The International GNSS Service in a changing landscape of Global Navigation Satellite Systems
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- Dow, J.M., Neilan, R.E. & Rizos, C. J Geod (2009) 83: 191. doi:10.1007/s00190-008-0300-3
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The International GNSS Service (IGS) is an international activity involving more than 200 participating organisations in over 80 countries with a track record of one and a half decades of successful operations. The IGS is a service of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG). It primarily supports scientific research based on highly precise and accurate Earth observations using the technologies of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), primarily the US Global Positioning System (GPS). The mission of the IGS is “to provide the highest-quality GNSS data and products in support of the terrestrial reference frame, Earth rotation, Earth observation and research, positioning, navigation and timing and other applications that benefit society”. The IGS will continue to support the IAG’s initiative to coordinate cross-technique global geodesy for the next decade, via the development of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS), which focuses on the needs of global geodesy at the mm-level. IGS activities are fundamental to scientific disciplines related to climate, weather, sea level change, and space weather. The IGS also supports many other applications, including precise navigation, machine automation, and surveying and mapping. This article discusses the IGS Strategic Plan and future directions of the globally-coordinated ~400 station IGS network, tracking data and information products, and outlines the scope of a few of its numerous working groups and pilot projects as the world anticipates a truly multi-system GNSS in the coming decade.