Enabling Scientific Research using an Interdisciplinary Virtual Observatory: The Virtual Solar-Terrestrial Observatory Example

  • Deborah L. McGuinness Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Peter Fox National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Luca Cinquini National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Patrick West National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Jose Garcia National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • James L. Benedict McGuinness Associates Consulting
  • Don Middleton National Center for Atmospheric Research

Abstract

Our work is aimed at enabling a new style of virtual, distributed scientific research. We have designed, built, and deployed an interdisciplinary virtual observatory—an online service providing access to what appears to be an integrated collection of scientific data. The Virtual Solar-Terrestrial Observatory (VSTO) is a production semantic web data framework providing access to observational data sets from fields spanning upper atmospheric terrestrial physics to solar physics. The observatory allows virtual access to a highly distributed and heterogeneous set of data that appears as if all resources are organized, stored, and retrieved or used in a common way. The end-user community includes scientists, students, and data providers. We will introduce interdisciplinary virtual observatories and their potential impact by describing our experiences with VSTO. We will also highlight some benefits of the embedded semantic web technology and also provide evaluation results after the first year of use.

Author Biographies

Deborah L. McGuinness, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Tetherless World Chaired Constellation Professor
Peter Fox, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Chief Computational Scientist, High Altitude Observatory
Luca Cinquini, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Senior Software Engineer
Patrick West, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Software Engineer, High Altitude Observatory
Jose Garcia, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Software Engineer, High Altitude Observatory
James L. Benedict, McGuinness Associates Consulting
Chief Operating Officer
Don Middleton, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Head, Visualization and Enabling Technologies Program
Published
2008-03-20
Section
Articles