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IGS Overview. Ruth Neilan IGS Central Bureau at JPL Pasadena, California USA. Content. Mission & History Organization of the IGS Key Components Working Groups Pilot Projects Applications Resources, IGS CB Information System. In Support of Science.

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IGS Overview

Ruth Neilan

IGS Central Bureau at JPL

Pasadena, California



  • Mission & History

  • Organization of the IGS

    • Key Components

    • Working Groups

    • Pilot Projects

    • Applications

  • Resources, IGS CB Information System

In Support of Science

  • The accuracies of the IGS data and products are to be sufficient to support scientific requirements

    • Access to and continued improvement of the ITRF (International Terrestrial Reference Frame)

      • Station position and velocities

      • Monitoring Earth rotation parameters

    • Monitoring deformation of the solid Earth and hydrosphere variations

    • Precise time transfer

    • Scientific satellite orbit determination, LEO’s

    • Ionospheric monitoring and research

    • Atmospheric applications - ground and space based for climate research, eventually weather forecasting

Historical Perspective

Key factors in formation of IGS

  • All geodynamics and geodetic organizations realized the potential of GPS by early 90’s

  • Motivating goal: Millimeter positioning in support of science anywhere in the world

  • Not one agency can nor should assume the capital investment & recurring operations costs for the entire infrastructure

  • Join with key international partners to form federation, define cooperation, set standards, science quality driven

  • IGS History documented in Annual Report Series (1994)

Organization of the International GPS Service



NAVSTAR GPS Satellites

Global Data Centers

Analysis Center


Operational & Regional

Data Centers

Analysis Centers


Global Network

Associate Analysis Centers

Telephone - Modem, Radio Links


Practical, Custom,

Commercial, Governments,...

Regional Network

Associate Analysis Centers

IGS Projects and Working Groups


Reference Frame Densification

Precise Time Transfer

Low Earth Orbiters



Sea Level

GLONASS Pilot Service Project

Central Bureau

Management, Network Coordinator,

Central Bureau Information System

GPS Stations

Organization of the IGS

  • The IGS accomplishes its mission through the following components:

    • Network of tracking stations

    • Data Centers

    • Analysis Centers and Associate Analysis Centers

    • Analysis Center Coordinator

    • Reference Frame Coordinator

    • Working Groups and Pilot Projects

    • Central Bureau

    • Governing Board

IGS Extended Network

IGS Global Tracking Stations

Data Centers of the IGS

Data Centers have three categories (see IGS Data Center Presentation)

  • Operational Centers have direct contact with the stations

  • Regional Centers store all data from a geographic region, some for a special application

  • Global Data Centers (GDC) are the main interface with Analysis Centers and Users, store all data used by Analysis Centers and all IGS products

    • Crustal Dynamics Data Information System

    • Institut Geographique National

    • Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Analysis Centers of the IGS

  • Analysis Centers have two categories:

    • Analysis Centers produce daily products on a continuous basis

    • Associate Analysis Centers produce unique products such as station coordinates and velocities, tropospheric information; ionosphere information; they may facilitate distributed processing, analyze dense regional networks, combine network solutions, etc.

      • Global Network Associate Analysis Centers (GNAAC)

      • Regional Network Associate Analysis Centers (RNAAC)

  • Products and applications of the ACs, see IGS Product presentation.

IGS Analysis Centers

  • Analysis Centers

    • Astronomical Institute University of Bern, Switzerland - CODE

    • European Space Operations Center / European Space Agency, Germany - ESOC

    • FLINN Analysis Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA- JPL

    • GeoForschungsZentrum, Germany - GFZ

    • Geosciences Lab, National Geodetic Survey, USA- NGS

    • Natural Resources Canada, Canada- NRCAN (EMR)

    • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA – SIO

    • US Naval Observatory, USA - USNO

  • Analysis Coordinator: Tim Springer, University of Bern, formerly Jan Kouba, Natural Resources Canada

IGS Central Bureau

  • The Central Bureau is responsible for general management of the IGS and acts as the executive arm of the Governing Board. The CB is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

  • The primary functions of the CB are to:

    • Coordinate and manage IGS activities

    • IGS Network Coordination responsibilities formalized in 1998

    • Establish and promote compliance to IGS network standards

    • Monitor network operations and quality assurance of data

    • Develop and operate the Central Bureau Information System (CBIS) website

    • Act as day-to-day liaison with external agencies worldwide

IGS Governing Board


  • Christoph ReigberGeoForschungsZentrum, GermanyChair, Appointed (IGS)1999-2002

  • Gerhard BeutlerUniversity of Bern, SwitzerlandAppointed (IAG)---

  • Mike BevisUniversity of Hawaii, USAAppointed (IGS)1998-2001

  • Geoff BlewittUniversity of Nevada, RenoAnalysis Center Representative1998-2001

  • Claude BoucherInstitut Geographique National, ITRF FranceIERS Representative  ---

