Aimed At Making GPS More Accurate
Environment Center and National Geodetic Survey Tuesday released
new experimental ionosphere products to help emergency managers and
other users quickly assess the effects of solar storm on Global
Positioning System applications.
The SEC has created a near real-time ionospheric specification
map of total electron content (TEC) over the continental United
States that updates every 15 minutes.
The USTEC map, available online, will aid users affected by
ionospheric conditions -- GPS applications, surveyors, emergency
managers, and others -- to quickly assess the current situation
that may impact their systems.
The ionosphere is the area of the Earth's atmosphere beginning
at an altitude of about 30 miles and extending upwards to 10,000
miles. Free electrons slow and disrupt the GPS signal as it passes
through the ionosphere.
"This map is the initial
offering in an ongoing effort to provide improved products and
services to a significant part of the SEC users community," said
Ernest Hildner, director of NOAA's Space Environment Center in
This product results from contributions of the National Geodetic
Survey, National Geophysical Data Center, Forecast Systems Lab, and
the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental
Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado.
The NGS also announce two new ionosphere models over the
continental United States. These two highly accurate models (MAGIC
and ICON-1) use the full set of Continuously Operating Reference
Stations (CORS) and provide ionospheric information between CORS
stations and GPS satellites with a three-day delay. Thanks to these
models, users will be able to more precisely compute positions from
Both MAGIC and ICON-1 are prototype models, part of ongoing
research projects, but are being made available free to the general
public for testing and evaluation purposes.