IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (TM43)

Tuesday February 07 @ 17.00 CET

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Agenda TM43

  1. Roll Call and Agenda (MA)
  2. Minutes of FM42 and FM42S
  3. Review of Actions
  4. Project Reports - Significant Events Only
  5. Report of the TCG status (CA)
  6. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  7. WG Chairs and vice-Chairs with expiring terms
  8. May 2012 Interop
  9. Future Interops (All)
  10. CSP status (MA)
  11. Date of next telecon
  12. AOB
  13. Summary of Actions (MA)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA



UK activity is currently mostly run through either individual tool and data centre efforts (Topcat, SPLAT, UKIDSS, VISTA, XMM etc) or through Euro-VO projects. The AstroGrid brand is in deep freeze until it makes sense to revive it. We are currently having discussions on which AstroGrid services to keep running, and which software to continue to maintain. Maintaining the AstroGrid registry is seen as a high priority.


We are i the process of migrating and updating the aus-vo web appearance. The domains are now owned by Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL).

A study has been conducted by a consulting company to inform AAL about the needs of Australian Astronomy for federation of data sets. This study has been delivered and is currently being discussed.

AAL was successful in applying for a substantial federal grant to support work in the federation of data sets. More details to follow later this year.

ICRAR is currently implementing the front-end data flow for the Murchison Wide Field Array, including the databsae to support the final user interfaces, including the VO services.


Bravo is going to release a contest in the Brazilian community called Bravo Challenge. The challenge aims at young undergraduate and graduate students, that will adopt a problem oriented approach: the students will be given a real life problem, whose solution, if robust enough, can contribute to real life Science. The tasks for the first Bravo Challenge are:

- Design a database to store FITS metadata from a set of SOAR telescope images; - Extract information from FITS files and ingest them into the database automatically; - Serve the database using SIAP protocol; - Use the WWT to visualise the image footprints; - Use the WWT to visualise the image themselves; - Write a short report of the implementation, adding a section with an essay elaborating on possible used of the WWT and the SOAR telescope in astronomical research.

The 1st Bravo Challenge is a partnership between Bravo and Microsoft research. The competing teams are expected to be formed by one astronomy student and one IT student. The prizes consist of:

- One laptop each - For the IT student, a one month research visit to Microsoft Research; - For the Astronomy student, a one month research visit to Caltech to work on a VO oriented project.

The challenge will be open in March and the results are going to be divulged during the São Paulo Interop Meeting.

Other activities planned for the short future are:

- organize the São Paulo Interop meeting in October - organize a VO school and a VO day during the September meeting of the Brazilian Astronomical Society.


LAMOST pilot sky survey data was public released with VO supports in last November. Designed and developed by the China-VO, the data access platform supports VOTable outputs and limited VO DAL interfaces. Aladin, WWT and other VO compliant tools are recommended to LAMOST scientific users for cross-matching and analyzing.

China-VO became a partner of BOOTES (Burst Observer and Optical Transient Exploring System) project. Bootes-4, the fourth robotic autonomous observatory in the telescope network, was installed at Yunnan Astronomical Observatory, southwest of China. The construction and operation of the robotic observatory will provide nice opportunities to learn and test time-domain astronomy related technologies.

China-VO and Astroinformatics 2011 was held successfully from Nov. 9 to 13, 2011, which was the 10th anniversary VO workshop started from 2001. More than 70 participants attended the workshop. Prof. George Djorgovski and Dr. Yan Xu were invited to give lectures at the event.


In our TAP service, we have implemented the WD-TAPRegExt-1.0 standard to describe service capabilities in more detail. We have also implemented some support for augmenting the VOTable column metadata when functions are used in the select list of queries, but this is a challenging and on-going problem. Source code to implement the VOSI-capabilities with TAPRegExt extension and to validate the XML document produced is part of the OpenCADC project at http://opencadc.googlecode.com/.

We are in the process of implementing our own publishing registry using the tools from the AstroGrid project. We should be in a position to take over the curation of holdings under the ivo://cadc.nrc.ca authority in the near future.

