CrowdMag – Crowdsourcing magnetic data

Friday, 19 December 2014
Manoj C Nair1, Nir Boneh1 and Arnaud Chulliat2, (1)University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, CO, United States
In the CrowdMag project, we explore whether digital magnetometers built in modern mobile phones can be used as scientific instruments to measure Earth’s magnetic field. Most modern mobile phones have digital magnetometers to orient themselves. A phone's magnetometer measures three components of the local magnetic field with a typical sensitivity of about 150 to 600 nanotesla (nT). By combining data from vector magnetometers and accelerometers, phone's orientation is determined. Using phone's Internet connection, magnetic data and location are sent to a central server. At the server, we check quality of the magnetic data from all users and make the data available to the public as aggregate maps. We have two long-term goals. 1) Develop near-real-time models of Earth's time changing magnetic field by reducing man-made noise from crowdsourced data and combining it with geomagnetic data from other sources. 2) Improving accuracy of magnetic navigation by mapping magnetic noise sources (for e.g. power transformer and iron pipes). Key challenges to this endeavor are the low sensitivity of the phone’s magnetometer and the noisy environment within and surrounding the phone.

URL : http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/crowdmag.shtml