IVOA Executive Committee Meeting (TM48)

Wednesday February 27, 2013 @ 16.00 UT




Draft Agenda

  1. Roll Call and Agenda (MA)
  2. Minutes of TM47
  3. Review of Actions (MA)
  4. Project Reports [Significant Events Only]
  5. TCG status
  6. Approval of new IVOA Recommendation(s) [Standing Item]
  7. May 2013 Interop meeting
  8. Future Interops
  9. Date of Next Exec Meeting
  10. AOB
  11. Review of Action Items (MA)

Reports from the Projects

Argentina - NOVA






The last several months are a good time for the China-VO. At the beginning of 2013, two proposals submitted to NDRC (National Development and Reform commission) and CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) were approved. With the support of the two funding, the China-VO will be going to build an Astronomical Resource Planning platform for the astronomical community and telescopes in China. Tasks such as observation time application, proposal review, data archiving, data release and sharing, scientific discovery collection, will be (or demanded) done on the platform. The platform will provide proposal submission, data access, limited data processing and data mining, and maybe more functions, to astronomers. If the platform can be realized in 2 or 3 years as current aims, it will become an essential cyber infrastructure in China for Astronomy. Achievements from the IVOA and VO partners will be adopted heavily by the platform.

Another milestone for the China-VO in education and public outreach, the proposal to build a WWT-driven planetarium in a primary school in Chongqing is just approved. The planetarium is 8 meter in diameter, will be equipped with 6 high resolution projectors and driven by Microsoft WorldWide Telescope. The project will be taken by the China-VO (especially NAOC and CCNU), Microsoft Research, and a local company. When it is completed in the summer, it will be the first in China and the third in the world WWT-driven planetarium.



Activities can be followed from the web site of the current Euro-VO project: CoSADIE http://www.cosadie.eu

  • Euro-VO Technology Forum, Edinburgh (UK), 16-17 January 2013, organised by ROE/Astrogrid
    • Discussion of standards, tools, collaborations

  • A data centre forum gathering European data centres and data providers will be organised in Heidelberg (Germany) 10-11 June 2013 by GAVO to disseminate knowledge about the VO and gather requirements, and the Euro-VO census of European data centres (2008, updated in 2010) is checked and updated by the German partner.


An updated Euro-VO Registry has been released early February so it now includes TAP services support for the registration, search, etc. of TAP services.

VOSpec version 6.6 has been released on 29th January 2013, with the following:
  • Table row highlight SAMP message (when data is sent from VOSpec to other tools via the SAMP protocol, such as to Aladin or Topcat, table rows highlighted in VOSpec are immediately highlighted in these tools, and vice versa).
  • Urgent Patch in Archives using Applets.
  • Sesame resolver issue with spaces.
  • SAMP monitor showing duplicate registrations.
  • Data retrieval logging causing app freezes.
  • Filter Profile Service updated URL.

France VO

France VO continues to support travels to IVOA Interoperability meetings (and similar meetings in 'nearby' disciplines), the organisation of an annual meeting (which will be held in Paris 11-12 March 2013 and of meetings of Working Groups such as New user interfaces, Workflows, Planetary VO, and travels linked to collaborations between French teams on VO topics. A plenary talk on VO scientific usage will be presented at the annual meeting of the French Astronomical Society (Montpellier, 3-7 June).

French teams continue to be very active in the development of VO standards and tools.


GAVO is still working actively on the new, relational specification for querying the registry, "RegTAP". The specification has been updated for a new utype scheme, and there is now a first mirror of the implementation in Potsdam. With VObs.it, we're working on having a third, VODance-based mirror in Italy. Also, work on a web interface reproducing, roughly, the Registry interface of VODesktop, has begun.

We are also participating in the redefinition of utypes (just out: a document summarizing current utype practices), and we have taken up the development of a Provenance data model.