  • Carine BruyninxRoyal Observatory, BelgiumIGS Representative to IERS 2000-2003

  • John DowEuropean Operations Center, GermanyNetwork Representative2000-2003

  • Bjorn EngenNorwegian Mapping AuthorityNetwork Representative 1998-2001

  • Joachim FeltensEuropean Operations Center, GermanyIonosphere Working Group Chair1999-2000

  • Remi FerlandNatural Resources CanadaIGS Reference Frame Coordinator1999-2000

  • Gerd GendtGeoForschungZentrum Potsdam, GermanyTroposphere Working Group Chair1999-2000

  • Tom HerringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyIAG Representative---

  • John Manning Australian Survey and Land Information GroupAppointed (IGS)2000-2003

  • Ruth NeilanIGSCB, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USADirector of Central Bureau---

  • Carey NollGoddard Space Flight Center, USAData Center Representative1998-2001

  • Paul PaquetRoyal Observatory of BelgiumFAGS Representative---

  • Jim RayU.S. Naval Observatory, USAPrecise Time Transfer Project, Chair1999-2000

  • Markus RothacherTechnical University Munich, GermanyAnalysis Representative2000-2003

  • Robert SerafinNatl. Center for Atmospheric Research, USAAppointed (IGS)1998-2001

  • Jim SlaterNatl. Imagery and Mapping Agency USAInternational GLONASS Pilot Project, Chair2000-2002

  • Tim SpringerUniversity of Bern, SwitzerlandAnalysis Center Coordinator1999-2002

  • Michael WatkinsJet Propulsion Laboratory, USALow Earth Orbiter Working Group Chair1999-2000

  • James ZumbergeJet Propulsion Laboratory, USAAnalysis Center Representative2000-2003 

  • Angelyn MooreIGSCB, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USASecretariat---

Contributing Organizations & People

  • Over 80 Contributing Organizations

  • 108 Associate Members

  • More than 1200 Corresponding Members

  • See Resource Sheets (Pages 4 – 7) for details

FOMIFOMI Satellite Geodetic Observatory, Budapest, Hungary

GSDGeodetic Survey Division, NRCan, Canada

GFZGeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, Germany

GSIGeographical Survey Institute, Tsukuba, Japan

GIUAGeophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA

GRDLGeosciences Research and Development Laboratory, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD, USA

GSFCGoddard Space Flight Center / NASA, USA

HRAOHartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, South Africa

IRISIncorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, USA

ICCInstitut Cartografic de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

IGNInstitut Geographique National, Paris, France

IMVPInstitute for Metrology of Time and Space, GP VNIIFTRI, Mendeleevo, Russia

ISASInstitute for Space and Astronautic Science, Sagamihara, Japan

ISROInstitute for Space Research Observatory, Graz, Austria

IAAInstitute of Applied Astronomy, St. Petersburg , Russia

INASANInstitute of Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

IESASInstitute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

IGGA-WUTInstitute of Geodesy & Geodetical Astronomy, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

IGNSInstitute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand

IBGEInstituto Brasileiro de Geografia de Estatistica, Brazil

INEGIInstituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica, Aguascaliente, Mexico

INGEOMINASInstituto Nacional de Invetigaciones Geologico Mineras (INGEOMINAS), Bogota, Colombia

INPEInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Brazil

Contributing Organizations

AWIAlfred Wegener Institute, Germany

AIUBAstronomical Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

AUSLIGAustralian Survey and Land Information Group, Australia

BAKOBako Surtanal, Indonesia

BKGBundesamt fuer Kartographie und Geodaesie, Germany

BFLBundesamt für Landestopographie (Federal Topography), Switzerland

BIPMBureau International des Poids et Mesures

CSRCenter for Space Research, University of Texas at Austin, USA

CNESCentre National de Etudes, Toulouse, France

CEECentro de Estudios Espaciales, Chile

CICESECentro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Mexico

CASChinese Academy of Sciences, China

KAO-CASChinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Astonomical Observatory, China

CSBChina Seismological Bureau

CDDISCrustal Dynamics Data Information System, GSFC/NASA, USA

CMMACSCSIR Centre for Mathematical Modeling and Computer Simulation, Bangalore, India

DUTDelft University of Technology, Netherlands

DITTTDepartment of Land, Noumea, New Caledonia

DLR/DFDDeutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V., Neustrelitz, Germany

ERIEarthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Japan

VS NIIFTRIEast-Siberian Research Institute for Physicotechnical and Radiotechnical Measurements, Irkutsk, Russia

