IMPEx board members André Csillaghy, Karoly Szego and Bob Bently at the briefing meeting in Vienna.

IMPEx USB/SSB face-to-face meeting RP2

Feedback gathering in the second reporting period was primarily done in the course of a board briefing meeting that took place on Sunday, April the 7th 2013 in Vienna.


The date for the meeting was chosen to be close to this year’s EGU meeting in Vienna in order to facilitate attendance, since it was expected that a big part of the board members would also be present at this event. Nevertheless, a couple board members had to cancel at short notice due to other duties and date clashes as well as limited resources available for reimbursing travel costs and accommodation.

Summary of the responses

The board was not clear on whether actual benchmarking of the models is/should be an objective of IMPEx.

The challenge is to find the trade-off between interoperability and a splitting of functionalities over a wide range of applications each with its proprietary interactive model.

The fact that every tool in IMPEx has its own interactive model was seen as a problem, although this is according to the philosophy of IVOA that encourages the connection of existing tools instead of “reinventing the wheel” again and again.

Subject of registry was brought up and whether the services/models should/will be registered at IVOA. It might be difficult to register certain IMPEx services due to inadequate metadata available. The question would also be at what level the services should be described.

Apart from the IMPEx configuration an IVOA compliant registry as part of IMPEx (registering all tools etc.) could make sense in the future.

Summary of responses received via the RP2 questionnaire

IMPEx Data Model 1.0 As far as I can judge in a field that is far from my usual occupations, it seems that the models, input parameters, etc… are correctly documented in the current DM. From my own experience in another field, keeping a clean record of model/software versions with every possible variation is pivotal in the documentation of such things. This is of course independent from the DM itself, but I would add a strong recommendation, and perhaps some guidelines, for model providers to maintain a list of model versions with comments, notes on validity… and make it available to the users.

Yes, the important properties are there. It would be important, as sort of quality assurance, compare models for similar initial conditions, and put somewhere on the website the result of this test.

Yes, all the models focus on the respective most important properties.

IMPEx web interfaces
Although AMDA and 3Dview are obviously including all the required functions and are able to evolve on a relatively short time scale, it would be nice to implement data visualization through standard IVOA tools via SAMP.

I understand there is no central data search portal, which may make it difficult for new users to work with this system.

It seems to me that the service is in phase with the development plans, I did not find any functionalty wich is lacking.

Seems have appropriate initial basic functionality. It would be very useful to have closer integration between various tools.

 A common structure for the "help" or "how-to" pages would be nice. Also, I suggest either to allow users to access via a larger set of browser (many models accepts Firefox only, while Mac users are more familiar with Safari, for example), or to completely block those users that try to access with a non-tested browser. In fact, I accessed AMDA with Safari (it was not supported) so that even if I was able to browse the website, I am not sure if some feature were missing or not working because of the website or because of my browser.

Project documentation
There are many tutorials available for AMDA and 3Dviews; extending those to the IMPEX interface / use cases would certainly be helpful to potential users. A central description of the available models would also help.

It is not easy to access the documentations, and they are not really intended for beginners. A separate review of the documentation would be a good idea.

Some scientific cases are just listed (links not working).

IMPEx tools
I’m considering using 3Dview in another context, related to the Rosetta mission (although this is apparently another version of the application). The main use would be to help visualize observing configurations, during the preparation of observations and when operations are completed. Two additional functions would be welcome in this context: first, the visualization of instruments line of sight (e.g. as a cone in 3D). Second, the possibility to work with home-brewed spice kernels (from what I understand, they currently need to be included on the server side, which is impossible for the user).

I have worked  with AMDA, and to a lesser extent with 3dtools. This latter hopefully will develop further.

I've tried to use all the presented tools. The use of most of them are straightforward, except AMDA, which I found not so easy to explore, probably because of the huge work behind it. There are two different links to AMDA.

Work-flow integration
The current view in EPN is that the UWS system is the most promising in this field.

If work-flow integration means better integration between different tools, then yes.