The Apache Software Foundation has announced that the Object-Oriented Data Technology project has moved from the incubator stage to top-level project stage.

NASA originally placed OODT in the Apache Incubator in January 2010, and it is the first NASA-developed project to become a top-level project, according to Apache.

OODT is used to organize and access large quantities of data spread out over large distances and allow users to search and analyze it at different physical locations, according to Chris Mattmann, vice president of Apache OODT, and Daniel Crichton, principal investigator who conceived of OODT.

Crichton said NASA chose Apache because the agency wanted to continue to find new ways of using the software. It was originally developed to build a national framework for data sharing.

Mattmann explained that Apache projects can sometimes be in the incubation system for years, but the OODT was out in about a year months – based on the OODT team’s ability to show that the software could grow and diversify.

As a top-level project, Apache will now assign to it a project management committee to guide the day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases.

According to the foundation, OODT is currently being used by government agencies and several hospitals—particularly the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and its Laura P. and Leland K. Whittier Virtual Pediatric Intensive Care Unit—to support research and data analysis. Mattmann said other companies interested in studying and searching massive quantities of data, some of which may be housed at a different physical location, have the opportunity to test it out. The Apache project also hopes to continue to attract more developers, Mattmann said.

“Defense projects, homeland security, societal benefit programs and water management programs could utilize the technology,” said Crichton of potential future applications of OODT.