A new release of SPLAT was released in cooperation with Astrogrid (heirs). Expect another beta soon that includes support for the proposed getData operation for SSAP, as currently provided by services at the Heidelberg and Ondrejov data centers.

We have also started the update of the EuroVO census of data centers, and of course we're busy preparing the May Interop and the EuroVO Data Center Forum in June.



VObs.it will be included in the coordination tasks of a new ICT Unit (or Office) under the INAF Scientific Directorate. VObs.it staffing is keeping constant and can be estimated around 5 FTE.
VObs.it is involved in:
• implementation of the Relational Registry Schema Working Draft proposed by Markus Demleitner;
• discussions with the radio astronomy community and CDS for feedback on the access to radio and multidimensional data following IVOA standards;
• identifying and facilitating interactions between IVOA and OGF on all aspects concerning Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs), porting of workflows and applications, and their interaction with data;
• contacts within Europe (EuroVO, VO-France) to harmonise the development of workflows between IVOA/GWS and multi-disciplinary EU-funded projects
• plans to refurbish VisIVO within the VO framework;
• scientific participation to the Theoretical VO from cosmological simulations research groups.
The CoSADIE VO School was held in Madrid in February was attended by over 50 scientists (6 from Italy) supported by EuroVO. 2 VObs.it staff acted as teachers.
VObs.it keeps also active in the following areas: preparing tools for access to the VO for educational/outreach purposes; maintaining an upgrading VO-Dance, a tool designed to allow users and data centers to easily create VO compliant services; developing VO-aware data mining tools; coordinating the Education IG and the IVOA-OGF Liaison Group.


Ukraine VO


[From the VAO Quarterly Report for October-December 2012...]

VAO services continued their uptime performance from the previous quarter, running close to 100% for the entire time. Validation levels for worldwide VO services also continued to improve, up from 71% to 74%. Most of the non-compliance issues do not affect well-posed queries, but we continue to work with VO service providers to resolve minor compliance issues. An improved internal process for reviewing and responding to service interruptions and other help desk inquiries has brought ticket closure times to just a few days, with very few unresolved tickets.

VAO Community Days were held at the University of Michigan and Space Telescope Science Institute in November, each having 40-50 participants. VAO also had a strong presence at the ADASS Conference at the University of Illinois, had an exhibit at the AAS meeting in Long Beach, and presented twelve poster papers at the AAS meeting (including those of VAO collaborators such as the AAVSO). The technical expertise of the VAO staff has been recognized by the community through invitations to speak at conferences, participate in reviews and sit on advisory boards. The VAO continues to attract attention within the community, with growth in the mailing list, Facebook “likes” and Twitter feeds.

New releases of the Spectral Energy Distribution tool Iris (v1.2), the Data Discovery Tool (DDT) (v1.4.1), and the Scalable Cross-Comparison (SCC) tool (v1.1) were completed on December 19. Iris was enhanced to support third-party plug-ins, and provide enhanced visualization capabilities. The DDT release enhanced the presentation of the query results, the SCC release added new catalogs and added SAMP support to connect the tool to other VO-enabled tools.

The data publication and sharing infrastructure, VOBox, was demonstrated at the Long Beach AAS meeting, following improvements to the user interface. Following community input, we began development of a Python API for access to VO services. This is now 50% complete, and further community feedback on the design was solicited during the AAS meeting. The beta release of the data-publishing interface has been reviewed internally, and a plan developed for making the optimally useful to new users and data publishers.

On October 5, 2012, Marie Huffman (business manager) left AUI. Maricel Claro (Robert Half Associates) assumed the position of interim business manager.


VAO submitted its "close-out Project Execution Plan" to NSF and NASA on February 18, following review and approval by the VAO Board of Directors. The plan describes the work to be done between May 1 and the end of VAO funding, September 30, 2014. Per agency direction, the emphasis is on completing, documenting, and preserving the VO infrastructure. Top priorities are data cube support, the Python API, and registry upgrades. Work on VAO science applications (scaleable cross match, Iris SED tool, time series tools) will be stopped within two months, after which time only critical bug fixes will be undertaken. The data discovery tool will continue to be supported as a means for validating registry upgrades and discoverability of data cubes through the emerging IVOA standard.


