a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Working Group on Astronomical Software (WGAS), aimed at ensuring full participation of the US astronomical community in the development and implementation of international Virtual Observatory (VO) standards.

  • The USVOA provides US-wide representation in the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), and appoints the official US project representation to the IVOA Exec.
  • The USVOA provides a forum for the US community to review and discuss interoperability standards and to provide feedback on them to the IVOA.
  • USVOA activities are supported by member projects.
  • As a WGAS SIG, the USVOA provides representation and annual operation plans to the WGAS.
The USVOA was endorsed by the AAS (American Astronomical Society) executive council as a WGAS SIG. It held the first meeting at the January 2015 AAS meeting in Seattle. As a minimum, the USVOA plans to have annual meetings at the January AAS, and to hold coordination telecons in advance of IVOA meetings.

The USVOA web page can be found at: http://usvoa.cfa.harvard.edu

The USVOA has appointed Pepi Fabbiano (SAO), Bruce Berriman (IPAC) and Brian Glendenning (NRAO) as US delegation to the IVOA Exec.

Membership is open to all US astronomy institutions interested in the VO. Current membership is listed in: http://usvoa.cfa.harvard.edu/about-the-usvoa/

Highlights of recent USVOA member VO activities and developments:

Full reports and additional details available in the ‘For Members’ page of the USVOA web page.


  • Iris V2.1 public beta released May 11: New, powerful analysis features include integrating under fitted model components, a tool for statistically combining groups of SEDs, and the ability to arbitrarily combine template libraries and table models with other libraries, models, and functions. For full list of features and known bugs, see release notes: http://cxc.cfa.harvard.edu/iris/v2.1/releasenotes/
  • IVOA Development:
    • Spectral v2.0 – doc updated in Feb; in PR/Recommendation phase: Developing spectral reference implementation; speclib v2.0 that reads/writes based on spectral v2.0 DM; including speclist tool that uses library to read/write spectrum files
    • Image Cube – updated in Mar; in Volute; Working Draft; 2 documents: 1) meta data doc 2) Cube DM doc
    • STC2 – Put out diagrams for review/feedback in May – Pre working draft
  • SkyQuery V3.0 currently in Test: SkyQuery is a cross match service. The original tool has been rewritten with a new architecture and query execution plan; it is now supported by a faster cluster, and currently is in beta test. The JHU team is looking for testers who can provide feedback.
  • Integrating various services with VOSpace-based dropbox-type application SciDrive.
  • Starting to integrate SkyServer and SkyQuery with CasJobs (batch query workbench with RESTful web services)
  • For US operations; harvesting and checking VO web logs
  • SDSS is hosted and served from JHU through 2020
  • IVOA Development:
    • Working VODML documents and mapping document;
    • Draft documents distributed to the IVOA DM Working groups.
  • VOspace v2.1 – Integrating with NOAO Data Lab; Working Draft in IVOA
  • Attended HotWired IV; work on VOEvent ongoing
  • Project to rebuild archive architecture and build on top of VO infrastructure from CADC, ALMA, and elsewhere
  • GBT spectral line service in work; reviewing need for DMZ before public access
  • CASA Viewer – read images over VO. Prototype developed, will be in 4.5 release (October).
Keck Observatory Archive (WMKO/NExScI)
  • Developing program interfaces compliant with SIAPv2 for all instruments with an imaging mode.
  • Most of effort was in managing metadata and the WCS headers, as Keck data are inherently homogenous.
NAVO (NASA VO project, including HEASARC, IRSA and MAST)
  • NAVO began operations on October 1, 2015, and the transition from the VAO was smooth and seamless, essentially invisible to outside users.
    • NAVO assumes responsibility for registry, monitoring, web site and repository.
    • Update web site and closeout repository as needed.
    • VAO code housed in GoogleCode, which will now close. Elements of repository will be moved to GITHub in calendar 2015.
    • Set up consistent logging of all VO access to NAVO archives.
    • VAO website transferred to IPAC.
  • T. McGlynn is organizing activities of the newly formed Operations Interest Group in the IVOA. Tom is the interim chair.
  • All of IRSA's catalog holdings are now available via a beta version of the Virtual Observatory's (VO) Table Access Protocol (TAP). Instructions and examples are at: http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/docs/program_interface/TAP.html
  • Usage of VO services within NAVO is healthy. Our long-term goal is to provide coordinate access to data sets within NAVO through common interfaces. Current plans include:
    • Work with IVOA and community to deliver data cube capabilities to the community using SIA V2
    • Expand spectral services at MAST, IRSA, NED and HEASARC for spectroscopic instruments
    • Enhance common model of VO interfaces to incorporate non-mission capabilities of NASA archives (e.g., GOODS interfaces, science tables, survey access, ...)
    • Match capabilities of TAP interfaces to support common and complex queries
    • Ensure common metadata quality and coverage
    • Establish common error message/limits/... in VO services


The VOI project is now fully funded by IUCAA. A new proposal to do do with Data Driven Science has been submitted for funding, with good chances of it being accepted. Two immediate goals through this proposal would be mining the CRTS data, particularly by combining it with other transient surveys, and making an archive for serving MeerKAT data which IUCAA will be obtaining through a major accepted proposal. A novel feature of the activity will be collaboration with biologists to enable them to develop standards and services keeping IVOA using IVOA developments. The proposal would like to address Big Data issues and suggestions for collaboration from other VO projects and individuals are welcome.

