next generation of Sky in Google Earth

Pepi Fabbiano pepi at
Mon Jan 14 08:44:00 PST 2008

George et al,

I think Roy had it right, but I also agree with you that we need to come up 
with a better PR for our colleagues (astronomers). Those of us that have been 
involved in Data Centers and VO know very well that behind any application 
there is a lot of 'invisible' infrastructure. This is important and necessary 
work, and if it is not developed (and maintained once it exists), all the 
flashy stuff cannot happen. Therefore we should celebrate the VO for allowing 
the microsoft anf google portals to exists, and recognize the importance of 
the baseline VO infrastructure work (including data models).

Also, we may want consider if these portals can be expanded to be more than 
EPO tools, and should certainly do not attempt to compete with them in the 
area of overlap. At Harvard with the IIC (Alyssa Goodman) we are collaborating 
with microsoft to create a science version of their portal, VO DM enabled, 
that can be use for real science work and give access to VO-compatible science 
analysis tools, and we would welcome more general collaborations.

Cheers. -pepi

> Folks, if I may offer an opinion:
> I think that the focus in this discussion (and the corresponding  
> responses to people asking "why is VO any different from GS/WWT?") is  
> misplaced.  It reminds me of the people way back asking "isn't VO  
> just like NED?".
> The VO is about much, much more than the kind of functionalities  
> offered by the GS and WWT, even if they do manage to find some  
> serious professional uses.  For sure, they will be fantastic EPO  
> mechanisms.  VO is an environment for -science- first of all, and  
> there is a vast amount of research for which the GS/WWT visualization  
> capabilities are simply irrelevant.  We'll try to use them for  
> science, but this one little colorful hammer does not fit all the  
> nails, screws, bolts, wheels, ratchets,....
> Generally, I find that any attempt to summarize concisely the concept  
> of a rich research environment like VO in a single techno buzzword,  
> like "VO is all about  
> [middleware,services,grid,...buzzwordofyourchoice....]" falls flat  
> and tends to be demonstrably false.  A cogent, multi-sentence  
> response reflecting a broad range of the (actual and intended) VO  
> capabilities would be much better.
> Cheers, George

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