The GVA Technical Research and Development Forum (GVAT) discusses opportunities and coordinates the development of new instrumentation or procedures. A primary goal is to make the VLBI networks sufficiently compatible as to allow joint observations, which requires capability for observing at common frequencies, using the same data transport and formatting protocols, storage, etc. Users also benefit of similar proposal tools, and data reduction platforms.
The role of the GVAT is also to evaluate the best way to answer the expectations of the VLBI users, as described in the science vision documents, from the development of state-of-the-art instrumentation to the logistics of how the observations are made. Joint efforts to achieve increased sensitivity, survey speed, agility, frequency range and post-processing capabilities are beneficial for all VLBI networks. For example, expected increases in correlator and data imaging capacity, possibly combined with Phased Array Feeds (PAFs) on the larger VLBI telescopes, would make imaging over large fields of view a standard capability, and flexible VLBI arrays and real-time capabilities will also allow follow-ups of transient events detected either in large field of view radio surveys or by instruments operating in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Currently there are several instances in which the staff responsible of R&D, scheduling and logistics from VLBI networks regularly meet; the GVAT will extend the scope to the global scale, and facilitate the exploration of not only the synergies but also the complementarity of the network characteristics, to fulfil the requirements of the user science cases.
- EVN & GMVA Technical Operations Group (TOG): https://www.evlbi.org/TOG