Real-time geomagnetic data from a Raspberry Pi magnetometer network in the UK

Beggan, Ciaran. 2017 Real-time geomagnetic data from a Raspberry Pi magnetometer network in the UK. [Lecture] In: IAGA 13th Scientific Assembly, Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, 27 Aug - 1 Sept 2017. British Geological Survey. (Unpublished)

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In 2014, BGS and the University of Lancaster won an STFC Public Engagement grant to build and deploy 10 Raspberry Pi magnetometers to secondary schools across the UK. The system uses a Raspberry Pi computer as a logging and data transfer device, connected to a set of three orthogonal miniature fluxgate magnetometers. The system has a nominal sensitivity of around 1 nanoTesla (nT), in each component direction (North, East and Down). This is around twenty times less sensitive than a current scientific-level instrument, but given its relatively low-cost, at about £250 per unit, this is an excellent price-to-performance ratio given we could not improve the sensitivity unless we spent a lot more money. The magnetic data are sampled at a 5 second cadence and sent to the AuroraWatch website at Lancaster University every 2 minutes. The data are freely available to view and download. The primary aim of the project is to encourage students from 14-18 years old to look at how sensors can be used to collect geophysical data and integrate it together to give a wider understanding of physical phenomena. A second aim is to provide useful data on the spatial variation of the magnetic field for analysis of geomagnetic storms, alongside data from the BGS observatory and University of Lancaster’s SAMNET variometer network. We show results from the build, testing and running of the sensors including some recent storms and we reflect on our experiences in engaging schools and the general public with information about the magnetic field. The information to build the system and logging and analysis software for the Raspberry Pi is all freely available.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Date made live: 05 Sep 2017 14:38 +0 (UTC)

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