Ips Prototype

IPS Prototype Service Presentation


Welcome to the Ionosphere Prediction Service Web Portal!

The Ionosphere Prediction Service (IPS) is an initiative of the European Commission in the framework of the Galileo Programme.

IPS is a prototype of a service for the monitoring and prediction of the Ionosphere effects on the GNSS user. It is able to translate the observations of the sun and of the ionospheric activity into a prediction of the performance of the GNSS solution at user level.

The IPS service offers dedicated products for a set of identified GNSS User Communities, like Mass Market, Aviation, High Accuracy and Scientific Communities.

You can find a description of the IPS architecture at the “IPS Project” page of this web site and an overview of the available products in the “IPS products” section of this portal.

Upon request (using the “registration” form of the web portal) access can be granted to the GNSS users willing to test this service.

The “How to” section of this portal can provide users with a guide for the correct use of the features of the IPS service prototype provided by the IPS web portal.

For any question regarding registration or the web portal features, please send an email to IPS-helpdesk@telespazio.com.

Please note that the IPS products are partially based on public third parties networks and data. The quality and availability of the data may impact the quality and availability of IPS products. Therefore the IPS service prototype cannot be liable for the availability or quality of its products and the final user is the only responsible of their use and interpretation.

Special announcements

Special Announcements




Current Space Weather Condition

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IPS Technical Background in a Nutshell

IPS Technical Background in a Nutshell


The IPS products are thought to monitor and forecast the solar and ionospheric activity and its well-known effect on GNSS signals and on the final performances of user applications; in this sense a whole class of products implements the translation from the atmospheric behavior and perturbations to the GNSS user performance figures. The translation is implemented as a logical chain where some outputs of a specific processing facility are used as the input for the next one.

The “carousel” widget that is shown in the above frame, represents such processing chain through some samples of real time IPS products.

Please consider that the total number of IPS products is around 160, in order to provide the most detailed description of the considered phenomena. The user interested to look at the details of IPS products can browse the IPS product page.

In particular the “carousel” sequence is formed by the following products:

Solar Disk Image with Flare Forecast Information

Solar flares are sudden, eruptive events that occur in the solar atmosphere, usually in correspondence of solar active regions. When a flare occurs, significant amounts of energy are released on time scales of the order of few minutes. The classification uses the letters A, B, C, M or X according to their peak flux in the X-ray wavelengths.

The IPS Flare forecast static image shows a full-disk composite image of the Sun, where coloured boxes mark the probability that an active region will produce a M or X flare in the next 24 hours. Specifically:

  • Red boxes indicate that the probability the marked active region will produce an M (X) flare is > 50% (10%)

  • Yellow boxes indicate that the probability the marked active region will produce an M flare is > 1%

  • White boxes indicate that the probability the marked active region will produce an M flare is = 0-1%

M- and X-class flares may trigger radio blackouts and radiation storms in the Earth ionosphere.

TEC Global Nowcasting and Short Term Forecasting

Total Electron Content (TEC) is a common descriptive parameter for the ionosphere of the Earth; it represents the total number of electrons integrated between a radio transmitter and receiver along a tube of one meter squared cross section, i.e., the electron columnar number density. It depends on local time, latitude, longitude, season and geomagnetic conditions. The TEC values are derived by the processing of calibrated dual frequency measurements collected by a network of GNSS receivers.

IPS nowcasted maps for the global area provide information about the VTEC in TECU (1016 electron per square meter about 16 cm of ranging delay on L1/E1 band) by assuming the thin-shell layer simplification at a height of 350 Km. Vertical TEC (VTEC) means that the integration of electron density is made on a perpendicular to the ground plane. This value can be projected on the user-satellite direction according to a proper slanting factor.

The forecast product provides a prediction of the VTEC half an hour ahead.

Scintillation Nowcasting over Europe

Scintillation are rapid fluctuations in the phase and amplitude of the transionospheric radio signal due to small-scale irregularities of the ionosphere. These fluctuations affect the tracking of the GNSS receivers and can cause several problems like cycle slips, degradation of positioning accuracy or even the complete loss of signal lock. Ionospheric scintillation is primarily an equatorial and high-latitude ionospheric phenomenon, although it can (and does) occur at lower intensity at all latitudes.

Periodically a scintillation indices image is generated; each image shows the level of slant and vertical S4 and σΦ as a function of the UTC time and the geodetic coordinates of the ionospheric pierce-points as seen by the network of scintillation receivers.

PLL Tracking Error Global Nowcasting and Long Term Forecasting

IPS nowcasted maps for the global area provide information about the values of verticalized PLL tracking error due to scintillation phenomena for the GPS L1 signal in mm. The algorithm is fed with the nowcasted values of Rate of TEC Index (ROTI) defined as standard deviation of the rate of TEC (ROT) assuming the ionosphere as a thin layer.

The long term forecast provides a prediction of the PLL tracking error 24 hours ahead.

Standalone Positioning Error Global Forecast

The IPS maps provides a prediction of the standalone GNSS positioning error over a global area; the error is computed in correspondence of the regular nodes of an artificial grid of GNSS receivers. Several inputs are used to model and predict the pseudorange error components used for positioning solution, among these the forecast VTEC maps produced by IPS for the ionospheric contribution.