Real time data from the Plate Boundary Observatory continuous GPS network Abstract


  • EarthScope's Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) runs a network of 1,100 continuous GPS stations in North America and has the potential to be a major provider of real-time GPS data for scientific research, hazard monitoring and survey control. PBO is planning to implement real time data flow for its three volcanic subnetworks (at Mt. Saint Helens and Alaksa's Akutan and Unimak Islands) to maximize the return of scientifically important data in the event of an eruption that destroys the installations. GPS sites with collocated instruments for meteorological measurement are also targeted for both GPS and met data streaming in the near future. On a larger scale, the USGS and a handful of academic institutions are doing research on integrating GPS into earthquake early warning (EEW) networks. The implementation of GPS- based EEW will involve real time streaming from GPS sites on major faults and in areas of high seismic hazard, and PBO is partnering with the USGS to help develop the first implementation of this early warning capability. Finally, planning is underway to develop open statewide real time networks to serve surveying communities and the general public, and PBO is positioned to be a key data provider for these efforts as well. PBO has been operating a pilot program to provide real-time GPS streams to the public from 75 stations from the Salton Sea to Alaska. PBO's streaming data is provided exclusively via the NTrip protocol, from servers located at UNAVCO headquarters in Boulder, CO. The formats supported are BINEX and RTCM 2.3 at 1 second sampling, with RTCM 3.0 to be added in the near future. Access to PBO data streams is currently unrestricted and users are free to rebroadcast these streams provided they do not charge for these services. Our experience with this program indicates that we are technically capable of streaming real time GPS data from most of our network using existing telemetry, although PBO's IT infrastructure would have to be upgraded to support an expansion of the current system.

publication date

  • 2008

presented at event