VOTable session @ Interop.Moscow
rgm at roe.ac.uk
Thu Sep 21 06:32:34 PDT 2006
> On Thu, 21 Sep 2006, Pierre Didelon wrote:
>>It could be use by example to "materialise" in a generic
>> VOTAble way, the cross-identification between two catalog (row by row),
>> or allow anykind of link from row to row.
>> Does it make sens?
On Thu, 21 Sep 2006, Mark Taylor wrote:
> I'd like to see a concrete use case for this kind of thing
How about the following use case, which is fairly concrete
in that I had a PhD student doing essentially this a year or so ago.
An astronomer wants to cross-match sources in catalogue
A with objects in catalogue B using an algorithm which cannot be
executed inside either database or as part of an ADQL query. She
runs a conesearch (or equivalent) on each database, to extract the
entries from each lying in the area of sky in which she is interested,
and obtains two VOTables, votA and votB. She passes these both to
her cross-matching service, which returns a VOTable recording pairs
of entries in votA and votB which her algorithms judges to be safe
As Mark points out, it would be perfectly possible for the
final VOTable to have entries of the form (row N in votA, row M
in votB), but this would limit the future utility of the cross-matches.
If votA and votB have been extracted by simple conesearches (or any
equivalent query that does not have an "order by" clause) then the
ordering of the rows in votA and votB is arbitrary, in the sense that
re-running those queries will not necessarily yield the same ordering.
This means that the cross-match pairs can only be used by people
having access to votA and votB, not their functional equivalents
generated by running the same conesearch queries at a later date. It
would be much nicer if the IDs for the rows in votA and votB referred
to some (assumed persisent) identifier for rows in A and B, since then
the cross-match pairs could be re-used with any data extracted from A
and B, and not just the particular VOTable votA and votB.
Now, Mark may counter - and I apologise for putting words into
his mouth - that the VOTable format should not be influenced by wider
concerns like that, and should only be concerned with how these
particular files votA and votB are used....and he may be right in
saying that, but as, in practice, VOTables often (usually?) contain
subsets of larger datasets contained in databases, I think it would be
very useful for there to be a mechanism whereby rows in VOTables could
be identified using references to rows in their parent database.
More information about the votable