IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (FM60)

FM60 - 29 Oct 2015 - (16:30 - 18:00) - Rydges Square Boardroom



Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 (16:30-18:00 AEDT) - Rydges Square Boardroom

Agenda FM60

  1. Roll Call and Agenda (JE)
  2. Minutes of TM59
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Project Reports [Significant Events Only]
  5. TCG status
  6. WG Chairs/ViceChairs/Interest Group Status
  7. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  8. Committee on Science Priorities Terms of Reference
  9. Review terms up for Expiration
  10. Future Interops
    • Northern Spring 2016 - S Africa (May 8-13)
    • Northern Fall 2016 - Trieste, Italy (Oct 21-23; after ADASS)
  11. Date of Next Exec Meeting
  12. AOB
  13. Review of Action Items







China-VO enabled Popular Supernova Project
On July 29, 2015, the Popular Supernova Project was launched. It is the first astronomical citizen science project in China as a joint venture between China-VO and Xingming Amateur Astronomical Observatory. In the morning of Sep. 12, a supernova candidate was discovered by a 10-year old pupil. Another two candidates discoverred on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 have been confirmed by professional observations. Inspired by the progresseses, number of the registered users of China-VO platform raised rapidly to 140K at the IVOA meeting starts.

6 posters from China-VO are accepted by the ADASS 2015.


1) ChiVO is currently migrating our IVOA-compatible services to a new data centre acquired recently, with 1 PB of storage capacity.
ALMA data (only fits) should be again publicly available through SCS, SIA and TAP soon.

2) In terms of development, we are working on integrating all the prototype applications developed
as stand-alone examples into a coherent package strongly-based on astropy (ACALib). This will allow us to
develop a REST API for processing data (ALMA data for instance) online. This API will include stacking
procedures, clumping algorithms, synthetic spectroscopic cube generation and region of interest indexation.
During this process we will try to comply as much as possible with GWS standards.
3) A concrete development to report is the "ElasticSlap" service. The synthetic cube generator of point 2)
uses the splatalogue database very often. We have reimplemented the Splatalogue database using
ElasticSearch, and implemented a complete SLAP service over it. This allow us to quickly search for emission
lines very quickly due to the ElasticSearch engine, and obviously the locality of the service. We need to
address the problem of maintaining consistency with splatalogue before publishing the service through
the registry.

4) ChiVO is now starting a second phase of development with funding for the next 2 years.



The previous report http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/IvoaExecMeetingTM59#Euro_VO is attached to the Exec meeting held on 8 September 2015, TM59. The next report, with the activities performed since then, is at http://wiki.ivoa.net/twiki/bin/view/IVOA/IvoaExecMeetingTM61#Euro_VO (Exec meeting 21 December 2015, TM61)


France VO


The GAVO Data Centers in Heidelberg and Potsdam keep maintaining and developing services. A notable addition is a database of computed atomic lines (TOSS), notable updates include improvements to our registry UI WIRR (SLAP, OAI-PMH support, search for column descriptions) and significant improvements on the global TAP schema since TOPCAT now uses it.

Our server software suite DaCHS grew support for SLAP and user-defined UWS; with many additional minor improvements and fixes, it is now in version 0.9.5. Intensive development work was also done on a generic UWS client written in python.

In standards, we investigated the integration of the VO Registry into the DOI system (report during the Interop), and participated in the evolution of the Identifiers, TAPRegExt, and UWS standards. A note on the discovery of data collections with their associated services is in preparation.

In outreach/education, we had a fairly well-received series of tutorials at the meeting of the German Astronomische Gesellschaft. We are also taking up our series of VO Days at various astronomical institutions in Germany.

GAVO has taken over the operation of the volute version control repository formerly hosted by google code.










• RofR transition to SAO - Established working version in-house; Worked to get source into Git repository and build source code internally; Have set up apache server and a tomcat server to support RofR on DMZ; Will have RofR running week of ADASS/IVOA (Oct 29).

• Iris V2.2 in development and enhancements - Replacing SED viewer using STILTS API (to enable spectral analysis); Revamped fitting tool and metadata browser; Possibly updating underlying Spectrum Data Model from v1.03 to v2.0. In the future, Iris will have a Python API for bulk analysis of SEDs. Also lets users edit their SEDs with other Python tools (more user customization/options).

