AMIC is a project that aims to deploy a worldwide network of continuously operating affordable GNSS receivers at remote locations or areas with difficult access. This network is called ACORN (AMIC Continuously Operating Reference Network) and will densify currently existing CORS GNSS networks, thus improving the global sounding of Earth’s atmosphere, in particular the computation of Global Ionospheric Maps.

  • Title: AMIC
  • Funder: ESA
  • Duration: 24 Months

Keywords: GNSS, Ionosphere, Atmosphere, CORS network


The AMIC project (funded by ESA) aims at the deployment of affordable GNSS receivers (Rokubun's MEDEA GNSS receiver) into areas with difficult access in order to complement already existing networks such as IGS or EUREF.

Why another network?

The main problem of current networks are the areas with scarcity of GNSS receivers (e.g. deserts). Look for instance in Africa (in the figure below), northern latitudes, Western South America, ... In addition, for ionospheric activities, these are interesting areas to monitor due to the presence of the Equator anomaly or the presence of Auroras.

In order to remedy this, AMIC proposes the deployment of ACORN (AMIC Continuously Operating Reference Station Network), a network based entirely on affordable receivers logging data and sending them to the ESA's GSSC data repository.

Map of global IGS receiver network, it shows well coverage in areas like (Europe) with lack of receivers in remote areas like (deserts, oceans, ....) 

The network receivers

The AMIC GNSS receiver is the MEDEA GNSS navigation computer, which is a versatile GNSS receiver based on the u-blox ZED-F9P GNSS chipset. This u-blox chipset is a dual frequency (L1/L2/E5b) receiver able to track multiple constellations (GPS, Galileo, Beidou, Glonass, QZSS, ...). The MEDEA GNSS navigation computer developed by Rokubun, which follows the trend of the new generation of affordable GNSS receivers.


The power consumption of the device is very low (similar to the consumption of a Raspberry Pi).

Each AMIC GNSS device transfers around 35 Mbytes per day of data to ESA servers in Europe. The AMIC receivers have these main characteristics:

  • Are affordable enough (~ 1k€) so that they might be easier to replace in the likely event that the device is lost or damaged in remote areas, where human access can be challenging.
  • They are shipped preconfigured so that they have to be plugged and left. The standard configuration is logging of GNSS pseudo ranges, carrier-phase, Doppler and SNR at 1Hz rate
  • Storing data in RINEX file, with file rotation of 15 minutes.
  • Whenever a new RINEX file is available and connectivity is up, it will be automatically uploaded to ESA's GSSC servers.
  • The receiver can handle intermittent Internet connectivity outages, as it can store 1 month worth of data.

AMIC in ESA’s GSSC Now platform

All the data generated by the AMIC receivers is published to the ESA GSSC Now platform, under the ACORN Collection. Moreover, the ESA GSSC Now platform contains a Datalab (i.e. Jupyter notebook working space) that will guide you through the process of:

  • Fetching AMIC data from the GSSC Now data repository of the ACORN network
  • Estimate the code and phase observable noise
  • Compute the Rate Of TEC Index (ROTI) to monitor the ionospheric scintillation