IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (TM21)

Tues Dec 5 2006 @ 15.00-16.30 GMT


Telecon: Check email from Bob Hanisch 27 Nov 2006 - let him know how you will connect to the NASA telecon service by 30 Nov 2006.


  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  2. Minutes of FM20
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  5. Status of the IVOA assessment (FG/DDY)
  6. WG/IG/Standardisation process: RW to report on
    • Recommendation process (Identifiers, Registry Metadata, UCD list)
    • Nominations for vice chairs
    • Evolution of the Apps IG
    • Term limits: list of WG chairs at and beyond a 3-year term
    • Status report on SSA, VOQL, EPO metadata
  7. Status of the Assessment of Implementation of IVOA standards in Data Centres (DS/CA)
  8. Status of the preparation of the Beijing Interoperability meeting (CC)
  9. Future Interop meetings
  10. Schedule of other IVOA-related events (all)
  11. Data and Venue of the next Exec meeting (telecon?)
  12. AOB
  13. Summary of Actions

Reports from the Projects


Recently the Armenian VO received a new office in Byurakan. There are 6 persons working for ArVO: Areg Mickaelian (PI), Tigran Magakian (Project scientist), Lida Erastova, Lusine Sargsyan, Lilit Hovhannisyan, and Parandzem Sinamyan. Two more students are involved in the project as well. ArVO continued its development on the collaboration between its team based in the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) and the Institute of Problems of Informatics and Automation (IPIA) of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences. The IPIA has a powerful Armcluster computer, where a number of large scientific projects are being carried out. The IPIA allocates software experts for joint work with the Byurakan team members (all are astronomers). A 1TB disk space has been allocated on the ArmCluster for ArVO's activities. This will be used for a number of large astronomical catalogs, and the tasks that will run on the Armcluster will be cross-correlations between large catalogs (including the DFBS spectroscopic database), theoretical calculations, and modeling.

The DFBS Roma web interface (DFBS portal) is almost finished. A.Mickaelian will visit Rome this December to finalize the tasks, and to start the low-dispersion spectra classification works. ArVO team member L.Sargsyan will have a 2 months stay in Rome for this work. It is planned that the users will have access to all 40,000,000 spectra and their suggested classification, which will allow to select objects of necessary types, make samples, study definite fields, etc.

The Digitization works of the Byurakan archive plates are being continued. The digitized Byurakan plates will make up the main part of the Armenian astronomical data centre. The establishment and utilization of the Virtual Observatories standards in Armenia is being continued, too.


AstroGrid has focused on four areas during the last few months. The first is a continued series of science user workshops at UK universities. As well as publicising the use of the VO in the science community, these events produce very valuable feedback. The second area is refreshing our public appearance. We have a new web site using the Plone content management system, with gradually increasing documentation. The third area is working with data centres to publish data, especially ADQL style queryable databases, using our DSA components. Other international projects and data centres are becoming interested in using our DSA components. The third area is increasing tools availability through the AstroGrid workbench. With our European colleagues in VOTECH, a number of applications are now becoming "PLASTICised", but the workbench also has an explicit "helper application" section which includes Aladin, Splat, Gaia, Topcat, VisivO, and Vospec. The fourth area of concentration is background engineering, making our components faster, more robust, and reliable.

The AstroGrid-2 project ends in December 2007. We have however submitted a proposal to PPARC for a new project, called "AstroGrid : VO service for the UK", which moves us into an operational service. We will know the result of this application by early spring 2007. To be ready for an operational service, all four of the above areas (user outreach, documentation, data publication, and component performance) need considerable continued work during 2007; but we are confident that we are on track.


During the two months after Moscow interoperability meeting, the following news is noticeable:

A funding of 270,000 RMB (about 34,000 USD) was awarded by NSF-China to the China-VO project for developing a stable version of SkyMouse in the coming 3 years. SkyMouse is a smart system developed by China-VO project to let you access different online resource systems easily then ever. Not like some VO efforts on uniformed access systems, for example, NVO DataScope and AstroGrid AstroScope, SkyMouse tries to show a comprehensive overview for a specific object, but not to snatch as much data as possible.

VO-DAS, a data access service environment based on OGSA-DAI, is still under developing. A test version will be available before Chinese Spring Festival, and we are trying to release the first version to the public before next IVOA interoperability meeting.

