30 January 2009

Logging Standard Update

In my last few posts, I've talked about logging standards and a promising project under development that may bring a common observation exchange format to the astronomical community. This project has moved forward and has undergone some changes recently. The project described on this blog and formerly known as COMAST has been renamed to OpenAstronomyLog - or <OAL> for short - and it has a new home on the Web at http://groups.google.com/group/openastronomylog . Although the website is under construction now, it is a repository for developer information and discussion among users and developers.

There are a number of participants in the project that are working toward an upcoming release of the standard that will encompass several enhancements to the previous release (COMAST v1.7) and will, of course, sport the new project name <OAL>. Deep-Sky Planner does not yet support <OAL> but will do so in a future release. Considerable R&D time has been spent over the past months preparing to support the standard and making minor contributions to it. In-house tools have been developed for converting existing DSP4 observations to and from the standard format, so the concept is proven.

Hopefully the issues that arose for this developer can be addressed in material on the OpenAstronomyLog website so that other developers can adopt the standard easily. I invite you to visit the website and consider how saving your observations in an open exchange format might benefit you and the astronomical community at large.