ESA GNSS Science Support Centre A World-wide Reference GNSS Environment for Scientific Communities

Vicente Navarro, Javier Ventura-Traveset, Roberto Prieto, Jesús Cegarra, María del Mar Millan, Sara del Rio

Abstract: The GNSS Science Support Centre ( is an initiative by ESA’s Galileo Science Office to foster the consolidation of a world-wide reference centre for the GNSS scientific community. The GSSC, hosted at the European Space Astronomy Centre near Madrid, integrates a wide range of GNSS assets including data, products and tools in a single environment to promote innovation in GNSS Earth Sciences, Space Science, Metrology and Fundamental Physics domains. The core of the GSSC is a large repository of GNSS data, including global providers such as the International GNSS Service (IGS), regional ground-based GNSS receiver networks, space-based GNSS receivers data collections from multiple missions and data from other services that can be of scientific use, such as laser ranging data from the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS). Moreover, GSSC is to play a key role in ESA efforts to ensure long term access to GNSS resources produced by ESA throughout the different research programmes, among which, the innovative GNSS Intermediate Frequency Recording Station (GIFRES), which assesses feasibility of storing receivers Intermediate Frequency (Big) data. Since the start of early operations in 2018, GSSC developments have leveraged on mainstream Big Data, Cloud, Virtualisation and Container technologies to implement ESA’s GNSS Science Exploitation and Preservation Platform. This platform evolves GSSC’s repository with state-of-the-art discovery and analysis services to enable a paradigm shift characterised by the move of processing components close to the data. GSSC cyber-infrastructure allows the scientific community to extend processing systems executed at Data Centres, like quality checks and product generation, with new ones like Jupyter Notebooks to carry out on-the-fly, interactive data analysis without the need to download the data. The bulk of GSSC assets are integrated natively (hosted at GSSC), this pattern allows effective delivery on the aforementioned paradigm shift and overload mitigation (for example, real-time Ntrip streams from existing providers). Additionally, GSSC offers support for federated and external integration in order to deal with unnecessary duplication of data repositories or barriers across organizational boundaries. GSSC large range of public datasets can be further complemented with custom ones uploaded by users to their private areas. These areas represent a key facilitator for new collaboration models across teams, allowing the creation of composed datasets processed by shared scientific tools running on GSSC’s cloud environment. In the last year and a half, GSSC developments have extended the initial FTP centric interfaces, with advanced APIs leading to the implementation of new services for users to search data using keywords, worldwide maps and filters like: • Start and End Date • In Space or Ground receivers • Sampling Rate • Observables • Asset Type • Collection • Constellation • Organisation • Tags • Processing Level • Satellites • Files Format • Station • Mission • Class • Service Domains Combination of these filters offers a flexible mechanism to act upon thousands of files matching the selection criteria (e.g.: data from LEO satellites, with Galileo constellation, with satellites G04 and G07 with L1 and L2). Selections can be used to trigger computations on a Jupyter lab, download the data or explore their properties. This approach saves time and resources to the final users who do not need to download the files in their computer to analyse GNSS data. These services, due for release into public operations in the coming months, have the potential to redefine delivery of GNSS data and services enabling novel research and collaboration opportunities. During the ION congress, GSSC current status and future plans will be presented. Users in the congress will also have the opportunity to access to the functionalities directly on the web portal.
Published in: Proceedings of the 33rd International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2020)
September 21 - 25, 2020
Pages: 1174 - 1199
Cite this article: Navarro, Vicente, Ventura-Traveset, Javier, Prieto, Roberto, Cegarra, Jesús, Millan, María del Mar, del Rio, Sara, "ESA GNSS Science Support Centre A World-wide Reference GNSS Environment for Scientific Communities," Proceedings of the 33rd International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2020), September 2020, pp. 1174-1199.
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