Catherine Qin from AstroGrid installed a set of AstroGrid system on a server located in Beijing. Installed components include “community”, “registry-full”, “registry-pub”, ”jes”, “filemanager” and “filestore”. Further more, Ms. Qin gave a one-day tutorial on Nov. 28 just before China-VO 2006 annual meeting, about installation and usage of AstroGrid 2006.3. Possible collaboration between AstroGrid and China-VO was discussed in detail. In the foreseeable future, AstroGrid registry will be used by China-VO VO-DAS, and several databases including TwoMASS and USNO B1.0 will be released as AstroGrid DSA services.

China-VO annual meeting 2006 was held successfully from Nov. 30 to Dec 1st, at Guilin, a beautiful city in south China. About 50 representatives from different Chinese universities, astronomical observatories and IT companies attended the meeting. Catherine Qin from AstroGrid and Chan-Kao Chang from Taiwan were also there. The theme of the meeting is “Building cyber-infrastructure for Chinese Astronomy”. During 2 days meeting, about 30 talks and a free discussion were presented. This meeting is the largest and most successful one among 5 China-VO annual meetings that were ever held, and will be an important milestone for the China-VO.

About the next IVOA meeting, we surveyed several conference centers and hotels. The meeting will be held in Jianguo Garden Hotel, a four stars hotel locates in center downtown. A big meeting room for two days and 4-5 middle size rooms for three days have been booked. Another two 3 stars hotels are also surveyed for accommodation.

After exchanging information with NSF-China officials, some funding is probably available for the meeting. At the same time, we are trying to search for more from other agencies.


The main VO-related development projects at CADC continue to be the development of our multi-wavelength search engine and re-tooling basic archive infrastructure to support current and future VO requirements.

We have added several important capabilities to our search engine and data delivery services, including on-the-fly correction of FITS WCS in headers of multi-extension FITS (MEF) files and on-the-fly compression of all outgoing data. We have also implemented image cutout operations in MEF files, including support for producing an MEF cutout when the region of interest overlaps boundaries between extensions. With these features and the new MEF support in Aladin, we can now deliver and display entire images and cutouts from public CFHT Legacy Survey data. We have added additional value-added content like image stacks for CFHTLS data (CFHTSG collection) and HI images from Canadian Galactic Plane Survey (CGPS). In addition, we have harvested metadata from a large number of external data sources, including XMM and ISO (ESAC), Chandra, FIRST, GALEX, IRIS, RASS, and Spitzer.

CADC continues to work on improving our internal infrastructure through the design and implementation of our Common Archive Observation Model (CAOM), which we presented as a poster at ADASS.

VObs.it Italy

2006 was the first year of VObs.it as a separate project. The activities carried out showed a slow start but a steady increase of interest for the use of the VO, and for allowing public access through IVOA standards to private or institution archives.

INAF funded VObs.it in 2006 with 110KEuro, to cover 3 post-doc positions and travel. Unfortunately, such resources have been used as an advance for the EU VO-Tech project, whose payments are late. A slightly higher request was made to INAF for 2007. CINECA participates in VObs.it activities in the framework of the 2005-2007 agreement made with INAF.

Among this years’ activities, the following can be noted: a) the start of public operations of IA2, the INAF data centre located in Trieste and containing TNG data and soon data acquired during the Italian time at the LBT; b) the registration of the VIMOS reduced data archive and data processing services at IASF Milan; c) the initial phase of work to port a number of data centres (most notable, the archive of uncompressed GSC II images from STScI in Turin) into the VO; d) the creation of a first core of ITVO (Italian Theoretical VO) involving Catania, Trieste and CINECA; e) the participation of VObs.it in the VO-Tech and VO-DCA projects funded by EU/FP6; f) the participation of VObs.it in the definition of IVOA standards.

The ASI Science Data Centre (ASDC) is expected to progressively bring its data and services within the VO in the next months. Its participation in VObs.it was recommended by the ASI-INAF Steering Committee at its June meeting.

The first VObs.it Workshop was held at INAF-OARoma on November 23–24 with the participation of 40 scientists. In the 21 presentations made, many proposals were received to include private or observatory archives and databases into the VO. A proper census is being made, which will be fed into the VO-DCA census at European level, and VObs.it resources will be assigned following well-defined priorities.

“Grid-enabled Astronomy”, the proceedings of the Grid.it and DRACO workshop held at INAF headquarters in November 2005 are about to be published, as a book and on-line.

