Kehe Wang1* and Colin Yuile1
*1Space Weather Services, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia


Figure 1: ASWS Learmonth Spectrograph Metadata File with SPASE.

With explosive growth in the amount of space weather research data, the development, management and use of data and metadata is becoming increasingly important for data exploration, extraction, and inter-operations between various data centres. As a member of the ICSU World Data System, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Space Weather Services (SWS) has developed metadata records based upon Space Physics Archive Search and Extract (SPASE) data model. SPASE was chosen after comparison with Australian and New Zealand metadata standard AS/NZS ISO 19115.1:2015, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) and Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS). The SWS metadata records have been available from the SWS website,, since 2016.

Due to historical and practical reasons, space weather related data are archived in different locations and institutions across many countries. In order to integrate distributed space research data, the United States and Japan have developed their metadata network. In USA,The SPASE effort is a Heliophysics community-based project with the goals of facilitating data search and retrieval across the Space and Solar Physics data environment with a common metadata language. It is a united space research metadata portal that collects and archives space research related metadata from 20 virtual observatories and repositories over the world.

ASWS (Australian Space Weather Services) has been registered as a unique Naming Authority with SPASE. 67 XML Metadata files of eight datasets, 20 instruments and 18 observatories of ASWS have been published with SPASE registry explorer via GitHub, which is a web-based Git or version control repository and Internet hosting service. Figure 1 shows an ASWS Learmonth Spectrograph Metadata file.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Space Weather Services (SWS) has accumulated and archived more than 2130GB space weather data recorded at stations maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology’s Space Weather Network (SWN). All real time data files are recorded locally and transferred to SWS head office in Sydney. SWSresearcher use this real time data to issue space weather reports and make forecasts. The majority of this data will be automatically archived into the SWS World Data Centre (WDC), and then synced to SWS FTP server for public download. A copy of the files also replicated to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Data Centre located in Melbourne. Most of the SWS space weather datasets are stored in a text, binary or image file formats instead of in a relational database.

In addition to SWS storing a copy of its archived data into the Bureau’s Data Centre, the Bureau’s Data Catalogue also requires SWS to provide space weather metadata following the metadata standard adopted by the Bureau of Meteorology. The standard is AS/NZS ISO 19115.1:2015 - geographic information. The Bureau’s Data Catalogue has developed an online metadata editor and template. Currently, nine SWS space weather datasets have had metadata created online within the Bureau’s Data Catalogue website.

There are many space research related government agencies and universities in the world and they hold a wide range of space weather related data. Developing and utilizing metadata files enables researchers to cross-search between databases distributed over these institutions and overcomes the difficulty of collecting all original data into a single global data centre. Rather than setting up a global WDS metadata portal to hold as many metadata files as possible, we suggest sharing metadata among discipline related organisations by exchange and publishing metadata files in every organisation’s website. The metadata standards adopted by each organization or website may be different. However, it should not be a burden to give a link in the metadata files to the original data archived in each different organisation.

Metadata exchanges can be conducted simultaneously with the development of a global WDS metadata portal. The portal ought to contain as many as possible metadata files related to space weather and other disciplines research data, including; metadata about researchers, instruments, ground and space based observatories and services owned by all WDS members.


The author would like to thank Mr Todd King of the Institute of Geophysics & Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Dr. Leonard Garcia of NASA, USA for their kind help in the development and publication of the Australian Space Weather Services (ASWS) metadata files with SPASE.

The author would like to thank Ms Kate Roberts of the Information Modelling and Data Catalogue, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia for her kind help in the development and publication of the Australi


The Space Physics Archive Search and Extract (SPASE) website,

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology Data Catalogue website,