Virtual Observatory

Printer-friendly version


Virtual observatory (VO) is a collection of interoperating data archives and software tools which utilize the internet to form a scientific research environment in which astronomical research programs can be conducted.

In much the same way as a real observatory consists of telescopes, each with a collection of unique astronomical instruments, the VO consists of a collection of data centres each with unique collections of astronomical data, software systems and processing capabilities.

The main goal is to allow transparent and distributed access to data available worldwide. This allows scientists to discover, access, analyze, and combine nature and lab data from heterogeneous data collections in a user-friendly manner.

TW LogoTWC Web Observatory (WebObservatory)
Principal Investigator: Deborah L. McGuinness
Co Investigator: Jim Hendler
Description: The Web Science Research Center at TWC RPI is working with other members of the Web Science Trust to create a global "Web Observatory". The global movement toward Open Data and transparency have successfully motivated the release of very large institutional and commercial data sets describing social phenomena, economic indicators and geographic trends. This proliferation of data represents great opportunity for researchers and industry but this data abundance also threatens to make it ever more difficult to locate, analyse, compare and interpret useful information in a consistent and reliable way; a situation which can only get worse unless we can help stakeholders perform useful analysis rather than drowning in a sea of data. A global Web Observatory will offer an institutional framework to promote the use of W3C and other standards in the development of Semantic Catalogues to globally locate existing data sets, Collection Systems to gather new global data sets, and Analytics Tools and methodologies to analyse these data sets.