Intersect News #45 June 2012

19 Jun 2012

Astronomy report spins into Virtual Lab

A five-year plan to create and sustain a federated network of astronomy data within Australia has been accepted by Astronomy Australia Ltd Board following consultation with the nation’s astronomers. Developed by Intersect, the concept design study investigates the creation of a Federation of National Astronomy Datasets and articulates a vision of how Australian astronomers might conduct day-to-day data intensive activities in 3-5 years. The aim is to maximise the scientific return from investment in facilities.

Intersect assisted AAL in proposing the first phase for implementation as a NeCTAR virtual laboratory project.  The All-Sky Virtual Observatory project was subsequently selected by NeCTAR to receive first round funding.  Development is expected to begin in July as a collaborative effort between AAL, the National Computational Infrastructure, Swinburne University of Technology and Intersect.

Intersect in Building Value consortium

Intersect is involved in another large-scale IT infrastructure development project. UNSW has been awarded a tender to host, maintain and develop a database to promote improved value for money in future school building projects. Intersect is part of the successful consortium and will be responsible for developing the complex database that underpins the value analysis model.

The Building Value project will deliver a sophisticated IT system for the storage and management of historic benchmarking data based initially on the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program of school infrastructure projects.


The BER P21 program is delivering over 10,000 projects in more than 7,000 schools across Australia, and the Building Value project will derive statistically valid comparative data on the cost, value and quality of those projects.

Intersect will design and develop the database application to contain, manage and enhance the Building Value project data. The database system will provide users with unprecedented analysis options to determine the best value for money spent on school infrastructure.

The long-term vision for the Building Value project is to bring about change in the business processes of the construction industry in general and quantity surveying practices in particular. Early budget and tendering decisions for building projects will move to include an essential assessment of the value proposition. Value will take into account a range of factors, including potentially: level of defects in building, time delays in construction, user satisfaction, operational costs and energy consumption.

UNSW directs the consortium which includes the Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Melbourne and Intersect.

New tool for humanities fieldwork

Researchers who undertake fieldwork or capture research data away from their desks will have a new tool to support the quick application of descriptive metadata to digital data they capture in the field, to help prepare a package of metadata and data for backup or archive for safekeeping and further manipulation.

ExSite9 aims to enhance the efficiency of in-the-field data processing workflows, help produce rich, accurate data descriptions and reduce potential for data loss.  Researchers using the tool will create a strong platform to continue data and metadata processing after they return from fieldwork.

Developed for the University of Sydney, the tool will
– be cross-platform, simple to use and robust
– support intuitive and timely creation of metadata
– support organisation and linking of resources
– wrap metadata and data into an information package

This project is supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). ANDS is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative.

June HPC training opportunities

The following training sessions will take place in June:

  • 6-7 June 2012: HPC for WIMPS at NEWCASTLE
  • 13-14 June 2012: HPC for WIMPS at UTS
  • 15 June 2012: HPC for the CLUEy at UTS
  • 15 June 2012: Google Refine Introduction at UTS
  • 26-27 June 2012: HPC for WIMPS at UNSW
  • 23-24 August 2012: HPC for WIMPS at the Intersect Offices


NeCTAR get connected forum

For round 2 NeCTAR proposals, NeCTAR has launched an online forum to encourage collaboration. Proposals are due 4pm AEST on Friday June 29, 2012

NeCTAR/ ANDS hands on cloud

Developers and those interested in building software services and data in NeCTAR’s national research cloud are invited to attend the NeCTAR/ ANDS one-day workshop in Sydney on 20 June. See or

9am, The Darlington Centre at Sydney University, 174 City Rd, Darlington, NSW 2008.

New staff

Daniel Yazbek joined Intersect as a software engineer. Alistair Grant will manage the All-Sky Virtual Observatory project in Melbourne.


Intersect is seeking software engineers, a senior and junior system administrator and a business analyst. See

Back to bulletins
Your browser is not supported. Please upgrade your browser.