Author Archives: mcrescimbene

Misurare la ionosfera in Antartide grazie a Galileo

Nell’ambito del progetto DemoGRAPE finanziato dal Programma Nazionale Ricerca in Antartide, il gruppo di ricerca NavSAS sulla navigazione satellitare del Dipartimento di Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni (DET), grazie alla spedizione del ricercatore Nicola Linty, ha potuto installare nella zona polare antartica una coppia di stazioni che ricevono il segnale del nuovo sistema di navigazione satellitare europeo Galileo, oltre al GPS, rilevando così la presenza di scintillazioni ionosferiche.

[read full article in italian]

The SANSA representatives in the team and some full team photos of the SANAE 56 team

Front Row(From left to right):

1. Innocent Mthethwa – Diesel Mechanic

2. Obakeng Moalusi – Electrical Engineer

3. Nkoane Mathabatha – South African National Weather Service (SAWS) Representative

4. Vernon de Koker – Diesel Mechanic

5. Andre Odendaal – South African National Space Agency (SANSA) Representative [VLF Engineer]

Back Row(From left to right):

1. Khanya Mahlati – Mechanical Engineer

2. Danielle Taljaard – South African National Space Agency (SANSA) Representative [Radar Engineer]

3. Ewald Ferreira – Communications Engineer

4. Themba Luphuwana – University of Potchefstroom (POTCH) Representative [Neutron Monitor Engineer]

5. Abby Paton– Doctor and Team Leader

First recording of scintillation on Galileo signals in Antarctica made by Septentrio’s PolaRx5

At the end of last year, the DemoGRAPE consortium observed for the first time ever, ionospheric scintillations on Galileo signals in Antarctica, using Septentrio’s PolaRx5S GNSS reference receiver.

DemoGRAPE investigates improvement of high-precision satellite positioning with a view to developing scientific and technological applications in Antarctica. At higher latitudes, GNSS signal degradation due to ionospheric activity is more pronounced. The more precise phase-based positioning modes are particularly vulnerable to ionosphere disturbance such as scintillations. Elevated ionospheric activity can cause a loss of precise-positioning mode or, in more extreme cases, a total loss of signal lock.

Read full article here

Download the full press release here

DemoGRAPE on the SCAR newsletter

logoImproving our GPS Navigation in Antarctica: First Observations of GNSS Ionospheric Scintillations From DemoGRAPE Project
17 January 2017:

Alfonsi, L., et al. (2016), First Observations of GNSS Ionospheric Scintillations From DemoGRAPE Project, Space Weather, 14, doi:10.1002/2016SW0014882016SW001488.

The Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia leads an international project funded by the Italian National Program for Antarctic Research, called Demonstrator of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Research and Application for Polar Environment (DemoGRAPE), in partnership with Politecnico di Torino, Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, and with South African National Space Agency and the Brazilian National Institute of Space Physics, as key collaborators. DemoGRAPE is a new prototype of support for the satellite navigation in Antarctica. Besides the scientific interest, the accuracy of satellite navigation in Antarctica is of paramount importance since there is always the danger that people and vehicles can fall into a crevasse during a snowstorm, when visibility is limited and travel is restricted to following specified routes using satellite navigation systems. The variability of ionospheric delay and ionospheric scintillation are two of the primary factors which affect the accuracy of satellite navigation. The project will provide a demonstrator of cutting edge technology for the empirical assessment of the ionospheric delay and ionospheric scintillations in the polar regions. The scope of the project includes new equipment for the recording and dissemination of GNSS data and products installed at the South African and Brazilian bases in Antarctica. The new equipment will facilitate the exchange of software and derived products via the Cloud computing technology infrastructure. The project portal is accessible at We report the first Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal scintillations observed in Antarctica.

The authors thank the SCAR GRAPE (GNSS Research and Application for Polar Environment) Expert Group for assistance.

[read full article]

Don’t get left out in the cold!