Since VObs.it derives from DRACO, a Grid project, Grid-related activities are quite advanced. Work is being invested in allowing the compute-intensive VO applications to run on the Grid, and viceversa Grid applications to access VO resources, so to allow a smooth two-ways integration of the two standards. Within the VO-DCA project (recently kicked-off) the VObs.it team leads a WP investigating the use of Grid standards within the VO, and in particular the possible interactions between Euro-VO and EGEE. The kickoff meeting of this WP was held in Trieste on Nov 30 – Dec 1.

A first definition of the Simple Numerical simulations Access Protocol (SNAP) prototype was made, and has been discussed at the IVOA Interoperability meetings. A first prototype application implemented over SNAP is the integration with VisIVO, while the integration of access to numerical simulations with virtual observations tools is being worked upon.

Work on generalised UCDs and ontology, developed in close collaboration with CDS and work on 3D visualisation (VisIVO) and data mining techniques (AstroNeural)are also progressing in the framework of the VO-Tech project. VisIVO, and its integration with other VO applications through PLASTIC was successfully demonstrated at the IAU SPS3 in Prague.


The Euro-VO Web site (http://www.euro-vo.org/pub/), aimed at providing information about the VO and Euro-VO to scientists and technical staff, should have been mentioned in an earlier report. It also offers a help desk (http://help.euro-vo.org/esupport/).

The second meeting of the Euro-VO Science Advisory Committee (SAC) took place on 22 November 2006 at ESRIN, Frascati, Italy. The SAC was briefed on the latest Euro-VO developments and plans. Some SAC members reported on their testing of EURO-VO tools, which was overall positive. The Euro-VO project has decided to follow the SAC's suggestion of having a "science verification" call for proposals. This will be aimed at the support of a small number of teams to work on science projects using VO tools. The project is currently working on the Announcement of Opportunity.

The Euro-VO Data Centre Alliance project started on 1 September 2006 (http://cds.u-strasbg.fr/twikiDCA/bin/view/EuroVODCA/WebHome). This is a Coordination Action, funded by the European Commission at a level of ~1.5 Meuros on 28 months. The main aim is to assist European Data Centres to take-up VO standards and to share best practice, and to gather feedback from implementation. Specific actions are also programmed on the definition of a framework for Theory in VO and on coordination with the computational grid. Eight partners participate in the project: CNRS/INSU (FVO, coordinator), ESA, ESO, INAF (VObs.it), INTA (SVO), MPG (GAVO), the University of Groningen representing NOVA, and the University of Leicester representing AstroGrid. Project coordinator: F. Genova, Project Manager: M. Depretz, Project Scientist: M. Allen.

The project has 6 Work Packages:

  • WP1: Project management (INSU)
  • WP2: Medium Term DCA strategy (INSU), which will produce in particular a census of European data centres and a Medium Term Strategic Plan. One of the first products of Euro-VO DCA is a definition of data centres in the VO context (http://cds.u-strasbg.fr/twikiDCA/bin/view/EuroVODCA/DataCentresinVO)
  • WP3: Support to take-up and implementation of the VO framework (ESA/ESO), which contains WP3-2: Implementation feedback (AstroGrid). The next Euro-VO Workshop will be organised by WP3. It will be held in June 2007 in Villafranca (lead organizer: ESA).
  • WP4: Theory in VO (GAVO)
  • WP5: Coordination with computational grid projects (INAF)
  • WP6: Support to data centres from other European countries (INTA)

A Theory and a Grid Workshops will be organized by WP4 and WP5, probably diring the second semester of 2007, consecutive and at the same location to facilitate attendance. A specific Workshop on "Spectroscopic Science and the Virtual Observatory" will be organized by WP3 at ESA during the first quarter of 2007.

Posted by F. Genova, 4 December 2006

France VO

France-VO activities since the IAU meeting in August 2006:

(1) The Action Specifique Observatoires Virtuels France (AS OV) held its annual meeting in Paris on 28-30 November 2006. Projects and Working Groups presented their activities, and the European context (in particular with the beginning of the EuroVO-DCA project) was discussed. All presentations and the meeting conclusions will soon be made available on the meeting web site (http://www.france-vo.org/twiki/bin/view/ASOVFrance/Reunion2006, in French). The general feeling is that tremendous progress has been made since the Opening meeting of AS OV in April 2005, with a significant participation to IVOA meetings and several teams providing and/or developing services and tools for the VO, with a real commitment of their Observatory/laboratory authorities to these actions. The positive role of the Working Groups supported by AS OV was also underlined, to build a community on specific topics and prepare input for IVOA and/or Euro-VO. The AS OV Scientific Council met in the afternoon of November 30th, to prepare the 2007 AO and to draw the conclusions of the 2006 census in the light of the EuroVO-DCA census action.

