Leuven, Belgium – The European Galileo R&D Framework Programme (FP7) and the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) granted co-funding to the CIGALA (Concept for Ionospheric Scintillation Mitigation for Professional GNSS in Latin America) Consortium, lead by Septentrio, aiming to develop and test receiver-level ionospheric scintillation mitigation to increase the robustness of professional multi-frequency GNSS based applications in low latitude regions, in particular in Latin America.
Solar induced ionosphere activity may lead to the scintillation of the GNSS signals that cannot only degrade signal quality but also cause signal outage, therefore posing a major threat to GNSS applications demanding high levels of accuracy, availability and integrity. The problem is particularly acute in low latitude areas and will be exacerbated with the next solar maximum, predicted for 2013. Latin America relies to a great extent on GNSS in support of activities such as land and offshore surveying, and therefore is particularly exposed. This was demonstrated during latest major solar storm in 2003, which led to very costly delays and cancellations of major surveying and drilling operations as well as serious disruption of the WAAS system in those areas.
To tackle the challenges posed by the next solar max, a Euro-Brazilian consortium led by Septentrio (BE) and including the University of Nottingham (UK), INGV (IT), Pildo Labs (SP) and Brazilian partners Petrobras, Universidade Estadual Paulista “Julio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP) and Consultgel was established to pursue collaborative research.
The project comprises scintillation climatology research, signal propagation and tracking R&D as well as a large scale ionospheric measurement and test campaign that will be conducted in Brazil with the support of several local academic and industrial partners, including Petrobras.