Do winter weather conditions have an effect on the accuracy and use of mass-market GNSS devices?
To find out, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) asked the experts working in Antarctica.

The DemoGRAPE project, funded by the Italian National Program for Research in Antarctica (PRNA), is a new prototype of support for satellite navigation in Antarctica. It includes an installed GNSS monitoring system at two research bases, which monitor the ionosphere behaviour, or space weather, over the continent and how it effects satellite signals. The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Italian Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology, the South African Space Agency and the Brazilian Space Agency, with the support of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

[Read full article published by European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency]

[Twitter European GNSS Agency]


DemoGRAPE project on air

DemoGRAPE project broadcasted on Onde Quadre, the web radio of the Politecnico di Torino.


Last week Nicola Linty was again guest of Onde Quadre, the web radio of the Politecnico di Torino, as part of the program Seeking Seekers.

Nicola spoke about the expedition in Antarctica, the DemoGRAPE project, the research activities of the group NavSAS and many other curiosities.

Link to the web page of the radio with the podcast
Article on blog

Project Workshop

Scientific/Organizer Committee:
Lucilla Alfonsi (INGV)
Joaquim Fortuny-Guasch (JRC)

Local Organizer JRC
Press: Ufficio stampa INGV


DemoGRAPE is a project closed on last May. It has been funded by the Italian Ministry for University and Research in the frame of the Italian National Program for Antarctic Research.
The project has realized a demonstrator to provide on selected case studies an empirical assessment of the delay and of the corruption induced by the ionosphere on satellite signals in the Antarctic regions. The scope is to develop a prototype of a service addressed to the scientific and technological communities that relies on GNSS for their investigations and applications. DemoGRAPE has experimented the use of Cloud computing to create an innovative technological tool.
The initiative was born into GRAPE (GNSS Research and Application for Polar Environment), SCAR (Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research) Expert Group.
DemoGRAPE runs on archive data and on new measurements acquired at the South African station of SANAE IV (71° S, 2° W, Antarctica) and at the Brazilian station of EACF (62° S, 58° W, Antarctic Peninsula) during the expedition 2015-2016.
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) has supported the deployment of the new-concept of GNSS data acquisition.
The DemoGRAPE workshop aims to present the results achieved by the project to collect feedbacks and to delineate the actual scientific advancement in the field.

The event was held at JRC (Ispra, Italy) on 9th November 2016.

ispra DSCN6470


First scintillation data from the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System recorded at SA Antarctic base

Polar travelling in Antarctica may become significantly safer thanks to the DemoGRAPE instrumentation recently deployed at the South African Antarctic base, SANAE IV.

In January 2016 these instruments recorded ionospheric scintillations for the first time along signal paths from the European Galileo GNSS network.
The aim of this international initiative is to improve the accuracy of satellite navigation in the Polar Regions and develop new scientific and technological applications in Antarctica.
[read full article]

demoGRAPE video

In this short video (2 min.), Nicola Linty (Polito) explains the key points of demoGRAPE project.

[click here to watch the video]

First Galileo Observations in Antarctica

Thanks to DemoGRAPE project – led by INGV – for the first time the European Galileo satellites have been observed ionospheric storm in Antarctica.

Galileo: A Constellation of 30 Navigation Satellites

Galileo: A Constellation of 30 Navigation Satellites

Observed in these days an ionospheric storm in Antarctica. To record it, the receivers of the new Galileo system signals, installed through the project “Demostrator of GNSS Research and Applications for the Polar Environment” (DemoGRAPE –, now entered its operational phase.

Launched in May 2014 under the coordination of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and funded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) within the National Research Program in Antarctica (PNRA), DemoGRAPE has the aim of developing a prototype service for the use of satellite positioning systems on the polar regions for all those users who require a high precision positioning, both for technological applications both for scientific research.

[Read full article in Italian]


Press release

Comunicato Stampa: Tempesta inosferica registrata da Galileo (03/02/2016)