Our VOSpace-2.0 implementation is operational and supports collaborations for many project teams. The current holdings are roughly 6 million files (20TB), with roughly 10TB/week of traffic (1TB upload, 9TB download).



France VO

Summary report of France VO activities Oct. 2011-Oct. 2012 in IvoaExecMeetingFM46


We have made a new release of our data center software with a view to making installing and operating easier. We have taken up SPLAT development (first, improved SSAP interface), and we are busy getting VO-related software into Debian main (and, by extension, Ubuntu etc).

An exciting new data set in our data center is the ARIGFH collection of historical star catalogs, covering stellar positions from 1750 until about 1980. The contents of about 2500 catalog tables is also available for download.

In Standards, we are collaborating with Astrogrid on coming up with a relational definition of the registry, we proposed a microformat for example queries to TAP services, and we are contributing to the utype effort.



A new member has joined to the Japan-VO team since September 2011.

Japan-VO has been developing "VO-Crawler" system that cache all the meta-data through the searchable registries, in order to accelerate data queries. The concept was presented at the previous ADASS meeting in Paris. A prototype of the "VO-Crawler" is being implemented.

Japan-VO has been collaborating with the ALMA J/T; we aim to publish data-cubes that will be provided by the ALMA archive system. A prototype has been implemented into the JVO portal where a few Science Commissioning data can be accessed.

Ukraine VO


The quarter from October to December 2011 was period of both major accomplishment and major disappointment for the VAO. On the accomplishment side was bringing to release status all of the major science initiatives that were planned as part of the VAO Year 1 development, and releasing these for use by researchers in astronomy through a series of VAO Community Days, the ADASS Conference, a special session at the January 2012 AAS meeting in Austin, and an exhibit booth at the AAS meeting. Interest in using VAO tools is increasing in the community, as evidenced by a 20% growth in our e-mail list (to nearly 700 people). Verbal feedback during our interactions with astronomers was generally very positive. We are optimistic that take-up of VO tools will continue to grow, and we are fostering further engagement through a solicitation for science collaborations with individuals and research groups in the community.

The operational aspects of the VAO are deployed and stable. We routinely verify service aliveness and compliance with IVOA standards, and work with service providers to correct errors or deficiencies. Service reliability is good. We have a robust issue tracking system in place, a comprehensive code management system, and an excellent web page that provides easy access to software (both from the VAO and other VO projects worldwide), services, and documentation.

Our Education and Public Outreach group put in a tremendous effort to prepare an education-focused web site, a tutorial for high school, junior college, and college teachers, and other supporting materials for an afternoon special session at the Austin AAS meeting. The session illustrated the use of WorldWide Telescope as a teaching and exploration tool and included hands-on experience with laptop computers.

A revised version of the VAO Project Execution Plan, which responds to agency redirection for the VAO baseline, is nearly complete and will be submitted to the agencies shortly.



(Since October 2011)

Manpower: 10 FTEs (one less than in the previous report). The SVO Thematic Network (people from Spanish institutes with interest in the VO) is composed of almost 200 participants from more than 30 labs.

Web page: New design of the SVO official web page.

VO-compliance of astronomical archives:

- Official release of the GTC VO archive (http://gtc.sdc.cab.inta-csic.es/gtc/index.jsp)

VO Science:

- Identification of red high proper-motion objects in Tycho-2 and 2MASS catalogues using Virtual Observatory tools (Jiménez-Esteban, Caballero, et al. (includes Solano) http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012arXiv1201.5315J


- VOSED: a Virtual Observatory tool to build and analyze SEDs (Gutiérrez, Solano, et al.) http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011hsa6.conf..776G


- The citizen-science project "Identification of Near Earth Asteroids using VO tools" (http://www.laeff.cab.inta-csic.es/projects/near/main/?&newlang=eng) is running smoothly: 3,000 registered users have made 120,000 measurements on 7,000 SDSS images.

- Oral presentation "The Virtual Observatory and the amateur community" (http://www.astrosabadell.org/html/pdf/en/programa-convencio2011.pdf)


- VO school (http://svo.cab.inta-csic.es/svoMeetings/index.php?mid=31&action=page&pagename=Meetings/RoPACS_VO_School/Presentation) in the framework of the RoPACS project (http://star.herts.ac.uk/RoPACS/)

- The Wikipedia pages on "Virtual Observatory" and "Spanish Virtual Observatory" have been updated (both in Spanish).

