Interfering with the Global Positioning System

Jun 09, 2008

You can't always trust your GPS gadget. As scientists have long known, perplexing electrical activity in the upper atmospheric zone called the ionosphere can tamper with signals from GPS satellites.

Now, new research and monitoring systems are clarifying what happens to disruptive clouds of electrons and other electrically charged particles, known as ions, in the ionosphere. The work may lead to regional predictions of reduced GPS reliability and accuracy.

One team of researchers has recently observed Earth's aurora, which is a prominent manifestation of ionospheric electrical activity, in the act of disrupting GPS equipment. Other scientists have successfully tested a way to forecast GPS disturbances for marine users, with likely extension to users on land.

Some research groups are turning the tables and employing GPS receivers as tools with which to conduct basic research on the electrical-current structures of the ionosphere.

The scientific reports on these and other recent developments are available in a special section of Space Weather: The International Journal of Research and Applications, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, or AGU.

An article that introduces the section was posted online Friday, June 6. It summarizes past research and operational developments regarding ionospheric effects on GPS, and discusses potential future improvements in the field.

The new introductory article is available at www.agu.org/journals/sw/swa/free (Click on "Space Weather and the Global Positioning System"). The special section itself, which currently contains seven scientific reports, is available online at www.agu.org/journals/sw/?conte… alsections&ssid=GPS1

Source: American Geophysical Union

Explore further: Hurricane Edouard right environment for drone test (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rio's Olympic golf course in legal bunker

1 hour ago

The return of golf to the Olympics after what will be 112 years by the time Rio hosts South America's first Games in 2016 comes amid accusations environmental laws were got round to build the facility in ...

Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

3 hours ago

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse named after a fabled, poor woodsman who discovers a thieves' den full of treasures, is ready to strike it rich on the New York Stock Exchange.

Recommended for you

NASA image: Agricultural fires in the Ukraine

6 hours ago

Numerous fires (marked with red dots) are burning in Eastern Europe, likely as a result of regional agricultural practices. The body of water at the lower left of this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging ...

NASA marks Polo for a hurricane

7 hours ago

Hurricane Polo still appears rounded in imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect that to change.

NASA sees Hurricane Edouard enter cooler waters

7 hours ago

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite and Aqua satellite gathered data on Hurricane Edouard's rainfall, clouds and waning power is it continued moving northward in the Atlantic into ...

First eyewitness accounts of mystery volcanic eruption

10 hours ago

New light has been shed on one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 500 years—the so-called 'Unknown eruption'—thanks to an unusual collaboration between a historian and a team of earth scientists at the University ...

User comments : 0