• IVOA - Mark has been working on Spectral v2.0 & Image Cube; Arnold is working on STC


• SkyQuery V3.0 underwent a couple of rounds of testing over the summer but the testing will most likely continue into the fall. The integration with SciServer SSO and other services (SciDrive/CasJobs) still needs further testing and tweaks. We also have a new cluster on the way that SkyQuery will soon be deployed on

• Simulation DB (FileDB) - the Millenium simulation data has been loaded into FileDB and we already have some use cases with iPython scripts to retrieve that data. We are waiting for new hardware to host that data

• IVOA/VODML - Gerard has a new version of the document out, he's discussing the mapping with the DM vice-chair (L. Michel), there may be some schema tweaks needed

• Integration of various SciServer services with SciDrive is going well; SciDrive itself will need some upgrades in the upcoming months

• Integration SkyServer and SkyQuery with CasJobs with RESTful web services is complete and undergoing testing right now. First release of integrated products under SciServer SSO is slated by the end of the year


• NRAO new archive development (in initial internal science testing): We re-used VO software written by CADC to implement a prototype simple search web interface that spans both the ALMA and NRAO science archives and allows astronomers to download or process data from ALMA, the GBT, the legacy and Jansky VLA and VLBA. Search results are provided by two TAP servers that are lightly modified installs of CADC's sampleTAP software interacting with subsets of the ALMA and NRAO science databases. We initially intended to pair these TAP servers with VOTV for displaying results in a user's browser, but VOTV proved to be difficult to master in the available timeframe due to the team's composition of skills and the project's sparse documentation: we used jQWidgets instead but intend to revisit VOTV for the next phase of the project. Also, the team's opinion is a TAP service that communicates in JSON using CORS instead of (or in addition to) XML would be very desirable for constructing modern web applications.

• NRAO CASA viewer/VO integration (developed, needs cleanup for release): The CASA use case is to allow direct access from the CASA viewer to VO repositories for displaying images in conjunction with the users images. The intention was to enable data discovery, subcube access (invoked through the VOClient API), and display all from within the CASA viewer. We used the VOClient/DALClient library implementation developed by VAO. Some challenges were due to the simultaneous development of the tools and our application using them. Our experience was that once developed the code was reliable and stable, although there was some trouble identifying which portions of the protocol were or were not supported in a given version. During the implementation we found the learning curve to understanding the VO architecture steep, and the implementation less flexible than would be hoped (the implementation was designed to run as a daemon process, while we desired a simple library implementation that could be reused). Finally we found that once implemented there was the need to develop repository specific additions (such as one that did not support full sky queries) to make the final product user friendly.

• NRAO Spectral Service (will be released in December): New tools for retrieval of a limited set of GBT spectra are available for proposers and other interested astronomers. The service will be useful for data mining and users exploring targets for proposal submissions. These services provide calibrated, processed data, including K-band extragalactic megamasers and nearby galaxy HI detections, both from a number of principal investigators. The future addition of other spectra is also possible. Queries sent from existing client applications or simple web forms return XML tables that can be easily parsed in a user-written script. A description of the services, a form for generating queries, and an example Python script is provided at https://vo.nrao.edu/gbtsa/. We rolled our own Python implementation for the service and used Bootstrap to build a simple web front end. It took a bit of work getting validation of the service to meet the documented requirements. SSAP and Cone search protocols were implemented.


• The Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) ( https://koa.ipac.caltech.edu) has released a program-friendly interface to public images acquired with all nine Keck instruments equipped with an imaging mode. The interface is compliant with the latest VO-image access standard, Simple Image Access Protocol (SIAP_ v2, June, 2015). The interface is fully documented at https://koa.ipac.caltech.edu/UserGuide/program_interface.html, and includes a detailed description of the input and output parameters, examples for each instrument, a troubleshooting guide and a web-based query builder that allows users to create queries that are later run from a program.

Science Priorities:

• A telecon was held on October 15 to discuss use cases for time series astronomy. It was attended by, among others, R. Seaman (NOAO), S. Fleming (ST), D. Ciardi (LSST), X. Wu (LSST), S. Groom (IRSA), L. Rebull (IRSA), M. Graham (CACR), A. Mahabal (CRTS, Caltech). It was broadly agreed that the time series protocol described in an IVOA note is a good starting point for developing an operational protocol. There is also a need to develop such in the very near future, as US projects do have schedule drivers (e.g. Kepler)


One of the major thrusts of the NAVO effort is to use existing VO protocols to provide uniform access to NASA mission data. The ‘simple’ VO standards: cone search, image access and spectral access provide easily invoked, position-based queries for catalog information, and the primary image and spectral products for missions. By the end of FY 2017 this model should be implemented for all significant NASA holdings.

Complex catalog queries are supported using the VO table access protocol ,which allows complex queries of individual tables and also supports cross-correlations among tables in a given mission. TAP also allows for geometric constraints and a common framework for geometric queries is being developed.

During NAVO’s first year a major effort has been started to provide the complete suite of TAP, Cone, SIA and SSA services at all NAVO archives. Major new TAP capabilities have been developed at IRSA and MAST, and the HEASARC has begun to release new observation based data services. The VO registry hosted at MAST has been upgraded to be able to handle complex SQL (or more precisely ADQL) structured queries.

The TableLink protocol recently approved by the IVOA is being studied to see if it can be used to provide standardized access to the often complex datasets. TableLink allows printing to not just individual files, but to a complete file structure.

Users can discover the existence of resources through the VO registry capabilities. All current VO services are registered and in future years NAVO will be making sure that these entries provide comprehensive and consistent descriptions of NASA resources.