(2) Meetings organized by AS OV Working Groups:

  • Geodetics and Fundamental Astronomy Working Group: first meeting on 29 September 2006, OCA, Grasse
  • Databases in Stellar Spectroscopy: 18-19 October 2006, Paris
  • Data valorisation in planetology: 6 December 2006, Paris
  • Workflow Working Group: third meeting on 21 December, Paris
  • Grid Working Group: first meeting on 9 January 2007, Lyon

(3) Technical meetings:

  • Software bricks for the VO, 13 December 2006, Paris
  • A third tutorial for developers (beginner level) will be organized by CDS in Strasbourg in January or Fevruary 2007.

Posted by F. Genova, 4 December 2006


GAVO II is slowly coming off the ground. We will have a kick-off meeting in Heidelberg 13 Dec, we still do not have all positions filled in. Our activities since Prague involve:
  • SIAP on the ROSAT pointed observations, based on a metadata repository storing all FITS metadata of the archive, which can be generalised to any FITS archive.
  • GAVO, in the person of Benjamin Gufler has been active in the VOQL tiger team.
  • Further development on the relational database containg the Millennium simulation data and its web application.
  • Start of a collaboration with the German AstroGrid-D project on possible synergies. This will mainly take place in using Grid technlogy for access to the Millennium database, SNAP implementation and on virtual telescope prototypes.


We made several improvements to the Spectrum Services, though new feature weren't added. The system is upgraded to the latest version of the server framework, which itself produced a speed factor increasing by two, but optimizing the underlying math and IO code a more significant speedup could be achived. A new processing pipeline made querying the database and preprocessing spectra much more effective.

We have started the integration of multidimensional indexing techniques, like kd-trees and Voronoi tessellation with database management systems, our test system is the SDSS SkyServer. When ready this will enable to search or match faster multiparameter objects in various archives.

In collaboration with NVO we have worked on the Footprint Services. This allows users to search, create, visualize, intersect download, publish and program survey footprints from all-sky size to sub-arcsec precision.


1. During its September 2006 regular meeting of the Astronomical Society of Japan JVO officially announced that the JVO portal (data search part only) was opened to the community.

2. JVO plans to implement a Grid middleware (the NAREGI middleware -- NAREGI stands for NAtional REsearch Grid Initiative) to an experimental environment to evaluate the functionality of the middleware. Because the NAREGI project plans to interoperate among the EGEE and the TeraGrid projects, secure single-sign-on to our VO environment, file system sharing and so on might be able to be realized via such Grid middlewares. Anyhow we need to evaluate those middlewares.

Korean VO


The effort in Year 5 of the NVO development project has been focused on completing the core capabilities  the essential infrastructure  that was proposed five years ago. The job is complete, to the extent that any project in the modern IT framework is ever complete. All fundamental capabilities are now in place, yet are subject to changes in technology outside the scope of the NVO. NVO is a founding and fundamental partner in the Inter-national VO Alliance; participation is motivated by achieving global standards for interoperability in astronomy. Participation also implies flexibility and evolution in our standards and protocols and a willingness to accommodate the needs of other projects. To date this collaboration has been extremely successful.

In January 2006 the NVO team demonstrated enhanced and expanded scientific applica-tions at the Washington, DC meeting of the American Astronomical Society. These applications are available from the NVO web site, http://www.us-vo.org/, and include the Resource Registry, DataScope, OpenSkyQuery, Spectrum Services, WESIX (a web services based interface to SExtractor that performs object detection and cross-identification), WCS Fixer (for repairing and improving the sky coordinates in astro-nomical images), sky coverage maps, the VOEvent notification service, the Montage image mosaicing service, and links to other popular VO tools such as VOPlot, Topcat, and Aladin.

We provided in-depth training to science users and programmers in our third NVO Summer School, and Summer School lectures and tutorials will form the basis for a book to be published in 2007. NVO team members participated in the organization and pres-entation of a three-day special session on the Virtual Observatory at the IAU General Assembly in Prague (August 2006). We are running a program of small research initia-tives that funds community-based VO-enabled research, and initial results are just now coming out. The final meeting of the NVO External Advisory Committee meeting was held in February, and the Committee wrote a very complimentary report.

