Ionosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC)

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for the IMPC. If you have a problem, for which you do not find help here, do not hesitate to contact the IMPC helpdesk (impc-uhd@dlr.de).

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  • How can I access and download product data?

    You can get latest data via the "Products & Archives" section on IMPC portal (download is possible after your registration). Access to historical data and longer periods has to be requested via impc-uhd@dlr.de  and will be delivered via ftp for scientific purposes only.

  • Is it possible to get the current status of the ionosphere over Europe at any time for my current location?

    IMPC uses GNSS measurements from various reference networks in Europe such as the International GNSS Service (IGS) and the European Reference Frame (EUREF) distributed by the Federal Agency of Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) or the Norwegian Mapping Authority (NMA). The global TEC maps are mainly created by using data provided by the IGS  Real-Time Pilot Project (IGS-RTPP). To generate TEC maps of vertical TEC, the slant measurements have to be transformed to the vertical. In a first approximation the ionospheric range error in GNSS is proportional to TEC.

    These TEC maps are used to derive latitudinal and zonal gradients, rate of change of TEC (5 min increments), 27 days medians, hourly forecasts of TEC, and corresponding error estimates (soon also available via IMPC). IMPC provides TEC-maps describing the state of the ionosphere with a latency of not more than 5 minutes for Europe and global with an update rate of 15 minutes (up to 5 minutes on request). The spatial resolution (latitude x longitude) is 2 °x 2° for Europe and 2.5° x 5° for global maps.

  • What is the error budget of the TEC maps? Is the error information an absolute value or has to be considered as percentage dependent from the maximal height of the TEC value?

    The TEC map errors are shown in the TEC-Error maps, which are provided along with the NRT TEC maps for Europe and the Globe.  The given errors are related to the uncertainty of the in real-time derived TEC values from GNSS measurements and the error propagation based on the modelling and assimilation processes. The error/uncertainty is low in regions where a high density of real time measurements is available and higher in regions without measurements, where the TEC values are calculated via the TEC-model only (e.g. over oceans and in mountain regions). “Real” deviations from the reality/nature can only be obtained/estimated by comparison with other scientific measurements of the electron content of the Ionosphere (e.g. measurements with the research satellite Topex/Poseidon or Jason, Ionosonde data or with the incoherent scatter radar EISCAT).

  • What is the spatial resolution of the IMPC TEC maps?

    The spatial resolution (geogr. latiude x geogr. longitude) of the IMPC TEC maps is 2° x 2° for European maps and 2.5° x 5° for global maps.

  • What is the update rate for European and global TEC maps?

    The IMPC TEC maps are provided with an update rate of 15 minutes. Actually, is generating these TEC maps with a temporal resolution of 5 minutes. The 5 minutes TEC date is available on request.

  • What is the latency of the IMPC TEC maps?

    The latency of the IMPC TEC maps is below 5 minutes. 

  • Which size have the TEC map data sets of one day?

    One TEC map file (which contains one map) is in ASCII format and has a size of approximately 70kB.

  • In which data format I can get data sets?

    Data are provided in ASCII-Files (one Headerline + data as Matrix) and additionally as png images. New data products will be provided in JSON format.