Report from the TCG

TCG events since last Exec meeting

  • Telecon held on May 12
  • Face-to-face meeting held today
    • Last meeting for several TCG members. Thank you to all for your contributions.
  • DataLink 1.0 before Exec for Recommendation
  • Spectral Data Model Version 2.0 in post-TCG review
    • Concern that it is lacking reference implementations and validator.
  • Simple Image Access Version 2.0 in post-TCG review
    • Concern that many RFC-like comments arrived during TCG review.
  • Other standards relevant to Multi-dimensional priority
TCG issues
  • Web Assets (as per Exec ACTION TM-56-3)
    • Mailing lists
      • Discrepancies in IVOA mailing lists.
      • Will investigate a user registration and profile mechanism to make management of lists easier.
      • Decision to make WG/IG chairs and vice-chairs responsible for moderating their respective mailing lists.
    • Document repository
      • Currently have inconsistent document paths. Action to flatten the document directory to remove inconsistencies.
      • Investigate automation of Document page tables.
  • Validators
    • Registered services that don’t respond and the publishers that don’t respond to emails.
    • Need a policy to “clean up” the registry.
  • Reference Implementations and Validators
    • A general discussion.
    • Reference implementations and validators early in the process, i.e., before RFC as feedback from implementations can help improve the WD.
    • The variety of standards makes what constitutes a reference implementations or a validator hard to strictly define.
    • A “chicken and egg problem”: implementers of standards often wait for a PR or a Rec before beginning work when it is too late to feed back information gained.
    • It could be a TCG function to evaluate reference implementations and validators as part of the Recommendation process.
  • Recommendation Process
    • Some things not functioning: late comments, lack of reference implementations, compliance checking and use cases
    • Brainstorming of ideas
    • The suggestion is for a review by the Standards and Process committee for review and clarification of the process.Standards and Processes committee to be asked to review the recommendation process with input from TCG
  • Volute replacement
    • Volute/Google Code repository end of life August 2015
    • Recommendation to Exec to request a free organizational account from GitHub.
    • An alternative subversion repository hosted by MD was considered as a fallback if the GitHub solution is not possible.
  • IVOA schema evolution
    • Discussion at this InterOp. If solution is agreed upon, a Strong Note will document the solution.
  • Errata
    • Discussed a proposal from MD.
    • Agreed to have “Accepted Errata” page for standards separate from proposed/rejected errata page.
    • Agreed that the “Accepted Errata” page be reviewed by the TCG and endorsed by Exec.
    • MD will send the revised proposal to go to Standards and Processes committee.
  • Validators/Reference Implementations/Rec process
    • The TCG worked on suggestions at their meeting. They included development of use cases and validation against those use cases.
    • The suggestion is for a review by the Standards and Process committee for review and clarification of the process.
  • Volute End-of-Life Aug 2015
    • What to do next?
    • TCG consensus to migrate IVOA to GitHub account. A suggestion was made to co-locate standards documents and software in one account.
    • As an alternate, SVN and a system maintained by Marcus were floated.

Reports from the WGs


Registry provided a fairly mature working draft for Identifiers 2 (with the goal of formalising various practices around using IVOIDs to reference things other than Registry records). We believe we can go ahead on this fairly quickly.

There is an updated internal Working Draft on an update of Registry Interfaces; this is mainly necessary because of the reformed Registry interface specified in RegTAP, but we want to use the opportunity to also codify parts of the roles the RofR has been taking on, and possibly some other details.

We keep monitoring the health of the VO by using Registry information to validate services. Everyone is invited to Pierre's report in our Monday session. Also, the Exec will receive a list of services uncontactable and presumed long dead with the request to authorise us to remove the corresponding records.

We intend to move our focus to STC queries in the Registry and persistent identifier schemes in the next semester.


  • UCD for planetary and solar physics
    • WD on updated list for UCD terms has been issued on the IVOA repository on May 8th, 2015 , after a first review in the Working group started on 13th of April.The ucd maintenance committee is currently revising the new list .
    • Assignation checks started in collaboration with Lerma , Observatoire de Paris , for various tests sets for Helio and EPN Votable serialisations.
    • Current work on SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) datasets going on.
  • Reference list of facilities, instruments and observatories: initiated by Baptiste Ceconni. Checks on existing resources (ADS, AAS).
  • Recently got request for terms for high angular resolution datasets , and possibly interferometry quantities. Just started .
-- MireilleLouys - 2015-06-12

