Division II
Working Group on International Data Access
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IAU Working Group on International Data Access

This Working Group (WG) has been established by Division II (Sun and Heliosphere) of the IAU to study the archiving, retrieval and distribution of solar and heliospheric data.

The objective is to help coordinate the growing exchange of data through the Internet by working with the data providers, virtual observatories and other interested parties to develop guidelines that will facilitate access and use of the data. While our discussions are at the international level, as far as possible the desire is to build on existing structures at the national levels, rather than replace or duplicate them.

The Working Group is studying electronic means to support:

  • The search for suitable observations by developing lists of existing metadata, and improving their contents and quality of these data.
  • Refinement of the selection of observations through the coordinating access to quick-look data products.
  • Locating raw data and calibrated data products in archives located around the world and provision of access to these data
The Group is working with the virtual observatory initiatives to encourage interoperability between the projects and to ensure that they develop standards and employ techniques that are acceptable to the wider solar and heliospheric communities. We are also trying to encourage the communities to help with the task of developing the required standards and to participate in the virtual observatory projects.

Recent Activities

We are discussing a number of topics related to access to solar and heliospheric data; documents relevant to the discussions can be found here (please send me any additions).

January 2009: The Heliophysics Integrated Observatory (HELIO), a proposal submitted under the EC's 7th Framework Programme (FP7), was selected for negotiations. Many participant in this WG are involved in HELIO.

Because of our efforts to improve access to solar and heliospheric data, we believe that the activities of this Working Group have been relevant to the International Heliophysical Year (IHY) and Electronic Geophysical Year (eGY). Both finshed around the end of 2008.

These pages are established and maintained within the framework of the IAU.
Editor: R.D. Bentley (UCL-MSSL)

Last updated: 2nd April 2009