NGA posts RFI for alternatives to World Magnetic Model
On March 10, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency issued a request for information for World Magnetic Model Capability Alternatives. Responses are due no later than 12:00pm CDT on April 17.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), in support of the Office of Geomatics (SFN) “World Magnetic Model (WMM)” Program, is seeking information on alternative approaches for the collection and processing of global earth magnetic field measurements (“data sources”) that can support the production of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) World Magnetic Model (https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/ngdc.html).
The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to gain preliminary information from universities, industry and any other organization interested in supporting the definition and potential acquisition of new data sources and processing methods. The historical sources of this data are from magnetometers installed in ground observatories, ships, aircraft, satellites and, more recently, mobile devices. NGA/SFN is interested in understanding any new technologies that can generate magnetic field measurements and/or any processing capabilities that have the potential to produce the equivalent WMM model as defined in MIL-PRF-89500A.
The World Magnetic Model is a joint product of the United States’ National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the United Kingdom’s Defense Geographic Centre (DGC). The WMM was developed jointly by the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC, Boulder CO, USA) (now the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)) and the British Geological Survey (BGS, Edinburgh, Scotland). The World Magnetic Model is the standard model used by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Defense, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), for navigation, attitude and heading referencing systems using the geomagnetic field. It is also used widely in civilian navigation and heading systems. On the U.S. side, the model, associated software, and documentation are distributed by NCEI on behalf of NGA. The model is produced on 5-year intervals, with the current model expiring on December 31, 2019. Changes of the fluid flow in the Earth’s outer core lead to unpredictable changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. Fortunately, the system has large inertia, so that these changes take place over time scales of years. By surveying the field for a few years, one can precisely map the present field and its rate of change and then linearly extrapolate it out into the future. Provided that suitable satellite magnetic observations are available, the prediction of the WMM is highly accurate on its release date and then subsequently deteriorates towards the end of the 5 year epoch, when it has to be updated with revised values of the model coefficients.
Currently, the WMM uses measurements from the European Space Agency (ESA) Swarm satellite constellation. Swarm’s mission is to study the Earth’s magnetic field using high-precision and high-resolution measurements of the strength, direction and variations of the Earth’s magnetic field, complemented by precise vector magnetometer orientation knowledge. Swarm was launched on 22 November 2013 with a four year planned mission duration. Although mission operations are expected to continue beyond 2017, NGA has begun investigating future data sources and methods that could provide a follow-on capability to produce the WMM 2025 and 2030 models and potentially beyond. This RFI is provided to alert industry, academia and others of the WMM program objectives and to prepare responders for one or more potential procurements in the future.
Full information is available here.