Descriptions and discussions of the various technologies which the (Australian) Virtual Observatory will need and use.

While VirtualObservatory efforts are generally aiming to solve a number of challenging problems facing astronomy, the realisation of a Virtual Observatory is presenting challenges of its own! The enabling technologies for VirtualObservatories will be a mixture of old and new technologies, of low and high-level technologies, and ultimately of commercial and open-source implementations of these technologies. For example, the "simple" task of publishing a small dataset to the VirtualObservatory may involve, and certainly not be limited to:

  1. the complete and sufficient description of the content to be published, probably as UCDs;
  2. the installation of a back-end SQL database and importation of data into same;
  3. the development and deployment of a JavaServlet which runs queries on the database as requested and serves results in, say, VOTable format, independent of the database table format;
  4. the installation of a suitable web server which can initialise JavaServlets on demand and pass requests between the external "client" web site and the servlet/s;
  5. the provision of a WebPortlet and/or WebPortal which houses an interface allowing a remote user to query the data source; and
  6. the registration of the data service via either a manual or automated system, possibly involving agents.

The AstroGridInfrastructure appears to be one system which will work roughly in the above way. We have an agreement in place for Aus-VO sites to be involved in the early testing of the AstroGridInfrastructure, with a view to adopting it at least in the short term as a common infrastructure for most if not all Australian VirtualObservatory services.


We thought it might be useful to compile a list of software and standards used in the Aus-VO project along with names and emails of people who claim some proficiency in each software/standard and are happy to answer questions. The VoExperts list should grow and become useful, and if so, we'll suggest migrating it to the IVOA wiki for all to use.

Tutorials, Demos and Experiences

  • QuantaService : tutorial and source code on how to run AIPS++ C++ code via a webservice in Java (uses JNI).
  • GridPortals : a comparision of Grid Portal architectures/designs, with a view to selecting one for MhdPortal?.
  • AipsWebServices: creating web services for AIPS++ packages - discussion, examples, source code and documentation.
  • MyNimrodManual : how to use Nimrod/G - Brett Beeson's cheat sheet.
  • AppleWebObjects: an unbelievably simple way to create web services from existing database tables.
  • InstallingCasaOnMac: how to install the CASA package (previously known as AIPS++) on an Apple Mac running OS X 10.3 (Panther).
  • InstallingCasaOnOctane: my notes on how I installed CASA on octane - my linux box that has prior installations of stable and development aips++.

IVOA Standards and Protocols

  • NamingAuthority : Some notes on IVOA naming authorities, resources and registries.