Developing Interactive Web Applications for Management of Astronomy Data
Burger, Dan Michael
This thesis describes two projects that are being used to manage astronomy data, both of which were created using the Web2py web framework and the Python programming language. First, the KELT Candidate Selection pages support a globally distributed astronomical survey for exoplanets called the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT). As participants in the KELT project examine the results of the survey, a web-based voting system allows them to share opinions and comments with each other. Because this voting system is integrated into the project’s workflow environment, the system enables the team to make real-time decisions about where and when to conduct further astronomical observations. The other project is called Filtergraph (http://filtergraph.vanderbilt.edu/), a web-based service that allows anyone to generate an interactive data visualization portal from an uploaded data file. These portals can be shared easily with a simple URL to enable collaborative discovery and can be used to build highly customizable scatter plots, histograms, and tables based on the data. Filtergraph provides users with a number of features such as selecting data based on given criteria, zooming in on various points in the data, performing arithmetic and other calculations on the data, and saving the data to various graphics and text file types. Filtergraph is also designed for speed; datasets ranging up to millions of points can be plotted in two seconds or less, thereby allowing uninterrupted cognitive interaction to enhance pattern discovery.