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Next: The Pool Observation Database Up: IRAM Newsletter 59 (May 2004) Previous: IRAM Program Committee Recommendations


Pool Poll


To evaluate the status and further improve the pooled observations at the IRAM 30m telescope we have carried out a poll among the Principal Investigators who participated in the pools in winter 2002 and summer 2003. Questions addressed the data quality, the information flow between observers and PIs, the overall organization scheme and possible future extentions of the pooled observations (see attached questionnaire for details).

In total we received 21 answers from the pool user community. The poll was evaluated using a scale from -5 (no/bad) to 5 (yes/good). The average ranking for each poll question is shown in Fig 1.

Figure 1: Average result for each poll question.
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Most importantly, the pool efficiency and the quality of the data obtained during the pooled observations were rated positively. We only received a few complaints on observations carried out during inadequate weather conditions. Most critical comments regarding the data flow were related to a lack of active feedback from the observers when new data were taken for a program (Q3a) and difficulties to install the bolometer reduction software at the home institutes (Q3f) . For the forthcoming pool we will include a messenger service in the database which will inform the PIs via email when new observations have been taken. In this way, we also hope to improve the feedback from the PIs to the observers (Q6). The distribution of the bolometer reduction software was improved by offering the download of MOPSIC and all related calibration files via the pool database since the last winter period. Diverse comments were given concerning the scheme of selecting observers and if more "professional" observers are needed in order to ensure a high data quality (Q5a/b). Problems seem to arise from mixing heterodyne and bolometer observations since only few observers are experienced in both observing techniques. The problem would become even more severe if HERA observations or complex heterodyne programs would be included in the pool (see below). Strong observational support from IRAM staff is clearly needed to deal with the complexity of pooled observations. We received many critical comments on whether the pool observations should be extended with respect to the number of participating projects include e.g. HERA observations (Q7). The main concern expressed by the PIs was, that the observations might get too complicated to carry out for observers other than IRAM staff.

We would like to thank all PIs who participated in the poll and greatly helped to improve this new observing scheme.


In the context of the poll, the following questions were asked:
Data quality
Do your data show evidence of poor/imperfect observing?
Overall efficiency
Considering the grade given by the program committee and the weather requirements of your proposal are you satisfied with the amount of data obtained ?

Data flow
Could you follow the execution of your observations with adequate detail?

Could you correctly retrieve your data ?

Did you get sufficient information about your observations?

For bolometer proposals, do you consider the pipeline reduction as a useful tool for assessing the data quality ?

Would similar tools be useful for heterodyne observations?

Did you have all software tools available at your home institute for final analysis of your data ?
Data base
ease of use: ok / sufficient / needs improvement
the current scheme of selecting observers and their typical stay (one week) at the telescope is: ok / sufficient / needs improvement
Do we need more "professional" observers?

Are you worried about confidentiality of your proposal/data ?
Progress of observations
Did the feedback to the observers work correctly?

Scope of the pool
Should more observing modes be eligible? Should more proposals be included ?

Overall satisfaction with the pool
ok / sufficient / needs improvement

Axel WEISS, Clemens THUM and Rainer MAUERSBERGER

next up previous
Next: The Pool Observation Database Up: IRAM Newsletter 59 (May 2004) Previous: IRAM Program Committee Recommendations