GAIA is a virtual observatory providing quick access to summary data from satellite and ground-based instruments that remote sense auroral precipitation. Data from riometers, All-Sky Imagers (ASIs), Meridian Scanning Photometers (MSPs), and satellite-based global imagers are included in GAIA. GAIA is the virtual observatory for Gloria and the Auroral Optical Network, both of which are elements of the IPY IHY/ICESTAR intiative. GAIA is an international effort being carried out by groups in (at present) Canada, Finland, Sweden, the UK, the US, and Japan. GAIA involves a user interface that will support browsing of summary data, retrieval of summary and full-resolution data, and some synoptic analysis of those data. GAIA has at its core a relational data base, and various scripts that interact with the user interface, the data base, and data providers. To facilitate reliability, GAIA will develop at least two and likely three mirrort sites (one in Fimland, one in the UK, and possibly one in Asia). In the future, the GAIA Legacy Project will undertake to recover and make accessible older data sets from instruments on (for example) ISIS-II, Freja, Viking, as well as various ground-based programs.

For the GAIA user, our objectives are as follows:

  • facilitate quick identification of events relevant to studies that utilize quantitative information about the aurora
  • facilitate quick identification of which instruments have data relevant to particular events
  • provide a complete index of all relevant instruments that were operating during specific events, together with appropriate summary data, and thus providing confidence to the user that he or she has identified every instrument and data set relevant to that event
  • provide effective interfaces, summary data, and relational data base, thus allowing quick browsing of large optical and riometer data sets

For the GAIA data providers, our objectives are as follows:

  • provide a framework for displaying summary data for users
  • provide a framework for supplying data to users
  • enhance opportunities for science to be carried out with data
  • do our best to guarantee correct attribution of credit

GAIA is an entirely open project. All software and scripts will be made public. All data and summary data will be provided freely. There will be no registration or passwords required. Rules of The Road will be established by the GAIA Steering Committee before data distribution is established Otherwise, there will be no formal data agreements. The GAIA philosophy is in full accordance with the Declaration of the eGY. Our intention is to foster international collaboration and science.

NASA Heliophysics Data Environment
GAIA Schematic
GAIA Draft Charter
Declaration of the eGY