Euro-Brazilian Consortium to Tackle Ionospheric Scintillation for GNSS Operations in Latin America

Leuven, Belgium – The European Galileo R&D Framework Programme (FP7) and the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) granted co-funding to the CIGALA Consortium (, lead by Septentrio, aiming to develop and test receiver-level ionospheric scintillation mitigation to increase the robustness of professional multi-frequency GNSS based applications in low latitude regions, in particular in Latin America.

Solar induced ionosphere activity may lead to the scintillation of the GNSS signals that can not only degrade signal quality but also cause signal outage, therefore posing a major threat to GNSS applications demanding high levels of accuracy, availability and integrity. The problem is particularly acute in low latitude areas and will be exacerbated with the next solar maximum, predicted for 2013. Latin America relies to a great extent on GNSS in support of activities such as land and offshore surveying, and therefore is particularly exposed. This was demonstrated during latest major solar storm in 2003, which led to very costly delays and cancellations of major surveying and drilling operations as well as serious disruption of the WAAS system in those areas.

To tackle the challenges posed by the next solar max, a Euro-Brazilian consortium led by Septentrio (BE) and including the University of Nottingham (UK), INGV (IT), Pildo Labs (SP) and Brazilian partners Petrobras, Universidade Estadual Paulista “Julio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP) and Consultgel was established to pursue collaborative research.

The project comprises scintillation climatology research, signal propagation and tracking R&D as well as a large scale ionospheric measurement and test campaign that will be conducted in Brazil with the support of several local academic and industrial partners, including Petrobras.

“With the currently increasing solar activity combined with a reliance on GNSS based technologies that has never been so high, robustness to ionospheric disturbances will be crucial to the Latin American market” said Peter Grognard, Managing Director of Septentrio. “CIGALA receiver-level scintillation countermeasures will strengthen Septentrio’s receivers capability to deliver the required accuracy even in presence of moderated to strong scintillation.”

“CIGALA technical results are expected to significantly advance the state-of-the-art in understanding climatologic, signal perturbation and tracking dynamics aspects of strong ionospheric scintillation events.” said Prof. Joao Francisco Galera Monico, Associate Professor at UNESP. “The CIGALA project will leverage research and development activities coordinated between European and Brazilian experts, involving most affected local GNSS users to promote greater awareness of the problem and solutions proposed by Septentrio”

Septentrio Satellite Navigation NV designs, manufactures, markets and supports high-end OEM GNSS receivers for demanding professional navigation, positioning and timing applications. Septentrio has an international team of experts in all areas of satellite navigation receiver design and applications. For more information about Septentrio, please visit our website at

Founded in 2001 in Spain, Pildo Consulting S.L. plays a key role in GNSS for aviation in Europe, with a deep experience in EGNOS certification and validation activities. The company offers a great knowledge on managing EC and 7th FP International Activities in the Latin America region. Please visit Pildo Labs website at

Ranked by Newsweek in the world’s Top 75 universities, University of Nottingham won two Nobel Prizes since 2003. UoN and the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) have joined efforts to establish the state-of-the-art GNSS/Galileo Research and Application Centre of Excellence (GRACE) built in Nottingham and recently inaugurated. Visit GRACE website at

With more than 900 employees, INGV is one of the most important scientific institutions in Italy, devoted to studies in geophysics and seismic and volcanic hazards. Visit INGV website at

UNESP Presidente Prudente Campus hosted Space Geodesy and Atmosphere monitoring group is one of the most prominent Brazilian groups in Geodesy and GNSS applications area. Visit UNESP website at

SME located in Brazil, Consultgel provides services and consultancy in the field of Geo-referencing Geographic Information Systems, Cartography, Geodesy, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.