IVOA Roadmap

Since its formation in 2002, the IVOA can boast of a number of achievements :

  • Reaching truly world-wide cohesion in debating and agreeing key astronomical standards. The IVOA is endorsed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) as the accepted method for producing astronomical data-related standards. Our standards are passed on to IAU Commission 5 for ratification.

  • Establishing a forum for discussing and debating astronomical data technology in general as well VO standards in particular. The twice yearly "Interoperability Meetings" have been a key feature in resolving international differences as well as sharing ideas and technology.

  • Rapid agreement on an initial set of basic standards - a table exchange format, a specification for simple catalogue and image query services, the definition of metadata describing resources, a dictionary for standardised column names, and a suite of standards allowing the construction of VO registries. Services complying with these initial standards are already deployed around the world. Also very successful has been the definition of a simple standardised way for applications to pass messages between each other, so they can collaborate smoothly on VO tasks. At the time of writing the IVOA has agreed a crucial new standard, the Table Access Protocol, which allows software to send flexible queries to a wide variety of databases.


The IVOA is working hard on further standards, including those needed for virtual storage addressing, single sign on, semantic reasoning, grid and web service modularisation.

Top-level Roadmap Documents