The Ubiquitous Compass –Earth’s magnetic field in the smartphone era

Dr. Beggan (British Geological Survey, Edimburgh)

Thursday 22nd October, 2015 14:00-15:00 Maths 522


Despite the ubiquity of the satellite Global Positioning Systems, many modern navigation technologies still use the magnetic field to determine orientation and for direction finding. From smartphone map applications to subsurface wellbore steering for hydrocarbon extraction, high quality maps of the Earth’s magnetic field are still in demand.  As state-of-the-art models take months to prepare, the magnetic field has varied in magnitude and direction since the collection of the data – hence accurate forecasts of the current and future changes are also required.

The British Geological Survey Geomagnetism team provides both measurements and models of the field to the public and to industry at various resolutions and cadences, such as one-minute real-time data collected at our observatories worldwide, 3 hourly geomagnetic activity indices, quinquennial main field models and archive records dating back to the 1840s. I will describe some of the work we do and focus on the methodology used in the preparation of the main field models and forecasts and discuss the accuracy of the models.

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