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Initial data release from the INT Photometric Hα Survey of the Northern Galactic Plane (IPHAS)


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The INT/WFC Photometric Hα Survey of the Northern Galactic Plane (IPHAS) is an imaging survey being carried out in Hα, r and i filters, with the Wide Field Camera (WFC) on the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) to a depth of r′= 20 (10σ). The survey is aimed at revealing the large scale organization of the Milky Way and can be applied to identifying a range of stellar populations within it. Mapping emission line objects enables a particular focus on objects in the young and old stages of stellar evolution ranging from early T-Tauri stars to late planetary nebulae. In this paper we present the IPHAS Initial Data Release, primarily a photometric catalogue of about 200 million unique objects, coupled with associated image data covering about 1600 deg2 in three passbands. We note how access to the primary data products has been implemented through use of standard virtual observatory publishing interfaces. Simple traditional web access is provided to the main IPHAS photometric catalogue, in addition to a number of common catalogues (such as 2MASS) which are of immediate relevance. Access through the AstroGrid VO Desktop opens up the full range of analysis options, and allows full integration with the wider range of data and services available through the Virtual Observatory. The IDR represents the largest data set published primarily through VO interfaces to date, and so stands as an exemplar of the future of survey data mining. Examples of data access are given, including a cross-matching of IPHAS photometry with sources in the UKIDSS Galactic Plane Survey that validates the existing calibration of the best data.