South Africa VO


(Since Dec 2012)

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


  • Solano, E. et al.
    • The Gran Telescopio Canarias and Calar Alto Virtual Observatory compliant archives
    • SPIE: Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems IV. Amsterdam, June 2012
    • 2012SPIE.8448E..0GS
  • Solano, E. et al.
    • The Virtual Observatory and the Gaia archive
    • Meeting of the Gaia Spanish Network. Sitges, Barcelona. January 2013

  • Sánchez-Janssen, R. et al.
    • Title: AVOCADO. A Virtual Observatory Census to Address Dwarfs Origins.
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics (accepted) 2013arXiv1301.5320S
  • López Martí, B. et al.
    • Title: Proper motions of young stars in Chamaeleon. I. A Virtual Observatory study of spectroscopically confirmed members
    • Astronomy & Astrophysics 2013 551, 46
  • Cappetta, M. et al.
    • Title:The first planet detected in the WTS: an inflated hot Jupiter in a 3.35 d orbit around a late F star
    • MNRAS 2012 427, 1877
Data Mining:

  • Sarro L.M., et al.
  • Sarro L. M., et al.
    • Title: Properties of ultra-cool dwarfs with Gaia. An assessment of the accuracy for the temperature determination
    • 2013A&A...550A..44S
  • Rimoldini, L. et al.

  • Solano, E. et al.
    • Title: Precovery of near-Earth asteroids by a citizen-science project of the Spanish Virtual Observatory
    • AN (accepted) 2013arXiv1302.5375S
  • Conference:
    • Title: Identify potentially hazardous asteroids using the Virtual Observatory
    • Science Museum, Logroño, Spain. Jan 2013

- Master course at Universidad Internacional de Valencia: "The Virtual Observatory". Jan 2013


VO-India recent activity

AstroStat VO-India has recently released AstroStat, a tool that allows astronomers to use both simple and sophisticated statistical routines on large datasets. This tool uses a large public-domain statistical computing package called R. AstroStat has a visual interface that is easy to comprehend and results are presented in a well formatted manner with focus on important output parameters. It uses a third party R library 'ggplot2' to create publication quality graphs. Help sections explaining all the routines in sufficient detail are built into AstroStat. A TAP client has been integrated into AstroStat to access data from TAP compatible catalogs.

Catalina Real time Transient Survey (CRTS) Data Access Service VOIndia is developing a catalog and image acess service for CRTS data. The service will include a search interface for Cone Search, Object Search, Photometry Search, Query Browser and a Simple Image Access Protocol (SIAP) interface. VO-India visualisation and statistical analysis tools, 'VOPlot' and AsttroStat will be embedded into the interface for server side computation and analysis to be performed on the data.

Machine learning tools In continuation of VO-India's work in the domain of machine learning, the tool VOIMachine has been developed with a modular structure in which different machine learning tools such as Bayesian Classifiers, Support Vector Machines, Self Organizing Maps etc are all available in VO compatible form, so that they all can be seamlessly used along with all other VO tools. To improve performance of the same, we have parallelized the code to run in a high performance cluster environment. This parallelized version is currently undergoing extensive testing.

Android OS based Target Visibility Calculator for Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) SALT Android Visibility application is developed for the Android smart phone operating system for calculating the target visibility from the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). It provides a graphical representation of the target visibility duration based on provided co-ordinates (right ascension and declination ). Visibility graphs can be plotted for individual night visibility or the annual visibility. In addition to target visibility graphs, the application also presents users with additional information related to the sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset times and moon phase.

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Topic revision: r12 - 2013-02-27 - MarkAllen
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