Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The International GNSS Service in a changing landscape of Global Navigation Satellite Systems


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.


  1. Beutler G, Rothacher M, Schaer S, Springer TA, Kouba J, Neilan RE (1999) The International GPS Service (IGS): an interdisciplinary service in support of earth sciences. Adv Space Res 23: 631–635. doi:10.1016/S0273-1177(99)00160-X

  2. Beutler G, Moore AW, Mueller II (2008) The International Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Service: developments and achievements (this issue)

  3. Dow JM, Gendt G, Moore A, Neilan RE, Weber R (2004) The International GPS Service—what’s next? 10th anniversary assembly charts future directions. In: Proceedings of ION GNSS 2004, Long Beach, CA, USA, 21–24 September, 1741–1748

  4. Dow JM, Neilan RE, Gendt G (2005) The International GPS Service: celebrating the 10th anniversary and looking to the next decade. Adv Space Res 36: 320–326. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2005.05.125

  5. Dow JM, Neilan RE, Weber R, Gendt G (2007) Galileo and the IGS: Taking advantage of multiple GNSS constellations. Adv Space Res 39: 1545–1551. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2007.04.064

  6. Gendt GS, Rothacher M, GGSP Prototype Team (2007) Realisation and maintenance of the Galileo Terrestrial Reference Frame (GTRF). In: Proceedings of 1st colloquium on scientific and fundamental aspects of the Galileo programme, Toulouse, France, 1–4 October

  7. GGOS (2008) http://www.ggos.org

  8. IAG (2008) http://www.iag-aig.org

  9. IERS (2008) http://www.iers.org

  10. IGS (2008) http://igs.org

  11. IGSRT (2008) http://www.rtigs.net

  12. PNT (2008) http://pnt.gov

  13. Slater JA, Weber R, Fragner D (2004) The IGS GLONASS Pilot Project—transitioning an experiment into an operational GNSS service. In: Proceedings of ION GNSS 2004, Long Beach, CA, USA, 21–24 September, 1749–1757

  14. UNOOSA (2008) International Committee on GNSS (ICG) website: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/SAP/gnss/icg.html

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to John M. Dow.

Additional information

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00190-009-0315-4

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dow, J.M., Neilan, R.E. & Rizos, C. The International GNSS Service in a changing landscape of Global Navigation Satellite Systems. J Geod 83, 191–198 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00190-008-0300-3

Download citation