PI: Aaron Roberts, NASA GSFC
Software Developer: Monya White, Aquilent
Content Development: Joe King, QSS
Data Model Development: The SPASE Group
Financial Support: NASA and SBIR grants

What is the Heliophysics Data Portal?
Current plans at both at NASA and in the Sun-Earth connection community include making data easily available from all missions relevant to the global problem of the effects of solar particles and fields on the Earth and the solar system (a "Heliophysics Great Observatory"). The Heliophysics Data Portal is an evolving system for accomplishing this task. The basic philosophy, shared with the Virtual Solar Observatory and many other such projects, is to register data products from disparate repositories using a common language that allows searching across datasets, retrieving data, and performing analysis and visualization in a uniform way. A schematic view of the overall Heliophysics Data Portal architecture can be found here.
First Step: A Space and Solar Physics Product Site Finder
For our first instance of a Heliophysics Data Portal, we have developed a Space and Solar Physics Product Finder--a website that uses our Product Registry to allow users to quickly find data files (e.g., on an ftp site) and interfaces to data from a wide variety of missions. The primary goal of the Product Finder is to provide as direct link as we can to data and mission/instrument sites. The Product Finder interface enables the user to formulate complex queries and quickly find the desired data products. The user has an option to construct queries using a specific set of terms based on the SPASE data model, or by using the text search feature. We have initially populated the Registry using publicly available information on many products. We have not been nearly as complete as we would like in our descriptions. Any changes you wish to make should be sent to us by e-mail.
Second Step: Direct Use of Data Services
We are extending the Product Finder to include the ability to use the data services of various repositories directly. CDAWeb now has a SOAP Web Services interface that we are using to allow users to obtain CDFs, ACSII files, and graphs of selected data subsets using the services on the CDAWeb server. For some purposes (such as simultaneous multiple product retrieval), CDAWeb offers more capabilities, but the Heliophysics Data Portal service is convenient for quick access without changing to another interface. We also provide access to a variety of popular solar products using direct links to the Virtual Solar Observatory and to many older datasets using the NSSDC's "ftpbrowser". These direct links are available through "Get Data" buttons. We will be extending access to include other repositories such as the ACE Science Center, and other discipline specific "VxOs" as they become available. Currently, the "Get Data" services provide access to whatever file download, subsetting, and/or plotting capabilities that the service has, and in the terms the service uses. In time we plan to provide more uniformity in variable naming based on the community-based SPASE data model. This will help to enable more powerful general services for such things as coordinate conversion and visualization.
How to Search
The general text search is often the best place to start. For example, entering "plot" in the text search will yield a set of links to browse-plot utilities and any other products where the word "plot" appears in the description. Entering "movie" will result in references to products like SOHO EIT and LASCO daily movies. Entering "Ulysses" will match all products associated with that spacecraft. Entering multiple words will match products containing any of those words. Subsequent text queries further narrow the list of results. Often, one or two words will be all that is needed to find the desired products. A complete list of products is always available. Clicking on the name of the product (left side of the right panel) will bring up a detailed product description. The right side of the right panel provides links to the data and data services. Clicking on the "Data" icon next to the data access links will allow direct access to the corresponding archive's data services.
Adding sites
If you wish to add a product (data, image, plot, model, or software) to the Registry, please send a message to Aaron Roberts stating the product you wish to add, the URL for access to the product, and either a description of the product or a URL where we can find the needed information. We will get back to you if we have questions, and you can always e-mail us if you think we should change anything in any product registration as it appears. We plan to provide a product entry form to expedite the registration process. Note that we are registering space and solar physics products, and not general web sites.
Future Plans
The next steps for the Heliophysics Data Portal will be to provide more direct links to the repositories using ftp and more flexible "SOAP" and other sorts of interfaces, as in the Second Step above. Farther down the road, we plan to extend the functionality to include requesting and receiving subsets of the data using Heliophysics Data Portal-based services. The longer-term plan is to provide access to additional services such as coordinate system transformation, format translation, and the use of event lists in a "higher-order query" service. All this work is being carried out in collaboration with many members of the community, and it will only be through having input and suggestions from a wide variety of people that this and many related efforts (such as those by VxOs and those associated with CDAWeb) will succeed. Living With a Star Data Environment page provides much more information on community efforts.
Many thanks go out to the LWS Ad Hoc Data Environments Working Group, members of the VHO, SRAS, VSO, SPDML, EGSO, CoSEC, and MIDL teams, various people at NSSDC/SPDF, and many others. We are especially grateful for the continued support of Chuck Holmes and Joe Bredekamp at NASA HQ.
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