The IONORING Project: Exploiting The Italian Geodetic GPS Network For Ionospheric Purposes
Abstract:The increasing use of GNSS for navigation and precise positioning leads to the need of more and more accurate knowledge of the morphology and dynamics of the ionosphere. In fact, it is well known that the ionospheric induced delay is the main error on the GNSS precise positioning applications. On the other hand, GNSS signals propagating through the ionosphere are useful to probe the ionization of the upper atmosphere.
RING (Rete Integrata GPS Nazionale) is a dense geodetic network of GPS stations managed by INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia) including about 180 receivers deployed on the whole Italian peninsula. Data acquired by the receivers were initially collected and stored to perform mainly studies focused on crustal deformations, caused both by plates movement and by earthquakes effects.
The main goal of the IONORING (IONOspheric RING) project is to exploit data from the RING network to obtain ionospheric Total Electron Content (TEC) maps with very fine spatial resolution (0.1°x0.1°, lat x long) in near real-time. Ad hoc calibration and interpolation algorithms are applied to RINEX data to produce rapid and final products. The former are generated with a time lag of about 1 hour, the latter, characterized by a higher accuracy, are produced with a time lag of maximum 48 hours. These maps will be useful to support ionospheric error mitigation in precise positioning (rapid product) and to study the ionosphere morphology and dynamics during strong solar and geomagnetic storms affecting the mid-latitude ionosphere (final product).
Maps and data resulting from the data-processing will be available on a dedicated web page through the electronic Space Weather upper atmosphere portal managed by INGV (www.eswua.it).
In this paper, some preliminary results of the IONORING project are presented as well as the ICT interface of the project.