The VO: A Powerful Tool for Global Astronomy
Since its inception in the early 2000's, the Virtual Observatory (VO), developed as a collaboration of many national and international projects, has become a major factor in the discovery and dissemination of astronomical information worldwide. The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) has been coordinating all these efforts worldwide to ensure a common VO framework that enables transparent access to and interoperability of astronomy resources (data and software) around the world. The VO is not a magic solution to all astronomy data management challenges but it does bring useful solutions in many areas borne out by the fact that VO interfaces are broadly found in astronomy's major data centres and projects worldwide. Astronomy data centres have been building VO services on top of their existing data services to increase interoperability with other VO-compliant data resources to take advantage of the continuous and increasing development of VO applications. VO applications have made multi-instrument and multi-wavelength science, a difficult and fruitful part of astronomy, somewhat easier. More recently, several major new astronomy projects have been directly adopting VO standards to build their data management infrastructure, giving birth to 'VO built-in' archives. Embracing the VO framework from the beginning brings the double gain of not needing to reinvent the wheel and ensuring from the start interoperability with other astronomy VO resources. Some of the IVOA standards are also starting to be used by neighbour disciplines like planetary sciences. There is still quite a lot to be done on the VO, in particular tackling the upcoming big data challenge and how to find interoperable solutions to the new data analysis paradigm of bringing and running the software close to the data. We report on the current status and also desire to encourage others to adopt VO technology and engage them in the effort of developing the VO. Thus, we wish to ensure that the VO standards fit new astronomy projects requirements and needs.
Additional Information© 2017 Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Submitted - 1803.07490.pdf