Virtual Observatories in Space and Solar Physics: A Community Workshop

From: Aaron Roberts   <>


To help the space and solar physics community arrive at a clear plan for its data environment, NASA's Living With a Star Program will sponsor a multi-agency, international workshop on October 27-29, 2004 at the Marriott Hotel in Greenbelt, MD.


Registration and information web sites will be available soon.  The idea of this workshop was endorsed by the Virtual Observatories Birds-of-a-Feather meeting at the Fall 2003 AGU meeting, and by NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Data and Computing Working Group. 


The goals of the workshop are to develop accordance among the several groups participating or anticipating to participate in VO activities and to produce a series of recommendations for program sponsors of these activities.  After introductory talks on a possible vision for the data environment and the details of a few current prototypes, the main work of the meeting will take place in focus groups that meet alternately with plenary sessions.  The four focus groups (and their leaders) will be:


Registries and Data Models (R. Bentley, MSSL; J. Mukherjee, SWRI)

(Possible specific questions: How do we describe products in a universal language?  Where and how should these products be registered?  What is the right level of detail?)


Gateway/Brokers and front ends (R. Bogart, Stanford; V. Rezapkin, Aquilent)

(e.g., What are the best ways to use product registries?  What types of standards should we have for product access APIs? How do we avoid excessive duplication of effort in designing "middleware"?)


Repositories and "VxOs" (A. Szabo, GSFC; A. Davis, Caltech)

(e.g., How do data repositories "join" the VO environment?  How can subfields best organize their data and make it available to a larger community?)


Services (N. Hurlburt, LMSAL; M. Weiss, APL)

(e.g., What services beyond data access, such as format translation, coordinate conversion, and visualization, are most important?  How are these services best coupled to the data access mechanisms?)


We will also consider visionary ideas for future directions both for their own sake and to insure the architecture remains open to innovation.  Websites and a listserv list will provide means for document distribution and community input prior to and after the meeting.  Posters will allow anyone to present their latest ideas. 


Registration will be required, but no fee will be charged.  LWS will provide the venue and morning and afternoon refreshments at breaks, but not travel and lodging. 


For further information, contact Aaron Roberts at, 301-286-5606.