The Virtual Astronomical Observatory, the Italian VO initiative and member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), is led by members of INAF-OATs. The activities in this area span from the development of standards and technologies promoted by the IVOA to their dissemination mainly among an audience of citizens and students (see VO for Education / aidawp4). A further important activity is that of maintaining the web assets used by the IVOA members for remote collaboration.

The commitment in IVOA focuses mainly in the Working Group (WG) dedicated to the standardization of data access (Data Access Layer, DAL), in the WG discussing use of grid technologies and web (Grid and Web Services, GWS), and in the Interest Group (IG) for education and public outreach (EduIG). Other connections nonetheless exist with the whole organizational structure of the Alliance.

INAF-OATs also hosts the IVOA collaborative wiki and the mail server (including a mailing list service) and manages the DNS for the services of the domain.

The contribution of and INAF to VO activities includes coordination with European projects and partner institutions (mainly France, Germany, Spain and the UK) and have seen the participation of INAF-OATs staff in a number of EURO-VO projects (VO-Tech and VO-DCA within the Sixth Framework Programme -FP6-, AIDA, ICE and CoSADIE within FP7). As for the Horizon 2020  European Community funding period, the coordination at EURO-VO level will fit inside the Work Package 4 (DADI) of the ASTERICS projects. The goal of this new step of coordination is to allow communication between the technical staff of the ESFRI key projects and the community of VO developers in order to bring new requirements to IVOA and provide technological support to ESFRI projects such as SKA, CTA, Euclid.

Staff: Fabio Pasian, Marco Molinaro, Massimo Ramella, Giulia Iafrate, Giuliano Taffoni, Riccardo Smareglia

[VO for Education]

VO technologies at INAF-OATs

The Italian Center for Astronomical Archives (IA2) hosted at INAF-OATs provides support for the publication of astrophysical data and resources in the VO. To fill this task its staff designed and developed applications and publishing solutions conforming the IVOA standards.
Applications developed at IA2 include: the web application VO-Dance for publishing services dealing with images, spectra, and catalogs; its counterpart IA2TAP dedicated to deploy on the web generic tabular data sets; the web application VAPE (VO Aided Publishing for Education), leaning on VO-Dance, to generate service dedicated to educational and amateur astronomers, with an additional emphasis on the simplicity while building the service configuration.

With the help of these applications data from projects like TNG, Planck, WINGS, VIPERS and others have been made available to the VO community.

Staff: Marco Molinaro, Riccardo Smareglia, Francesco Cepparo

[VO Services]

Links to other projects

The IA2 data center, given its experience in the management of databases and VO technologies, is also involved in several external projects, which contributes to with applications and data access and management systems.

For the EU-FP7 project VIALACTEA (The Milky-Way as a Star Formation Engine, end of project scheduled for October 2016) INAF-OATs is dealing with the preparation, management and development of the entire data base needed by the project community, inglobating external data collection with project generated data. In particular the, so called, ViaLactea Knowledge Base (VLKB) is served by: a TAP service accessing its database of information, and a set of search and data access services dedicated to radio data (multidimensional data and images in radio band). These services are inspired by the ideas of the latest IVOA standards and aim at full compatibility against those specifications.

Staff: Riccardo Smareglia, Marco Molinaro, Robert Butora

Part of the development of the IA2TAP application takes input from the EU-FP7 project GENIUS to ease the tasks in interoperate private databases and the data set produced by the ESA space mission GAIA.

Staff: Riccardo Smareglia, Marco Molinaro, Robert Butora