Including Optical Interferometry in the Virtual Observatory

This wiki page has been set up to follow the OLBIN announce (5 Apr 2012) dedicated to build A Virtual Observatory in optical interferometry.

First action will be focused onto the setup of a portal giving access to OIFITS data. Data Model discussions may figure about discussion on the future OIFITS standard revision.

To promote discussions and facilitate communication amongst any interested person by this topic, please subscribe to the olbin.vo mailing list.

-- GillesDuvert - 28 Nov 2013 NEWS description of the project as of Nov 2013 in the attached document, approved by IAU commission 54.


The Virtual Observatory (VO) is opening up new ways of exploiting the huge amount of data provided by the ever-growing number of ground-based and space facilities. Specially created to develop softwares for the exploitation of interferometric facilities, the Jean Marie Mariotti Center (Aspro, LITpro, amdlib, SearchCal) is working on VO tools to increase the diffusion and operability of interferometric data.

As a first part of this project, we are developping an OIFITS archive containing or at least describing reduced interferometric observations (first-version OIFITS) obtained with a wide range of interferometric instruments:

  • the database contains observation meta data ( VO ObsCore + OI extensions) extracted from OIFITS data files. It does not store / host them but show their URLs (distributed archive)
  • web interface (+ VO ADQL/TAP) interfaces are available to query the database for interesting data sets (cone search / target, instrument, band / wave length, observable type: VIS, VIS2, T3 ...)
  • JMMC will be part of the distributed archive to host public data files on its own web server (long term storage + backup)

Note: OIFITS archive can describe both public and private OIFits data files: it is the responsability of the data provider to handle access control. Data policy should be discussed to guarantee the minimal meta data required for a proper data re-use.

The goal is to make this database as complete as possible and easy to use for non-specialists. A simple prototype (proof of concept) of the OIFITS archive is available: (old prototype),


At this stage of the project, we need two types of contribution from the group members in order to improve our prototype and make it operational soon.

1) Remarks and suggestions about the general layout of the OIFITS archive.

  • What kind of query parameters could be added ?
  • What kind of fonctionalities do you expect from this OIFITS archive ?
  • What meaningful meta data are missing ? (provenance, data reduction software, science project / topic, publication links ...)

Please send us your feedback and comments :

2) We need OIFITS files to fill the database !

But as a first step, we would like to analyse a representative dataset of OIFITS files obtained from a maximum of interferometric facilities in the world and processed by both data reduction software and any other processing tools (merge ...). The reason is that OIFITS files can be different in the way:

  • keywords are used and filled
  • data tables are present and filled (handling null values / flags)
  • structure: multiple target(s) / multiple VIS, VIS2, T3 tables (merged files)

Once we will have estimated those differences, we will be able to refine OIFits archive meta data (fix missing or incorrect information) and ingest OIFITS data files consistently in the database. Ideally, the dataset would be representative of all the modes/setups of each instrument. We specifically need files for the following instrument: CHARA/MIRC, CHARA/VEGA and NOI (or previously NPOI).

So if you have public representative OIFITS samples from those instruments, please upload them :

Members List

Myriam Benisty, Jean-Philippe Berger, Nicolas Blind, Laurent Bourgès, Theo ten Brummelaar, Leonard Burtscher, Alex Carciofi, Andrea Chiavassa, Gilles Duvert, Nicolas Elias, Alexandre Gallenne, Xavier Haubois, Pierre Kervella, Brian Kloppenborg, Yitping Kok, Sylvain Lafrasse, Peter Lawson, Jean-Baptiste Lebouquin, Fabien Malbet, Guillaume Mella, Raphaël Millan-Gabet, John Monnier, Denis Mourard, Claudia Paladini, Romain Petrov, Steve Ridgway, Klara Shabun, Sebastian Wolf, John Young, Ronny Zhao-Geisler

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Topic revision: r17 - 2014-02-05 - PatrickBernaud
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