The NVO infrastructure is increasingly complete and reliable, though work remains. Cone Search, Simple Image Access, SkyNode, Registries, and web services are widely deployed and increasingly being utilized. The Simple Spectral Access Protocol devel-opment has reached maturity, and the VOEvent protocol has become an IVOA Recom-mendation. The VOStore protocol for distributed data storage, including methods for supporting authentication and authorization, has reached a V1.0 Working Draft.

The NVO Education and Public Outreach program has focused on building partnerships with experienced EPO content providers and helping them to utilized VO-accessible information. NVO team members participated in a NASA-funded development called Virtual Universe, which uses the standard image access protocol to HST press release images. The NVO outreach program has also pursued other external funding to sponsor workshops for EPO providers.


  1. Meetings: The following international meetings were organised in Moscow:
    • 2006 Apr 10-11 Russian Virtual Observatory Workshop
    • 2006 Sep 18-20 IVOA Interoperability Meeting
    • 2006 Sep 21-22 Small Project meeting
  2. RVO informational infrastructure WG (Prof. L.Kalinichenko, IPI RAS)
  3. RVO development WG (Dr. O.Bartunov, SAI MSU)
    • Project participants:
      • Oleg Bartunov - PI, SAI MSU, Russia
      • Sergey Koposov - principal developer, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany
      • Sergey Karpov - frontend, webservices developer, SAO, Russia
      • Aleksandr Belinsky - system & hardware administrator, SAI MSU, Russia
      • Aleksandr Lebedev - graduate student, SAI MSU, Russia
    • Project web site: http://vo.astronet.ru/
    • During 2006 year SAI RVO team was developing SAI CAS project aiming to provide public VO-aware access to the major and largest astronomical catalogues (SDSS DR5, USNO-A2, USNO-B1, 2MASS point source and extended source catalogues, UCAC-2, NOMAD, 2XMMp and Tycho-2, GSC-I/GSC-II). Besides the rich set of Web services to access this catalogues, web interface suitable for interactive work is available. At present SAI CAS provides ConeSearch, CrossMatch services and supports user uploaded data. Several other services, including Skynode interface and the WCS fixer are under development.
    • SAI CAS was presented at following conferences:
      • IAU GA, Prague, Chech Republic, 2006, SPS3
      • IVOA Interoperation meeting, Moscow, Russia, 2006
      • ADASS, Tucson, Arizona, USA, 2006
      • "Scientific Services in Internet", Abrau-Durso, Russia, 2006
      • "Corporate Databases 2006", Moscow, 2006
    • Funding and support:
      • Grant 05-07-90225 from Russian Foundation for Basic Research
      • HP Russia provided hardware for database server
  4. GCVS and SAI glass library WG (Dr. N.Samus, SAI MSU)
    • The team of the General Catalogue of Variable Stars (GCVS, Institute of Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow University) has added 1706 stars to the list of named variable stars via the 78th Name List of Variable Stars. For the first time, the Name List, entirely available electronically, already contains complete GCVS information for the new named variables. A new GCVS version for 1320 variable stars in the constellations of Antlia, Ara, and Telescopium, including those of the Name Lists Nos. 67 - 78 and taking into account the new draft classification system suggested in August, 2006 to the IAU Commission 27 (Variable Stars), has been compiled and will be open to users by the end of the year. The process of digitizing the plate stakes of the Sternberg Institute with two CREO EverSmart Supreme II scanners is under way. After experiments aimed at selecting the best scanning mode, first 300 plates of the oldest series (the oldest of them taken in 1895) have been scanned at the 2540 dpi resolution. The preparation of the electronic plate catalog of Moscow stacks is near to its conclusion.
  5. Astronomical plate archives of Zvenigorod Observatory WG (Dr. S.Vereshchagin, INASAN RAS)
    • Project participants: S.V.Vereshchagin, N.V.Chupina
    • The staff of Zvenigorod Observatory works on the project "The creation of astronegatives electronic library". The project includes the scanning of plate archives available on the observatory. Plate archives of Ceis 400/2000 astrograph includes more than 5000 negatives. Magnitude limit is 17.5. The scans are being copied on DVD disks. Plate are received from 1972 to 2003 by the program "The Photographic review of the sky" (for catalogue PPM) and also by observations of comets, asteroids and minor planets, radio sources. The quality of our plates corresponds to the world standards. The data about Zvenigorod astrograph will be included in the 6-th version of World Data Base on Wide Field Plates (the International Sofia Data Center, Bulgaria).