IVTANElectromagnetic Field Expedition (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) of the Institute of High Temperatures, RAS

ESAEuropean Space Agency, Germany

ESOCEuropean Space Operations Center, Germany

FGIFinnish Geodetic Institute, Finland

IDAInternational Deployment of Accelerometers / IRIS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA

ASIItalian Space Agency, Matera, Italy

JPLJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

KAOKorean Astronomy Observatory, Taejon, Korea

KMSKort & Matrikelstyrelsen, National Survey and Cadastre, Denmark

LINZLand Information New Zealand, Wellington

MAOMain Astronomical Observatory of the Ukrainian National Academy, Ukraine

MOManila Observatory, Philippines

MITMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA

NBSMNational Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, China

NCARNational Center for Atmospheric Research

NGRINational Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, India

NIMANational Imagery and Mapping Agency, USA

INGMNational Institute in Geosciences, Mining and Chemistry (INGEOMINAS), Colombia

NOAANational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA

NSFNational Science Foundation NRCan Natural Resources of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

ROBObservatoire Royal de Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

OUATOlsztyn University of Agriculture and Technology, Poland

OSOOnsala Space Observatory, Sweden

GSCPacific Geoscience Center, Geological Survey of Canada, NRCan, Canada

IERSParis Observatory, International Earth Rotation Service, Paris, France

POLProudman Oceanographic Laboratory, UK

ROAReal Instituto y Observatorio de la Armada, Spain

RIGResearch Institute of Geodesy, Geodetic Observatory Pecny, Ondrejov, Czech Republic

RGORoyal Greenwich Observatory, UK

RJGCRoyal Jordanian Geographic Center

RASRussian Academy of Sciences

RDAACRussian Data Archive and Analysis Center, Moscow, Russia

SOESTSchool of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii,USA

SIOScripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, CA, USA

SAOShanghai Astronomical Observatory, China

SCIGNSouthern California Integrated GPS Network, USA

SRC-PASSpace Research Center of the Astrogeodynamical Observatory, Poland

SKStatens Kartverk, Norwegian Mapping Authority, Norway

SOISurvey of Israel

L+TSwiss Federal Office of Topography, Switzerland

TUMTechnical University Munich

USNOU.S. Naval Observatory, USA

UCARUniversity Consortium for Atmospheric Research

UFPRUniversity Federal de Parana, Brazil

UNAVCOUniversity Navstar Consortium, Boulder, CO, USA

UBUniversity of Bonn, Germany

CUUniversity of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA

UNRUniversity of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA

NCLUniversity of Newcastle on Tyne, United Kingdom

UPADUniversity of Padova, Italy

WINGWestern Pacific Integrated Network of GPS, Japan

WTUWuhan Technical University, China

Contributing Organizations

Operations of the IGS

  • Operational Data Centers

    • Retrieve data from receivers

    • Validate data and monitor station status

    • Translate raw GPS data into RINEX (Receiver Independent Exchange)

    • Forwards appropriate files to Global Data Centers or Regional Data Centers

  • Global Data Centers organize the files on the basis of site and time, and provide Internet data access to users and analysts

  • IGS Analysis Centers pick up the data from the Global Data Centers, and estimate precise orbits, Earth Rotation parameters (ERP), clocks, etc

  • Analysis Center results are collected by the Analysis Coordinator and combined into the official IGS products

IGS Evolution

Pilot Project

IAG Approved Service --->

Estimated Quality of IGS Products

June 1999

Network Densification

  • In 1993 the IGS realized that simultaneous processing of many stations was impractical

  • IGS groups began investigating the rigorous combination of solutions rather than raw data analysis

    • 1994 Workshop on Densification of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame initiated

    • SINEX - Solution Independent Exchange Format accepted in 1996

    • Combination of global station solutions since late ‘96

    • Polyhedron Solutions improving (see Annual Report Series)

    • IGS contribution to ITRF significant

  • Establish IGS Reference Frame Coordinator June ‘99 at Natural Resources of Canada, Remi Ferland

Densification Project

Densified IGS network of ~200 - 250 globally well distributed sites -- goal that any user is within 1500 - 2000 km of a precise reference station

  • Regional analyses produced by Associate Analysis Centers called RNAACs (Regional Network Analysis Center) who

    • produce solutions for regional network using IGS products Solutions written into an ascii format call SINEX, Solution Independent Exchange format

  • Regional solution is made available to Global Network Analysis Centers (GNAACs) who

    • combine and compare solutions from all regional analysis centers

  • Result is a dense homogeneous network of stations in unique, consistent reference frame (ITRF)

  • IGS/BIPM Precise Time Transfer

    • Chaired by J. Ray, USNO (USA) & F. Arias, BIPM (France) Study accurate time and frequency comparisons

