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NGA launches $1.2M challenge to advance geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model

20 March 2019

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The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency launched MagQuest, a $1.2 million global open innovation challenge. NGA calls upon solvers to submit novel approaches to geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model.

Earth is a large magnet, and both digital and analog compasses are oriented by the magnetic force at a user's location. Since geographic and magnetic poles do not align, geomagnetic models like the WMM correct for this difference. As the Earth's magnetic field is constantly changing, the difference between geographic and magnetic north also changes, and the WMM must be regularly updated.

The WMM is embedded in thousands of systems, including more than a billion smartphones for mobile navigation apps. 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. Beyond navigation, the WMM ensures precise orientation that supports applications in industries as diverse as energy and telecommunications.


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