A competition to advance how we measure Earth’s magnetic field.
In 2019, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency called upon solvers to submit novel approaches to geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model.Meet the Winners
Phase 2 winners:
5 winners were nominated by the judges according to the Phase 2 selection criteria. The total Phase 2 prize pool of $1,000,000 will be distributed evenly across Phase 2 winners.
Compact Spaceborne Magnetic Observatory (COSMO) CubeSat
CubeSat-powered Geomagnetic Data Collection
Global Acquisition of Magnetic Measurements at Altitude (GAMMA)
Small Integrated Geomagnetic Array (SIGMA)
Terrestrial and Seafloor Automated Magnetic Observatories
Phase 1 winners:
10 winners were nominated by the judges according to the Phase 1 selection criteria. The total Phase 1 prize purse of $200,000 was distributed evenly across Phase 1 winners.
- Compact Spaceborne Magnetic Observatory (COSMO) CubeSat | University of Colorado Boulder
- CubeSat-powered Geomagnetic Data Collection | Spire Global
- Diamonds in the Sky: Vector Magnetometry for Space and Airborne Platforms | SB Technologies Inc
- Distributed Network of Microsensors Onboard Picosatellites | Pumpkin
- EOI Pathfinder with Magnetometry Suite | Earth Observant Inc.
- Equatorial Ground Observations and Scalar Satellite Mission | Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
- Global Acquisition of Magnetic Measurements at Altitude (GAMMA) | Stellar Solutions
- MagSAT: Magnetic Field Mapping NanoSat Constellation | Hypergiant
- Oceanic Observations from Autonomous Profiling Floats | University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory with partner Oregon State University
- Terrestrial and Seafloor Automated Magnetic Observatories | Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
About the Challenge
What is the World Magnetic Model?
Earth is a giant magnet. Compasses — both digital and analog — are oriented by the magnetic force at a user’s location. Since geographic and magnetic poles do not align, geomagnetic models like the World Magnetic Model (WMM) correct for this difference.
As the Earth’s magnetic field is constantly changing, the difference between geographic and magnetic poles also changes, and the WMM must be regularly updated.
An opportunity to rethink geomagnetic data collection
Production of the WMM currently uses space-based magnetic field measurements that the European Space Agency (ESA) Swarm mission has provided since 2013. Swarm mission satellites contain several instruments capable of producing a variety of measurements, including magnetic vector field measurements. To ensure sustainability of the WMM, the U.S. government is taking a proactive approach to identifying new methods of data collection independent of Swarm.
The World Magnetic Model is used every day around the world
The WMM is embedded in thousands of systems. More than a billion smartphone users depend on the WMM to point them in the right direction when they use mobile navigation apps. Drivers rely on the WMM to power the compasses in their cars. The WMM is also critical for military and commercial uses around the world. Among other applications, it supports navigation and attitude determination for submarines, satellites, and aircraft, while also informing operational logistics like the numbering of runways.
March 21, 2019 – May 16, 2019
Open to all eligible solvers
In Phase 1, the challenge sought concepts that proposed novel methods or technologies to collect geomagnetic data for the World Magnetic Model.
June 21, 2019 – August 28, 2019
Open to all eligible solvers
In Phase 2, the challenge sought detailed designs and plans for data collection methodologies, including a concept of operations, a description of expected performance and potential risks, and an overview of potential future program management.
Potential Phases 3 and 4
A potential Phase 3 of the challenge will likely be restricted to winners or other selected Phase 2 solution providers, at the discretion of NGA.
At NGA’s discretion, additional phases of the challenge may follow Phase 2. These phases, if executed, are anticipated to award additional cash prizes plus potential nonmonetary incentives.
PHASES 1-2 TOTAL PRIZE POOL
The first two phases (March 2019 through September 2019) awarded $1.2 million. At NGA’s discretion, additional phases of the challenge may follow Phase 2.