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Development Of Near Real Time Regional TEC Mapping At Low-Latitude Asean Region Using GNSS Stations

06-01-2021 09:37 AM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: International Institute of Information Technology

Hope Foundation’s International Institute of Information Technology (I²IT), Pune recently hosted a two-day virtual International Workshop on “Regional TEC Mapping using GNSS Stations”. This workshop was conducted as a part of their on-going sponsored research project titled "Development of near real time regional TEC mapping at low-latitude Asean region using GNSS stations" along with Asean partners. Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) are partners from Thai and Malaysian end respectively. This project was supported by ASEAN-India Science & Technology Development Fund of the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India for the duration 2019-21.

Team of researchers from India and ASEAN countries worked cohesively during these pandemic times and successfully completed the project. This workshop was aimed to disseminate the learnings, knowledge gained during this project and showcase the regional Total Electron Content (TEC) map portal prototype developed for India, Malaysia and Thailand. (https://ppcrc.isquareit.edu.in/tec.html)

This workshop included stalwart domain experts and officials of various national agencies such as Dr. Surendra Sunda, Airport Authority of India; Dr. Gopi K. Seemala, Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Prof. Vinod C. Menon, Founding Member of National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India; Dr. Sanit Arunpold, AIT and Prof. Mardina Abdullah & Dr. Siti Aminah Bahari from UKM respectively. Mrs Aruna Katara, President of Hope Foundation and Research Centre and Dr Vaishali V Patil, Principal of I²IT welcomed all the government officials, participants and project partners and congratulated I²IT researchers team for this remarkable achievement.

The I²IT research team consisting of Dr. V. Rajesh Chowdhary, Principal Investigator and Mr. Sushrut Joshi, Junior Research fellow have developed India’s first indigenous development of near real time regional TEC mapping. Generated TEC maps have utilized International GNSS Service (IGS) datasets and injected International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) model to retrieve TEC maps and automated entire data acquisition, pre & post processing, database creation & fetching, generating near real-time maps onto a web portal for every hour on a daily basis. Through this portal we can also access archived datasets of the previous years and can plot TEC maps in near real-time.

This prototype can be further scaled up with ingesting large networks of live GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) stations datasets such as GAGAN (GPS-aided GEO augmented navigation), in the system to obtain nowcast TEC maps and can pave the way to development of TEC forecasting maps using AI/ML techniques with high temporal resolutions of 15 minutes going further.

These maps are required to monitor space weather events such as solar storms, solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and coronal mass ejections which can lead to GPS positioning errors, radiation effects on aircraft avionics, damage to satellite electronics, and power distribution grids leaving millions of people without access to electricity. Recent increase in solar activities has resulted in an increased concern of the space weather community. These solar activities can lead to major catastrophic events. It has been proven that every 11 years or so, the solar activities reach a peak; this phenomenon is referred to as the solar cycle. And the peak observed during these solar cycles is termed as “Solar Maximum”. The solar maximum can extend to several years either side of the actual peak and the Earth gets subjected to intense space weather. The upcoming solar cycle 25 is expected to reach its peak in 2025.

Although, the ionosphere is a major challenge in the observations of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) across the world. Due to these solar activities, the ionization of the ionosphere increases and causes even more severe errors for the users of Satellite Communication and GNSS systems.

Many international space agencies across the globe have launched satellites with instruments in particular to observe and understand the changes happening on the surface of the sun. ISRO is also planning to launch Aditya-L1 which is a spacecraft mission to study the Sun. It has been designed and will be built in collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organisation and various Indian research institutes. It is planned to be launched on the PSLV-C56 in December 2021 or January 2022. To understand the dynamics of the Sun & its activities to comprehend the effects on our daily life is the main goal of research carried out by many space agencies. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) & European Space Agency (ESA) have dedicated centres for space weather monitoring for maintaining a real time data centre for measuring certain parameters and predicting the occurrence of extreme space weather events. TEC mapping developed by I2IT research team will play a crucial role in space disaster prediction and monitoring for India.

Pralhad P Chhabria Research Center (PPCRC)
International Institute of Information Technology, (I2IT),
P-14, Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, Hinjawadi Phase 1
Pune – 411 057
+91 20 22933441 / 2
info@isquareit.edu.in
https://www.isquareit.edu.in/

P-14, Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park,
MIDC Phase – 1 Hinjawadi
Pune 411057

The International Institute of Information Technology (I²IT), Pune [pronounced as I Square IT] was established by Late Shri. P. P. Chhabria, Founder Chairman of Finolex Group of Industries, a well-known philanthropist, and former President of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA). As a world-class academy to impart high-end education in Engineering and Technology the Institute has strived to meet the growing needs of the industry. Established on 10 acres of land, this institute equips students to accept challenges in the areas of Information Technology, Engineering and other niche areas of expertise.

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