(activities since August 2006)

The Project: (funded until December 2008)

  • VO applications:
    • VOSED (http://sdc.laeff.inta.es/vosed)
    • Implementation of a Bayesian Inference code for model fitting
    • Development of a chi-square model fitting (not implemented yet)
    • Implementation of the dereddening extinction law
    • Implementation of new functionalities
  • DAMA (Darwin Archive Madrid, not open yet)
  • OMC (http://sdc.laeff.inta.es/omc)
    • Development of a new version of the light curve classifier (not implemented in the external archive yet)

The Thematic Network

  • General framework for the Spanish astronomical community with interest in VO. Funded until December 2007.
  • First SVO school
  • A similar school about Data Mining tools is foreseen for February 2007.


  • Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society (Barcelona, September 2006)
    • Invited talk: “VO Science” (E. Solano)
    • Six VO-related posters
      • The Orion Virtual Observatory (J.A. Caballero)
      • VO services for the Montsec robotic telescope (F. Julbe)
      • High resolution spectra of cool stars in the VO (D. Montes)
      • Determination of the interstellar extinction (C. Morales)
      • Data Mining for the GAIA mission (L.M. Sarro)
  • Cool Stars-14 (Pasadena, November 20006)
    • Two posters
      • DAMA: a preparatory VO-compliant data server for the Darwin mission (E. Solano et al.)
      • Brown dwarfs and star-forming regions in the framework of the Virtual Observatory (E. Solano et al.)


  • Master in Astrophysics
    • Course: Databases in Astronomy: the Virtual Observatory. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. November-December 2006.


We have completed the development of the first version of VOStat, and will release the first version after a few formal issues are cleared on our side. To avoid a release in the holiday season, we will aim for a release in the second week of January.

We aim to develop a VOEvent application for spotting events from the Palomar Quest survey. We have had a number of discussions with people form Caltech on the matter and there is some understanding about what needs to be done. Actual development is to begin soon.

We are planning an international workshop on the VO and VO Science for users in August or September 2007.

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

Data Access Layer WG

"V1.0" working drafts of the SSAP protocol and Spectrum data model documents (the latter joint with DM) were released as planned, just prior to the ADASS conference in October. Both documents are sufficiently complete and stable to permit 1) detailed revew and comment by the full working groups, and 2) initial implementations to go forward as required for the PR.

Good progress in both areas has been made in the month or so since ADASS. Detailed review comments have been received for both documents, with followup responses and discussion. Initial implementations of the draft V1.0 SSAP spec have gone forward in parallel. F.Valdes (NOAO) has implemented a serialization of high resolution Kitt Peak Coude Feed spectra in VOTable, conformant to the Spectrum data model. Work on a SSAP query interface for this data is still underway. D.Tody (NRAO) is working on a "dalserver" Java package to provide reference code for implementing DAL services, with SSAP as the initial focus. This will be used initially to implement a proxy SSAP service for the JHU spectral services (as of this writing this is not yet functional but is nearly there). Client-side support for SSAP in the "dalclient" Java library and the VOClient desktop integration facility is also planned. K.McKusker and J.McDowell (SAO) are producing a package implementing the SSA/Spectrum data model in Java. GAVO is reported to be working on an initial implementation as well.

The SSAP protocol document draft is sufficiently complete to support the initial implementations as discussed above, but some additional work is required before the full V1.0 document is completed. Work is underway (coordinated with the Registry WG) to specify the getCapabilities operation. F.Bonnarel (CDS) is drafting a section to be added to the document on metadata extension. J.Salgado and P.Osuna (ESAC) plan to draft a section advising implementors on how to apply SSAP to theory data, i.e., synthetic spectra. This latter effort will eventually include VOSpec support as well.

Other SSAP service implementions and client applications are planned, but are not expected to go forward until after the initial implementations.

Once the initial SSAP implementions are completed the V1.0 working draft documents will be updated to reflect the review comments and the experience from the initial implementations (some additional material such as a specification of the getCapabilities operation will also be added). Updates to both documents are expected in December.

An update to the spectral line access protocol (SLAP) specification is planned before SLAP goes to PR. Some remaining issues need discussion, e.g., how to specify and handle units consistently in both SLAP and SSAP. Numerous (a half dozen or so) implementations of SLAP are already completed and in use.

As agreed in Moscow, we plan to advance simple cone search (SCS) and SIA V1.0 to the PR stage as legacy interfaces, so that these already widely implemented interaces can be documented and managed via the IVOA processes. As agreed in Moscow, we will delay advancing SCS and SIA V1. to PR until higher priority work on SSAP has been completed.

