Monday, 23 January 2012: 5:00 PM
Ionosphere-Related Products for Communication and Navigation
Room 252/253 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Space weather's effects upon the near-Earth environment are due to dynamic changes in the energy transfer processes from the Sun's photons, particles, and fields. Of the space environment domains that are affected by space weather, the ionosphere is the key region that affects communication and navigation systems. The Utah State University (USU) Space Weather Center (SWC) is developing and producing commercial space weather applications. A key system-level component for providing timely information about the effects of space weather is the Global Assimilation of Ionospheric Measurements (GAIM) system. GAIM, operated by SWC, improves real-time communication and navigation systems by continuously ingesting up to 10,000 slant TEC measurements every 15-minutes from approximately 500 stations. Ionosonde data from several dozen global stations is ingested every 15 minutes to improve the vertical profiles within GAIM. The global, CONUS, Europe, Asia, South America, and other regional sectors are run with a 15-minute cadence. These operational runs enable SWC to calculate and report the global radio high frequency (HF) signal strengths and near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) maps used by amateur radio operators and emergency responders, especially during the Japan Great Earthquake and tsunami recovery period. SWC has established its first fully commercial enterprise called Q-up as a result of this activity. GPS uncertainty maps are produced by SWC to improve single-frequency GPS applications. SWC also provides the space weather smartphone app called SpaceWx for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android for professional users and public space weather education. SpaceWx displays the real-time solar, heliosphere, magnetosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere drivers to changes in the total electron content, for example, as well as global NVIS maps. We describe upcoming improvements for moving space weather information through automated systems into final derivative products.