Earth Planets Space, Vol. 58 (No. 6), pp. 765-774, 2006
Vladimir O. Papitashvili1, Valeriy G. Petrov1, Anshuman B. Saxena1, C. Robert Clauer1, and Natalia E. Papitashvili2
1Space Physics Research Laboratory, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, U.S.A.
2Space Physics Data Facility and QSS Group, Inc., NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, U.S.A.
(Received April 30, 2005; Revised September 12, 2005; Accepted September 12, 2005; Online published June 2, 2006)
Since the mid-1990s, many geomagnetic datasets began appearing on the World Wide Web. Often these data were not submitted to the World Data Centers as recommended since the International Geophysical Year (1957- 58). As a result, existing data become naturally distributed creating an urgent need for more sophisticated search engines capable of identifying and retrieving the data from Web for scientific analyses. We introduce a Virtual Global Magnetic Observatory concept for "pulling" geomagnetic data distributed worldwide. The VGMO moves information exchange from simple file transfers to a higher level of abstraction, forming the distributed databases through establishment of self-organizing data nodes. We present the first working VGMO prototype: an "on-demand" objects-building Internet application that is transparent in its internal data management to the external users/clients. The VGMO server continuously builds data-objects only from client requests by going through a pre-set list of Web-based data nodes (including WDCs). As the retrieved data are added to the server (or node) database, future requests of the same interval would not force a new Web search. Furthermore, new nodes can be made available to others through the VGMO network, building the worldwide geomagnetic data "fabric" in a platform-independent and location-neutral environment of newly "webbed" digital data. Application is on a server at http://mist.engin.umich.edu.
Key words: Geomagnetic field, data management, virtual observatory.