Work on the table access protocol (TAP), being carried out jointly with VOQL, has gotten underway and is going well. See the summary from the VOQL WG below for additional details.

Work on SIA V2 with data cube and grid support (VOSpace integration etc.), and the related problem of access to complex data associations, is currently on hold and will resume in February. Extension of the SSAP technology to support SEDs, possibly other types of spectral associations, and time series is also planned for 2007. An investigation into what is needed to extend the DAL interfaces to support solar and planetary data is ongoing: some work on this has already been done with AstroGrid, and discussions with the planetary community in the US have begun as well. The Theory IG continues to work on the SNAP interface for access to data from theoretical simulations; as noted above, related work on support for theory data in SLAP and SSAP is in progress as well.

Data Models WG

Grid and Web Services Working Group

VOSpace 1.0 is complete. The formal 1.0 WD is pending the typing up of an extra feature requested at the Moscow meeting by ESO. Caltech and ESO report that they have VOSpace implementations ready for testing.

At Moscow there was a useful discussion of community services for SSO. It is proposed to form a "tiger team" to work on this area of the spec.

Registry WG

Two documents are finishing up final review for passage to Recommendation status: Resource Metadata and Identifiers. I hope to talk through the last comments at our telecon.

The Registry WG is working intensely on the upgrade to the Registry Interface Working Draft; however, we did not make our Dec. 1 goal of switching to the new standard. Nevertheless, many of us have made great progress. Astrogrid is perhaps farthest along in the upgrade work.

Information about the upgrade work is collected at RegUpgradeSummer2006. There we can find pointers to the latest versions of documents, schemas and WSDLs, and sample resource description documents. Tools such as a conversion stylesheet and a client library is also available there.

An important upcoming milestone is to complete the deployment of the registry of registries. Currently the harvesting interface is up and available for testing. What is now need is the registration interface for registering a registry, which is to include a validator for the registry interface and its contents. Plante is nearly finished with this work and hopes to have that deploy within the next week. Once that is up under a provisional URL, we will set up the access via an ivoa.net domain name.

Plante will be surveying the WG on the state of upgrades to readjust the roadmap accordingly.

-- RayPlante - 05 Dec 2006

Semantics/UCD WG

The PR document with the updated list of UCD-words has passed the RFC period with a few comments, all accepted. I asked the Exec to promote Version 1.21 to the level of IVOA Recommendation. This document will replace IVOA Rec v1.11.

Work is in progress on the first Ontology of astronomical object types. A TN has been issued the 31st of October 2006. Being a repository of astronomical knowledge, the Ontology is necessarily a collaborative effort of the whole scientific community collaborating within the IVOA. Contributions were asked, and an updated version of the TN will soon be released for further discussion (and contribution).


The VOEvent message content has been made an IVOA Recommendation, and consequently the network projects have been able to code against a stable target. Publishers and subscribers are exchanging VOEvent messages from the SDSS Supernova search, OGLE microlensing, gamma satellites such as Swift and HETE2, the Raptor project, and the ESSENCE supernova search at CTIO.


The VOQL Technical Experts Group (VOQL-TEG) has celebrated two meetings so far. Outcomes from these two meetings will be fed to the community in the coming days.

Agenda, Minutes and discussions within these meetings can be seen at the VOQL-TEG mail archive (http://www.ivoa.net/forum/voql-teg/0611/date.htm)

The most significant outcome of the group so far is a clear separation of Language, Protocol and Service. The items the VOQL group will be dealing with are therefore:

1.- The Language.

This will be a refurbishing of the current ADQL able to accomodate different communities' needs. A document only dealing with the Language specification will be produced.

2.- The Protocol.

This will deal with how to access data using the ADQL language. A new document will be produced for this so called Table Access Protocol (TAP). The chair of the Data Access Layer group is a permanent member of the VOQL-TEG to co-author the initial creation of this protocol

3.- The Service.

This will deal with the important issue of Cross-match. A new document will be produced for a type of services dealing directly with cross-matching of sources (of whichever type). This work will be initiated within the VOQL-TEG and evolved in conjunction with other IVOA groups.

Expected deliveries:

1.- Refurbished ADQL doc in quite a mature state by China 2007 interop.

2.- First draft of the Table Access Protocol (TAP) doc by China 2007 interop.

Further discussions are needed to estimate possible due dates for crossmatch service specification.

