NetPICOmag: A low-cost networked magnetometer and its applications

I. Schofield, M. Connors, C. T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


NetPICOmag (NPM) is the culmination of a design effort to build a compact, low-cost, laboratory-grade, networked magnetometer designed for remote autonomous operation, suited for research and education. NPM allows wide placement of magnetometers sensitive enough to detect auroral activity and the daily variation, and is suitable for education projects and a range of geophysical applications. The use of networked microcontrollers and GPS timing is applicable to other small instruments for field or local deployment, and an onboard data logging capability has also been demonstrated. We illustrate the value of the placement of low-cost magnetometers to increase coverage in an area through the study of a Pc 5 pulsation event which took place on September 4, 2010. By combining results with those from auroral zone magnetometers supporting the THEMIS project, we find that the phase velocity of these morning sector pulsations was northward on the ground. The event took place under very quiet solar wind conditions, and credible mapping associates it with the inner magnetosphere. Another aspect beyond increasing areal coverage is increasing density of coverage, which becomes feasible with instruments of very low cost. We examine aspects of the April 5, 2010 space weather event which are possible to deduce from closely spaced magnetometers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-297
Number of pages19
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Education
  • Instrumentation
  • Pc 5
  • Pulsation
  • Substorm


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