The Gemini Science Archive: the Data are Yours!
September 21, 2004
After more than five years of planning and development, the Gemini Science Archive Version 1 (GSA V.1.0) was released on September 20, 2004.
The GSA can be accessed via the CADC homepage at URL http://cadcwww.hia.nrc.ca or directly at http://cadcwww.hia.nrc.ca/gemini
The first thing a user will notice is the improved and consistent styling of the GSA web interface. The blue menu bar allows access to the many features of the GSA. As an example, running the cursor over the "GSA Queries" section brings up a drop-down menu containing several different query forms. Extensive online help is available as are links to other useful aspects of CADC and Gemini Operations. In addition, the partner country flags are links to their respective Gemini homepages.
The GSA is an important step forward from the prototype and other ground-based archives in several areas. These include:
search options for science datasets including by target, observational
parameters, and by instrument setup. Datasets that have not been
released to the public but which are in the GSA (i.e. data for which
the 18 month proprietary period has not yet expired) can be queried and
non-proprietary information on them viewed but the data cannot be
- queries on the complete dataset
catalog made via standard or "canned" instrument-specific parameters or
by selecting a personalized set of the complete dataset
parameters. This allows for extensive searching for, for example,
appropriate calibration data for specific instrument setups;
of an extensive meta-data database containing considerable quantities
of information on, for example, the observing conditions and
environmental parameters during the acquisition of the science data;
- PI data access to their own proprietary data using a secure password protected entry system;
- user configurable results tables with expanded content lists for more accessible dataset descriptions;
"save" and "restore" option for query results allowing local storage of
dataset IDs for future concatenation and/or quick access;
clickable links on results pages to allow navigation into, for example,
other "related" datasets including calibration, complete program
dataset lists, complete UT date lists, Gemini instrument description
pages, and filter/grating/grism information;
- extensive links to help on GSA web form parameters;
- preferential access to all GSA data for Gemini Staff members via custom query forms;
And the development doesn't stop here! We are currently discussing advanced capabilities for the GSA that will incorporate many features required for both PI data distribution and a fully Virtual Observatory-enabled archive including the ingestion, previewing, and distribution of on-line data processing (OLDP) data products, and storage and retrieval of Observing Tool science programs (defining how exactly the dataset was acquired) and observing logs containing observer comments on the acquisition process.