VOTable WG

The connection of the VOTable schema to the other components of the IVOA were discussed (IVOA meeting in Moscow); several scenarios using the utype linkage mechanism were presented and are being discussed.

The VOTable schema is also being tested against a few code generators (for Java and C#).

For both aspects, it is expected to reach final conclusions and agreements at the next IVOA meeting.

Applications IG

Applications IG report Dec 03, 2006

Apps wiki pages and forum:

These pages are designed to be of interest to application developers and to astronomers interested in using VO tools. There have not been many changes to the pages in the past 6 months, but the list of applications has been of particular interest for answering the common question in VO talks 'is there a list of applications'. Most new additions to this list are announced on the forum, with recent additions being VOPlot updates, Aladin plugin capabilities, Plastic Application monitor and AstroGrid releases.

Other discussion topics have been on the experience of using real and theoretical spectra in VO spectra tools.

September Interop Meeting:

The apps session at this meeting was more modest than the previous May meeting, mainly due to the shorter time and smaller participation. There were Two Apps sessions, one higlighting new and updated applications China-VO Skymouse, Canada VO Octet, and VOSpec functionality. Other discussion focused more on underlying applications infrastructure: Metadata extraction, AstroGrid - Astro runtime, and the PLASTIC protocol.

A major session of the Apps IG is expected for the May 2007 meeting.

Applications IG change to a WG

Discussions have been had with R. Williams, F. Genova about the possibility of making the Apps IG to a WG with a first task of addressing the PLASTIC prototcol within the IVOA standards process. This topic has not been discussed on the Apps forum, but I understand it will be raised within the exec to make this change.

One issue that has been raised is that the Apps group continue to be accessible to astronomers as well as VO developers, and that it remains a forum for general use of VO tools.

The change to a WG will require changes to the Apps group charter and I propose that this be done shortly after the exec meeting, and to involve the members of the group.


The PLASTIC protocol has matured within the projects such as AstroGrid and VO-TECH to a very useful way for VO applications to communicate. The proponents of the protocol have been strongly encouraged to publish an IVOA note on the topic and I understand this will be published very soon.

Astro-RG IG

There will be a Astro-RG OGF session at OGF 19 - Cahpel Hill - Jan 2007. The next astro-rg-IG will be in China May 2007. Activities include the interface of VOs to wider grid infrastructures, assessing standard interfaces.

Data Curation and Preservation IG

There are four large initiatives in the EU and the UK that are investigating preservation: - CASPAR (David Giaretta) - PLANETS (Adam Farquhar, Hans Hofmann) - DPE (Seamus Ross) - Digital Curation Centre (Chris Rusbridge)

The projects are investigating representation (CASPAR) - how to characterize the structure and information content of digital documents, and management policies (PLANETS) - how to enforce preservation policies such as the number of replicas and migration to new technology. They are also constructing testbeds for the demonstration of preservation tools and services.

The related projects in the US include: - NARA Transcontinental Persistent Archive - NHPRC Persistent Archive Testbed - Library of Congress NDIIPP - Library of Congress DigArch - DSpace - Fedora

Each of these preservation projects is building upon data grid technology for the management of distributed shared collections. The goal is to differentiate between management of distributed data and application of preservation processes that generate the required archival form.

SDSC is collaborating on development of open source software with these projects based on iRODS (integrated Rule-Oriented Data System). The first release is scheduled in the next 1-2 weeks. This new technology is intended to automate the application of management policies across distributed shared collections.

The IVOA needs to specify the management policies that are required for image archives, for data products used in publications, and for the processes that generate the data products (mosaics, image cutouts, simulation output).

Theory IG

The theory IG has been relatively quiet since Moscow.

This is mainly due to the fact that the people pushing the three main projects (SNAP, Semantics and data model) have been otherwise occupied. GL had a meeting with Mireille Louys and Francois Bonnarel in Strasbourg discussing the theory datamodel, particularly in relation to "their" Characterisation model. Last week GL had a meeting with Claudio Gheller on SNAP. CG will progress this. We have planned a meeting for End of Feb 2007 to discuss SNAP and data model (related). Invitation will be sent out this week.

Some activities have happened elsewhere. In particular the Euro-VO DCA has started, which contains a work package dealing with theory. This group is finally supposed to produce a whitepaper for data centers how to deal with theory data and services. Each member project will assign a person taking part in a this work package, which will clearly be heavily dependent on IVOA activities.

-- NicholasWalton - 27 Nov 2006

Topic revision: r32 - 2007-01-19 - BrunoRino
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