      • Develop operational strategies to exploit GPS measurements for improved accurate time and frequency comparisons world

    • Significant to maintaining UTC as new generation of frequency standards emerge

      • New/upgrade receivers at time labs

      • Data analysis

      • Key issue is calibration of instrumental delays to relate GPS clock estimates to external standards

      • Time transfer comparisons, simultaneously with independent techniques

    Ionosphere Working Group

    • Chaired by J. Feltens, ESA-ESOC, Germany

    • Working group, active through increasing solar maximum

      • Calibration of Radio Signals (GPS and others)

      • Ionosphere Maps

        • Develop combined IGS global ION maps

        • Validation of maps, may lead to improved IGS ionosphere model

      • Assessing stochastic behavior of the Ionosphere

      • Supported high rate GPS data acquisition and analysis during August 11, 1999 solar eclipse

    • IONEX is the ascii file exchange format; these files can be accessed at the Global Data Centers

    LEO (Low Earth Orbiters)

    • Working Group chaired by M. Watkins, JPL, USA

      • Determine role of IGS in future GPS LEO missions, POD +?

      • Oersted,Sunsat, SAC-C, CHAMP, GRACE, GLAS, …

      • Support of LEO occultation experiments for atmospheric profiling

    • IGS Network component, obvious infrastructure to support robust, high-rate, low latency data requirements

      • Other applications require timely availability of data (seconds to hourly)

    • Discussing LEO data as element of IGS

      • Analyze effects of inclusion in analysis, improve IGS Products?

      • Evaluate potential contribution of AC’s to LEO effort

    • Use early missions as case studies and analysis proof of concept

    Troposphere Project

    • Chaired by G. Gendt, GFZ, Germany

    • Continuous well distributed measurements of water vapor are of great interest for numerical weather prediction, climate research and atmospheric studies

      • Collocation of precise meteorological instruments to convert Zenith Path Delay (ZPD) to Percipitable Water Vapor (PWV), need dry delay from barometric pressure, more meteorological instruments needed

      • Zenith Path Delay (ZPD) estimated by all IGS AC

      • ~100 sites, combined ZPD at 2 hour interval

      • Consistency of Combination among Acs at 4mm level

      • Comparison to Water Vapor Radiometer (WVR) at Potsdam agree to 1mm of Precipitable Water Vapor (PWV)

    • Official product available at GDC’s & CBIS

    GLONASS Pilot Service

    • International GLONASS experiment IGEX, Investigated uses of GLONASS for geodetic and geophysical applications

      • October’98 - April’99, 61 GLONASS sites, 30 SLR stations

      • Interoperability of GPS/GLONASS

      • Precise Orbit determination and reference frame: PZ90 - ITRF96/97

      • Time offsets between GPS and GLONASS systems and GLONASS systems to UTC

      • Orbits average throughout ~ 20- 30 cm between ACs

      • 1m level comparisons GPS-SLR solutions

    • Demonstrates the extensibility of IGS to accommodate other microwave systems, e.g. GALILEO, GNSS

    • Pilot Service charter approved by IGSCB, effort led by J. Slater, NIMA USA

    Sea Level Monitoring

    • GPS for monitoring tide gauge benchmarks (TGBM) and altimeter calibration

      • Decouple crustal deformation effects at tide gauge benchmarks from ‘true’ long term sea level trends

    • IGS/PSMSL (Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level) -- Cross discipline, joint activity

    • Currently an seed initiative, not yet a full working group in IGS

    • Recommendations stemming from 1997 workshop, see IGS publications

    • Technical specifications development led by M. Bevis, University of Hawaii, USA, member IGS GB, Chair of IAG Subcommission VIII

      • Recent list prepared of GPS at TGBM (IGSMail #2501)

    IGS Web Site

    The Central Bureau Information System is a key resource for all users

    • One of the first websites in 1993, originally developed with W. Gurtner , AIUB

    • IGSMail, IGS Reports

    • IGS Directory, Calendar

    • On-line Publications

    • Links to IGS sites and other locations of interest

    • Rich FTP archives

    • Tracking station information, site logs, network information

    • FAQ


    • The economics of GPS make the measurement technology available to all IGS users

    • The organization and outreach of the IGS enables users to take advantage of data, systems, and products developed cooperatively with the top international GPS experts

    • Through the IGS standards are developed and adopted worldwide, contributing to robust, homogenous reference frame and implementing common processes

    • IGS is a supporting foundation for nearly all GPS projects and numerous applications


    • Tutorial development is our approach to promote extended and appropriate use of IGS products

      • Plan to continue developing tutorial

      • Many thanks to those involved in preparing the tutorial

      • Special thanks to Jan Kouba for coordinating this effort

    • It is the dedicated contribution of many people and organizations that make the IGS so successful!

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