Phase 3 Policies for ESO Public Surveys


In accordance with the ESO Council document on the VLT/VLTI science operation policies (104 meeting, Dec. 17/18, 2004), the ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive Facility (SAF) is the collection point for the survey products and the primary point of publication/availability of these products to the ESO community. ESO assists the survey teams to define and package their data products in a manner consistent with SAF and Virtual Observatory standards and integrates the products into the SAF.

The allocation of observing time for the scientific follow up of the surveys will be subject to the timely delivery of the surveys’ products and their compliance to the specifications. The Public Survey Panel will periodically review the progress of the surveys and will assess the compliance to the specification of the surveys’ products.

The raw data will be made public worldwide immediately after passing quality control tests at ESO. Given the practical limitations on the ability of the archive to distribute large volumes of data, will ensure that the risks of other groups being able to scoop the science goals of the survey are very small. To ensure that this is even less likely, ESO may consider imposing further restrictions on the maximum amount of data that can be downloaded by a user not associated with the public surveys.

General policies on the delivery of data products from VISTA public surveys

Survey products will be delivered to the ESO archive in a format specified in the ESO Science Data Products standard [PDF], which is accessible from the top-level Phase 3 web page. The following data products form part of the core delivery to the ESO archive:

  • Astrometrically and photometrically calibrated, co-added, re-gridded tiles, along with their respective confidence maps, in all of the project-relevant filters.
  • Source catalogues for a tile based on individual, co-added bands. The single band catalogs will be ingested and accessible from the ESO web pages as FITS files.
  • 1D wavelength calibrated, and flux calibrated or continuum-normalised spectra, including extracted sky spectrum and error map.
  • Catalogues: they contain the list of parameters of individual objects across all of the observed filter bands. Their precise content to be delivered will depend on the scientific goals and exploitation possibilities of each PS. More information is available here. In coordination with the Public Survey Panel, ESO reserves the right to request from the PIs the expansion of the catalog contents with additional items that could enhance the scientific value of the data products, or their use by the community at large.
  • Survey data products must be supported and characterized by additional information, i.e. meta-data, which provides a full description for their scientific exploitation. For a description and definition of the meta-data we refer to the Phase 3 web pages.

In the case of VISTA the tile is defined to be the basic building block of the survey, because it allows a better synergy with the VST optical data products which will be present in the ESO archive also. For programmes which do not observe a full tile in an OB, the partially filled tiles should be the basic building block, although when these partial tiles can be combined to make the full tiles this should be done.

Following from the agreement signed by the ESO Director General and the PIs of the public surveys, the delivery of the data products to the ESO archive from an ESO Public Survey is the responsibility of the PI, who certifies the scientific quality and accuracy of the data products.

The description of the product types and their specific format, the Phase 3 concepts and the support documentation for the submission and validation of the external data products for the public surveys are available on the Phase 3 web pages.

In the following, we give specific instructions on the timeline and the data products to be delivered from each of the Public Surveys.