Overview of INGV Node

Location (town, country): Rome, Italy

Web site: www.ingv.it

Description of the infrastructure:

INGV is equipped with multi-constellations GNSS receivers capable to track in real-time GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou and Geostationary signals; few receivers track in real-time only GPS signals. The receivers provide raw data of the amplitude and the phase of the receiving signals at 50 Hz sampling frequency. The receivers are equipped with a firmware that provides in real-time TEC, Rate of TEC change (ROT), scintillation indices, but also the parameters related to the system performance (Loss of Lock, Signal to Noise ratio, etc.). The devices cover the European sector from Arctic till to the Mediterranean area, the eastern African sector, the Latin America and Antarctica. The network is already part of big endeavours, as the PECASUS operations, and offer the users an extensive monitoring capability to improve specifications, nowcasting and forecasting modelling of ionospheric irregularities. Furthermore, the GNSS data can offer the users the opportunity to develop algorithms capable to assist high accuracy positioning applications (i.e. precision agriculture, autonomous driving, Search and Rescue operations, maritime, etc.) also over sectors not covered by Augmentation Systems (e.g. Arctic). The access to long historical data series offer the users the possibility to investigate the geospace climate over more than one solar cycle, also for studying global change related processes.

An All-Sky Imager will be installed in Lampedusa in second half of 2020, i.e. before the start of the PITHIA-NRF project. This all-sky imager (ASI) is a Boston University-designed instrument described in Baumgardner et al.(2007) The system uses a narrow-band filter to capture the oxygen “redline” of 630.0 nm generated by the recombination of ionospheric plasma at a height of approximately 300 km. Areas of brighter versus fainter airglow thus refer to locations in the ionosphere where the electron density is higher versus lower, respectively. This emission is also dependent on the height of the ionospheric layer, so brighter (fainter) airglow occurs when the ionospheric layer moves to lower (higher) altitudes due to increased (reduced) recombination.

INGV manages two AIS-INGV ionosondes in the mid latitude ionospheric observatories of Rome and Gibilmanna and other ionosondes in Argentina, in San Miguel de Tucuman, near the southern peak of the equatorial anomaly and in Bahia Blanca at mid latitude South. They are ionospheric monitoring systems, developed by INGV, able to measure the main ionospheric parameters making them available in real-time. Critical frequencies and virtual heights of main ionospheric regions are measured, as well as the density profile. Normal monitoring soundings rate is 10 or 15 minutes; if necessary measurements can become more frequent up to a measure every 5 minutes.

INGV has been operating ground based ionospheric soundings in Rome and Sicily for several decades having one of the oldest and complete data set of ionospheric parameters.

Along with the operating ionosondes, INGV is planning to install a new ionospheric observatory (already funded by national resources) in Lampedusa island that is going to become one of the southernmost ionospheric observatory of Europe. The construction of this new observing site will start in the second half of 2020 and the infrastructure will be operative within the end of 2022. This new ionospheric observatory will be equipped with a DPS4D ionosonde. It will be in an ideal location to perform Digisonde-to-Digisonde experiments in bi-static operation with the Athens DPS4D.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

INGV runs the eSWua DB and website that offers the users the possibility to freely access the data produced by the instruments managed by INGV. The eSWua website provides a GUI for the visualization of near-real time data as well as historical time series for the GNSS TEC and scintillation receivers and ionosondes data. A dedicated RESTful web-service provides direct access to Level 1 and Level 2 data in JSON interchange format. Web-based tools provide access to raw data and ease the discovery and retrieving of ionospheric parameters and dataset. These tools are developed to address the needs of the scientific communities and to support applications in HF-communications and Satellite Navigation as well as institutional stakeholder like Civil Protection.

New areas opening to users:

  • Ionospheric scintillations: Monitoring, modelling and forecasting.
  • Mitigation algorithms/techniques for HF communications (Ray tracing) and for ionospheric scintillations on high accuracy positioning (PPP, NRTK) and Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging.
  • Ionospheric correction for augmentation systems in challenging areas (high and low latitudes).