Plug and Play GPS for Earth Scientists: Providing Immediate Access to Low-Latency Geodetic Products (EnGAGE Interactive Space Display) Abstract


  • Access to the benefits of having high precision, low-latency position time series from global GPS networks has been limited by the need to have advanced expertise and systems for data acquisition and processing. We have recently removed these barriers providing open access to products of an automated analysis system we call “Plug and Play GPS,” which processes all openly available GPS geodetic data, currently from over 14,000 continuously operating stations from around the globe. The Plug and Play GPS system provides processing free of charge and greatly eases access to GPS position time series that can be used for rapid modeling and analysis of natural hazards from earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hydrologic changes, and other applications. Open access to this unique resource encourages open sharing of data and products and helps to build scientific capacity in areas that need more sampling by GPS such as Africa. We feature the Plug and Play GPS system at two interactive digital displays in the EnGAGE Interactive Space at the 2016 UNAVCO Science Workshop. The first display features interactive access to time series that are continuously being updated on the web portal hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) at: The UNR portal provides daily and 5-minute position time series and quality control products, with latency between 2 hours and 1 day. The portal features a clickable map that can be used to explore data availability anywhere on the globe. The second display is the UNAVCO web portal to the Plug and Play GPS Project at: where new data providers can register on line. Also featured is a beta-prototype web service (for which the final version will be linked from the above IP address) at: The Plug and Play GPS system works as follows: (1) First, the “plug”: Users can register on line for new GPS data to be ingested by the Plug and Play GPS system. The users submit data to the UNAVCO archive where the Data Center services provide data ingestion, access, formatting and cataloging of accurate metadata including proper source attribution. (2) Then UNR picks up hourly and/or daily data files from the UNAVCO archive and processes the data using products provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), including ultra-rapid GPS orbits and clock parameters, and JPL's GIPSY OASIS II software. The processed time series are computed in global (IGS08) and North America (NA12) reference frames (to be upgraded and to include various continental frame options). (3) Finally, the “play”: Time series together with post-processed station quality control data are discoverable on the UNR web site, but are also cataloged by UNAVCO in a Geodetic Seamless Archive Centers (GSAC) database that is searchable and accessible via web browsers and the GSAC API. A newly developed time series RestFUL web service allows for on-the-fly retrieval of time series with selections for reference frame, date time window, level of output detail and other parameters. In addition, station velocities are estimated and updated automatically every week. To ensure constructive feedback on the utility of the products, various collaborators from AfricaArray, USGS, and JPL are included in the testing and evaluation of the system. Also, short courses are being held to provide training on using the system.

publication date

  • 2016

presented at event