You can access NAVO’s resources through existing VO tools like Aladin or TOPCAT and through VO aware archives like the HEASARC’s Xamin. New resources are published in and discovered through the NAVO supported US VO registry. Or you can build your own tools to access them: VO protocols mostly use simple, synchronous Web queries. To get detailed information about the access points for specific missions and examples of how to access NAVO services try our NAVO summary pages at:


Similar pages – each describing all of the NAVO services -- will soon be available at all NAVO archives.


Report from the TCG

TCG telecon 2015-09-14 to report on activities and plan for Interop

UWS-1.1: TCG review finished Oct 7,

  • ~4 WG yet to comment/approve
SIA-2.0: extra TCG review finished Sept 30
  • some editorial work (completed)
  • ~1 WG yet to comment/approve
SpectralDM-2.0: additional RFC period Sept 21 to Oct 16

Identifiers-2.0: RFC period finished Sept 01

Reports from the WGs

Data Model Working Group

+ after some deliberation following Sesto, was decided to move forward
+ sent back to RFC; period ended Oct 19; minor comments by Markus have been responded to.

+ delivered updated model diagrams 10-14-2015 with updates to Frame/Transform relations which resolve one of the 2 primary concerns with the model.
+ converging model with NDCube prototype. working on Transform/Mapping components
+ has been iterating with GL on vodml-xml generation.

+ no open issues, waiting for support model(s) STC2 and DatasetDM

+ delivered updated DatasetMetadata document 10-21-2015 with updates to STC2 prototype and comments from Sesto on various objects.
+ working to generalize spectral I/O library code to function on other models (including cube)
+ working with GL on vodml-xml generation.

+ delivered updated vodml document 10-13-2015; along with updated xml resource files to http://ivoa.net/xml
+ working with AR/MCD on vodml-xml processing, have successfully run models generated by 3 different methods.
* ready for approval process. suggested 'how to start modeling with vo-dml' note or quick reference guide.

+ discussion on specific language for new elements is converging
+ with resolution, document should be ready for approval process.

+ presented @RDA in Paris and the Asterix meeting in Strasbourg

+ will have presentation in Sydney regarding Char2 evolution.

Application Working Group

1) HiPS - Hierarchical progressive Surveys:
- new HiPS clients available, notably presented at ADASS (ESA-sky, JAXA-JUDO2, JVO-sky, VAO-portal...)
- new HiPS providers (ESAC, JAXA, ...)
- An IVOA note describing the concept & the method has been delivered (collaborations of some HiPS involved partners => CDS, CADC, SSC-XMM, ESAC, ALMA)
- based on this note, to be decided if HiPS has to be "promoted" as a WD for a future HiPS IVOA standard
=> Sydney Application session discussion.

2) SAMP in HTTPS context:
- The issue concerning the usage of SAMP, and notably WebSAMP, in a HTTP-S context is being studied.
- Presentation and potential solutions exposed during Sydney Application session

3) VODML serialization in VOTable:
- awaiting proposal inputs from VODML involved persons
=> Sydney Application session slot cancelled by the lack of inputs.

Grid and Web Service Working Group

UWS 1.1
+ Currently in TCG Review
+ All comments have been addressed in the current document
+ Waiting for the two 1.1 implementations to complete (close)
+ Still need approval / disapproval from some working groups

SSO 2.0
+ Very close to announcing RFC period
+ Will continue discussions on Authentication and Authorization in GWS II session

VOSI 1.1
+ Changes are to support a scalable /tables endpoint, WD in progress
+ Will finalize details with discussion in GWS II session

VOSpace 2.1
+ Second WD in progress
+ Need to modify schema to match recommendation in XML Schema Versioning Note
+ Need to define the way Node searching is achieved (found that it was omitted from the 2.0 PR)

XML Schema Versioning Note
+ Should be posted just in time for the interop


+Uniform names and ids (B.Cecconi et al.)
+ Poster and discussion at ADASS
+A simple model for a VOFacility derived from a VOResource.
Do we need a Persistent Identifier to synchronise definitions at various places ? (Agencies, IVOA data products, bibliographic services)

UCD working draft: update in progress.

Liaison with other science communities via the RDA project.
Suggestion to use PIDs to develop on the UCD vocabulary.

Cross WGs topics
+ VOFacility Registry
+ Semantics field revision for the DataLink Vocabulary


  • Identifiers 2.0: Some clarifications during public RFC (IVORN now deprecated, just say IVOID; resolution strategy for PubDID not part of standard (but there's an implementation)
  • Registry Interfaces 1.1: Waiting for additional input once the RofR is established at its new location
  • Data collection registration: There's a draft note with an experimental implementation in TOPCAT; but what now looks so good in TOPCAT's TAP window is the not-standardised GloTS. Will have to see how we will go on during this Interop.
  • Spatial searches in the registry: Prototypes in Paris, Development of indexable MOC in Heidelberg
  • DOIs: There is a preliminary python/XSL-based translator between VOResource and datacite metadata -- but many technical issues remain open.
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