ROB-GNSS Node

Location (town, country): Brussels, Belgium

Web site: http://gnss.be/

Description of the infrastructure:

The ROB research group is active in various areas: maintenance of a local multi-GNSS network, multi-GNSS data analysis and interpretation, monitoring of ground deformations, monitoring of the Earth’s ionosphere and troposphere. In addition, it hosts the Central Bureau of the EUREF Permanent GNSS Network (EPN) and performs the day-today management of the network. The EPN consists of about 330 permanently tracking GNSS stations distributed over Europe. Real-time EPN data are distributed through three regional NTRIP (Networked Transport of RTCM via Internet Protocol; Weber et al. 2005) broadcasters located at ASI (Italian Space Agency, Matera), BKG, and ROB. The data are exchanged in the vendor-independent RTCM format maintained by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM 2013). 55% of the EPN stations provide real-time data and all sites stream data at a 1 Hz rate.

Since 2005, the GNSS research group takes part in the Solar and Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE) which regroups in a tight network the existing activities and expertise of three Belgian federal institutes concerning Sun-Earth interactions, the environmental conditions in near-Earth space, in particular Space Weather. Within the frame of this collaboration since December 2011, ROB distributes near-real time ionospheric models over Europe based on real-time GNSS observations of the EPN (http://gnss.be/Atmospheric_Maps/ionospheric_maps.php

Moreover, the Solar Influences Data analysis Centre (SIDC) is the solar physics research department of the ROB. Since 1981, the SIDC harbours the Sunspot Index Data centre, the World data centre for the Sunspot Index. The SIDC now also provides daily activity reports and forecasts of the status of the space environment (sidc.oma.be).

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

The ROB developed the ROB-IONO software in order to retrieve in near real-time the ionospheric vTEC over Europe. The main products are 0.5°x0.5° grids of vTEC and vTEC variability available every 15 min with a latency of ~3 min. These maps can be consulted on a web interface (www.gnss.be) or downloaded in the IONEX format at ftp://gnss.oma.be.

Additionally, the STCE has a Science Events Center in support of the organisation of scientific events. The STCE has a Space Weather Training Center offering tailored SWx courses on request: http://www.stce.be/SWeC. The training staff are Space Weather scientists, forecasters and operators. We have the intention to formalize this training centre, get the ISO-standard. The STCE is a partner in the PECASUS project, which provides services to civil aviation. The STCE has close contacts with amateur astronomer clubs. The STCE communication staff gives public presentations on request. The STCE has an extended network of Space Weather stakeholders, built in time by organizing scientific conferences, e.g. ESWW, by presenting SWx courses (https://events.spacepole.be/category/4/), by distributing a weekly Newsletter (http://www.stce.be/newsletter/newsletter.php). The STCE has tide links with other SW service centers through its involvement in H2020 projects, SSA-projects and its involvement in ISES and WMO.

New areas opening to users:

  • Adaptation of the ROB-IONO software process global data.
  • Post-processing and nowcasting products on vTEC and sTEC at ionospheric pierce points.
  • Test for Galileo inclusions in the processing.
  • Multi-GNSS comparison to test interoperability of the different systems.
  • GNSS hardware delay estimation.