Weather forecast and Android smartphone: ESA’s test on satellites

We may not realize that the smartphone in our possession can help science improve weather forecasts. At least, this is what the European Space Agency, which started the project, hopes Camaliotled by ETH Zurich in collaboration with the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA).

Camaliot is none other than one simple app for android (from 7.0 onwards) – at the moment, at least, iOS is excluded – compatible with over 50 different smartphone models equipped with dual frequency satellite receivers. It was developed for the collection of data from satellites through Android smartphones: as explained on the official page of the application, GNSS satellites are obviously indispensable for navigation systems, but they can also be used for the collection of data for purely scientific purposes.

The GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System, the set of satellites that orbit the Earth) like the European Galileo have revolutionized everyday life. And the precisely modulated signals continuously generated by dozens of GNSS satellites in orbit also prove to be a valuable resource for science, increasingly used to study Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and surface environments – Vicente Navarro, ESA

The practical example is provided to us directly by the European Space Agency: “tens of thousands of permanent GNSS stations continuously record satellite navigation data. As satellite signals travel to Earth, they are changed by the water vapor in the lower atmosphere, helping us predict rain in particular“.

The Camaliot app is able to collect data on signal strength: by crossing the information collected from smartphones with weather data, ESA believes that extremely detailed information will be obtained that will allow measure long-term changes in water vapor. In particular, the app’s data will be fed to the artificial intelligence for one machine learning based weather forecast modeling. In the future, the IoT devices in our homes could also contribute to the collection of this data. And valuable information will also be obtained on events that can potentially disturb communication systems due to solar storms.

HOW THE APP WORKS



The experimentation has been running for about ten days, and to participate you just need to download the Camaliot app (and above all use it: there are also prizes). Its operation is simple:

  • once the app is installed, just click on Start logging to collect data from the satellites
  • to stop the session just click on Stop logging
  • to send the data click on Upload all
  • all data sent is collected in a list within the app
    • data: satellite signal strength, distance, carrier phase and number of carrier phase cycles for each satellite

To incentivize participation, ESA promises prizes at the end of the campaign (until June 30), including an Android smartphone (dual frequency, of course) and Amazon coupons.

To find out more, please consult the link in SOURCE.

  • Camaliot | Android | Google Play Store, Free

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