- The Virtual Observatory in the classroom (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011hsa6.conf..797A)


INAF is undergoing a deep reform, thus a period of instability. The VObs.it budget was approved, in the same order of magnitude as for previous years, but is not available yet.

Coordination with ASDC is being discussed.

A “VO publishing workshop” has been organised (Trieste, 27-29 Feb) and will be attended by about 40 people.

The OGF34 meeting to be held in Oxford in March will be attended by VObs.it staff (C.Vuerli, G.Taffoni) to finalise the Terms of Reference of the OGF Astro User Group dedicated to processing and data in A&A, direct contact for the IVOA-OGF Liaison Group.

VObs.it keeps active in the following areas: implementing embedded access to the grid as part of data centre services; developing VO-aware data mining tools; developing VO and grid-enabled 3-D visualisation tools; preparing tools for access to the VO for educational/ outreach purposes. VO-Dance, a tool designed to allow users and data centers to create easily VO compliant services (Cone Search, SIAP, SSAP) on the fly is about to be released.


VOStat, one of VO-India’s earliest tools, is being revamped. Addition of new tests from the latest version of the R statistical package is planned. The existing tests may be re-arranged in order to create a workflow feel for the user. The present version has an atomic feel with users selecting one test at a time and feeding the inputs to these tests individually. The interface is also being improved with focus on better output formatting. The raw output from R will be refined and presented in a user friendly fashion. Integration of VOStat with various KDD tools is also being considered. In addition to these improvements, we are also planning to add a set of astronomy based examples for each of the tests as a tutorial for its usage.

We have taken up a new project to make Stellar Spectral Libraries VO compatible. This includes a tool to query all available stellar spectral libraries if users wish to make a “wavelength vs. intensity“ plot of the data. Furthermore, we will also incorporate a spectra classification feature into the tool.

In continuation of the VO-India projects to develop Android applications, we are now in the process of making an Android version of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) visibility calculator. It reveals to the user, the daily and annual visibility of a region in the sky through the SALT telescope. This is accompanied by detailed graphs, information about moon-phases and sunrise/sunset timings.

The integration of VOPlot and VOMegaplot to create a single tool combining the features of plot manipulation and large data handling is under way. We are testing the results with large data sets and several brainstorming sessions have been held to discuss the best approach for large data handling and efficient memory management. VOIndia will be part of a half day meeting at IUCAA regarding large data and the subject will be our focus in coming months.

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

Applications WG

SAMP v1.3 completed RFC period with one (minor, but interesting) comment. A small change to the text was made to accommodate it. Now in TCG review period, scheduled to complete 27 Feb 2012.

Data Access Layer WG

PR-SSA-1.1 has copmpleted RFC review, TCG review, and been accepted by the IVOA Executive. The final REC document will be uploaded by 2010-02-10.

The WG review period for WD-TAPRegExt-1.0 has been completed and we are satisfied that the standard has been implemented and the document is complete. The RFC period will begin by 2012-02-10.

The latest revsion of WD-DALI-1.0 has been posted to the DAL-WG for comment. We hope to begin WG review soon and the RFC on schedule near 2012-02-28.

There has been no progress on PQL.

There has been no progress on DataLink.

Data Models WG

Grid and Web Services Working Group

Registry WG

Semantics/UCD WG

Version 1.0 of the Working Draft Units in the VO has been published on December 16, 2011. Little comments have been made so far. The discussion will be broadened to other WGs before moving to PR, and onto Rec procedure, while checking the Unity implementation developed by Norman Gray, and collecting comprehensive samples of legacy units metadata.

A new proposal for of the UCD list of words will also be circulated, with a revised UCD board and updates to the procedure for suggesting new words.


VOTable WG

Data Curation and Preservation IG

Knowledge Discovery in Databases IG

Theory IG

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Topic revision: r21 - 2012-10-18 - FrancoiseGenova
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