Time Domain

  • We have now reached a consensus that VOEvent Transport Protocol has matured as far as it is likely to in its current Working Draft form & will aim to push forward to a PR -- perhaps at this meeting.
  • New release of the Comet VOEvent transport system.
  • Work on VOEventContainer is currently suspended pending manpower availability and a better understanding of requirements.
  • Members of the TDIG attended "Hot-Wiring the Transient Universe IV" in Santa Barbara, CA in May. This meeting brought together astronomers and developers with an interest in time domain science.
    • TDIG presented an overview and demonstration of current VOEvent software; http://voevent.readthedocs.org was produced as part of this.
    • An opportunity for requirements gathering and reflecting on possible future directions.
    • John Swinbank will present a summary of the meeting at this InterOp.
-- JohnSwinbank - 2015-06-12


The last period has been very rich in new VO tools or releases of VO tools :

  • JSAMP library/toolkit release (Bristol University)
  • Stat-Lite Android application(VOTable android drawer) (VO-India)
  • TOPCat, STILTS & STIL release (Bristol University)
  • MOC support in the next HEALPix official java & C++ lib (Max Planck institute)
  • Javascript VOTable parser (CDS)
  • Iris v2.1 beta release (SAO)
  • TAP, UWS, ADQL librairie release (CDS/ARI)
  • TapHandle release (SCC XMM)
The mailing list activity mainly concerned two main topics:
1) VOTable:
  • Banff's COOSYS decision has been published with no bad reactions (COOSYS re-introduction until a better solution is defined => VODML ?)
  • The string Unicode binary coding solution debated in Banff's seems to not cover all cases => more discussions are probably required
  • VODML mapping in VOTable => Convergence of participants + Draft updated + awaiting some implementation feedback (will be discussed in Sesto DM2 session)
2) Several JSAMP issues have been highlighted (https, multi-user environnement,PLASTIC old lib)

-- PierreFernique - 2015-06-13

Education IG

  • Three new Euro VO use cases for the education versions of Stellarium and Aladin (two are easy primers of interest for general public, not limited to education)
  • All EuroVO use cases loaded in the SVN repository
  • Revised Euro VO website for education. Use cases now directly linked to SVN Repo. Euro VO website renamed vo-for-education
  • Revision in progress of the parameters for retrieval of astronomical objects of educational interest from Simbad in Aladin
  • First education version of the software SPECFLOW (Michèle Sanguillon, Université Montpellier) tested with interested users. Significant feed-back already gathered
-- MassimoRamellaINAF - 2015-06-14

Data Access Layer WG

  • TAP, ADQL : proposal of errata Notes by Marco. available on Volute.
  • TAP 1.1 and ADQL 2.1 internal draft published
  • DataLink: post TCG reviews fixes. SPLAT (Gavo) and TapHandle (Strasbourg SSC XMM) as a client implementation interoperable with server reference implementation (Dachs/gavo and CADC ).
  • SIAV2 : TCG review started after Interop. made a lot of comments. Took long to take into account. Question of the syntax still discussed among authors even is this was not changed in the new version of the PR. Reference implementations (AMIGA, and CADC )and client implementation
  • AccessData : Compromise between previous draft and 3 factor semantics/atomic parameters; Apparently achieved in Calgary/, but still in discussion.....
-- FrancoisBonnarel - 2015-06-14

Data Model WG

SpectralDM 2.0

Document stable, waiting for one pending implementation already provided

Somes comments received fue to this implemenation. Discussions to be taken to either update the spec covering some of the

suggestions or close SpectralDM 2.0 (and wait for recommendation) and include proposals into a possible SpectralDM 2.1

ObsCore 1.1

Stable draft provided in Sesto


Document stable with enough implementations

PR to be released after Sesto if agreement is obtained

VO/DML mapping

Working in a public draft in coordination with Apps. Not clear schedule yet


Initial discussions on the scope within a small team

CubeDM 1.0, DataSetDM 1.0

Parallel activities. Documents stable. Waiting to have implementations in coordination with SIAv2 DAL spec

STC 2.0

Preliminary stable UML provided.

-- JesusSalgado - 2015-06-14

Grid and Web Services WG

The GWS has a good level of activity with 3 "well filled" sessions in Sesto. A mix between standard discussions and other talks.

  • VOSpace update to 2.1 is going on, the last Working Draft will be discussed during the first Sesto GWS session. The next Working Draft should be agreed just after Sesto and the PR (between Sesto and Sidney) will depend on the implementations.

  • UWS update to 1.1 is on the way to the PR, after the last presentation of UWS1.1 in the second Sesto GWS session, if everybody agree we will propose to go to the PR. Concerning the implementations we have at least CDS/ARI and CADC.

  • SSO update to 2.0 has started after Banff with a first Working Draft published the week before Sesto. This document is based on the discussion held in Banff. Why not a 1.1 version ? In the new version the part concerning SOAP has been removed and the document has been significantly modified.

  • PDL will probably evolved in the coming year with several proposals which will be presented in the third Sesto session.

  • A minor version of the VO Support Interfaces document should commence after Sesto in order to support a more scalable VOSI tables interface.

  • We will be holding a splinter session on XML Schema evolution on Wednesday afternoon.
-- AndreSchaaff - 2015-06-14
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