Help at UNAVCO Frequently Asked Questions General FAQs Community FAQs Project FAQs Instrumentation & Equipment FAQs Data FAQs Software FAQs Science FAQs Education & Outreach FAQs

GAGE Facility Support FAQs


The following FAQs are presented for reference for new UNAVCO PIs, researchers, and students to provide an overview of resources, service and support available through the GAGE Facility.

General FAQs

[+] How do I contact UNAVCO?

Use our Request Support form, or use section and specialized email lists, or see our Staff Directory, or other Contact information. But if you are still in doubt, email helpunavco.org.

[+] What types of research are UNAVCO PIs involved with?

The UNAVCO community is engaged in geodetic research which includes earthquake processes, mantle properties, active magmatic systems, plate boundary zone deformation, intraplate deformation, glacial isostatic adjustment, global geodesy and plate tectonics, global change, polar processes, hydrogeodesy, and atmospheric sciences.

[+] What is the difference between GPS and GNSS?

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is the standard generic term for satellite navigation constellations that provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning with global coverage. The United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) has been the only fully operational GNSS since the mid-1990s and accordingly accounts for the bulk of UNAVCO's available equipment and project support. However, UNAVCO's Development & Testing activities include other GNSS technologies, such as using GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou/Compass, QZSS, and SBAS.

[+] Does UNAVCO maintain information about GNSS modernization?

Yes, see GNSS Modernization.

[+] Is there a forum where I can stay abreast of technical news and information related to GNSS?

Yes, there is a UNAVCO Bulletin Board to help inform our community of relevant technical information and developments.

[+] Can I provide UNAVCO feedback on the quality and effectiveness of service provided to me?

Yes, in addition to contacting staff members at anytime, PIs are asked to complete our user questionnaire to provide feedback on our services. Use our Questionnaire to provide feedback to help us monitor performance, evaluate our effectiveness and improve our service.

Community FAQs

[+] How do I become a member of UNAVCO?

To apply for institutional membership, please complete the Membership Application. Shortly after your application is received and conditional approval is granted, you will be notified of the next steps including where to remit the fee. In the event that more information is needed, you will be notified.

[+] What is the difference between a full Member and an Associate Member?

Members are educational or nonprofit institutions chartered in the United States (US) or its Territories who are willing to make a clear and continuing commitment to active participation in the activities of the organization. Such activities include corporate governance and participation in decisions that affect the programs, facilities, and scientific mission of UNAVCO. Institutions that are engaged in research that advance the mission of UNAVCO, but that otherwise do not qualify for membership (e.g., non-US educational or research institutions), may be accepted for Associate Membership.

[+] What are the benefits of becoming a Member of UNAVCO?

Full Members receive:

  • A direct role in setting policy and priority for the UNAVCO community and facilities
  • An institutional vote in the election of members of the UNAVCO Board of Directors
  • Participation in UNAVCO meetings and specialized workshops
  • Access to special pricing on equipment based on UNAVCO vendor agreements for group purchases

Associate Members receive:

  • Membership in an international community committed to scholarly research and education using geodesy
  • Access to technical resources and expertise offered by UNAVCO on its Web site and through its engineering and data services personnel
  • Support for participation in UNAVCO meetings and specialized workshops
  • Access to special pricing on equipment based on UNAVCO vendor agreements for group purchases within the U.S.; leverage in negotiating pricing abroad. Some vendors may provide special pricing to UNAVCO Associate Members directly

[+] What is the fee for membership?

There is a one-time fee of US$1,000. Membership terms must be renewed every three years. While a renewal does not require an additional fee, full Members are expected to have participated in governance either directly or by casting a ballot during a recent board election.

[+] How does my Institution change the Member Representative?

In the event of a change in representation, the written appointment by the appropriate administrator at the Member institution (e.g., dean) shall be filed with the Secretary of the Corporation (see list of current Officers), and should be copied to communityunavco.org.

[+] Who currently serves on the UNAVCO Board of Directors?

[+] Can I get a discount on equipment if my institution is a member?

Members receive access to special pricing on equipment based on UNAVCO vendor agreements for group purchases within the U.S. or leverage in negotiating pricing abroad. Some vendors may provide special pricing to UNAVCO Associate Members directly.

[+] How do I get support to attend a meeting, workshop, or short course?

Sometimes support for students, post-docs and/or early career scientists (the latter two within 5 years of being awarded a Ph.D.) is available for UNAVCO offered meetings, workshops, or short courses. The meeting registration page will indicate available support, the criteria for awarding support, and the method for requesting support.

Member and Associate Member representatives receive a subvention for attending the biannual UNAVCO Science Workshop, that typically takes place in March of even numbered years. This support is not transferable as it recognizes the Representative's role.

Project FAQs

[+] Where can I find some examples and information about projects that the GAGE Facility supports?

See major projects such as:

and see other projects and past projects


[+] What technologies does UNAVCO currently support for PI science investigations?

  • GPS/GNSS campaigns, permanent station networks and kinematic surveys
  • SAR and airborne LIDAR data acquisition
  • Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS)

[+] What resources are available to investigators?

  • Qualified staff with specific expertise in supporting scientific research projects involving application of advanced technologies
  • Equipment pool of newest generation GPS/GNSS receivers and related equipment
  • Discounted equipment through established UNAVCO member pricing
  • Development & testing
  • SAR and airborne LIDAR data acquisition and production services
  • Ground-based Terrestrial Laser Scanning services
  • Support for special demands of polar projects
  • Borehole geophysical instrumentation
  • Hazard response following significant earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or other notable geophysical events
See more about our Project Support & Services.

[+] What are some of the specific services and support that UNAVCO provides?

  • Project planning and proposal budget development
  • Equipment purchasing, assembly and configuration
  • Project management
  • GNSS campaign and kinematic survey support
  • GNSS Permanent station installation
  • Establishment of networked data communications
  • Network monitoring, operations and maintenance services
  • Site information management
  • Field engineering services
  • Technical support
  • Training for campaign and permanent station deployments (data processing training available through affiliated facilities)
  • Equipment testing
  • Integration and development of customized equipment
  • Equipment repair services
  • Logistics services for shipping and tracking globally deployed assets
  • Financial management
  • Property tracking and management
  • Data management and archiving services
  • Support for education & outreach

[+] What are the different phases in the typical GNSS project life cycle?

  • Technical planning and budget development for proposals
  • Pre-deployment planning, preparation and training
  • Data collection and network installation, operation and maintenance
  • Data preprocessing and distribution
  • Data processing and scientific analysis
  • Archiving of data and science products

See UNAVCO Project Life Cycle.

[+] I am working on a proposal for one of the NSF-EAR, NSF-OPP, or NASA Science Mission Directorate programs. What can I expect from UNAVCO?

UNAVCO can help with technical planning and budgeting for proposals involving GNSS, TLS, InSAR, airborne LIDAR and geochronology services. Instructions for initiating UNAVCO involvement in the proposal process and what to expect at this project phase can be found at Technical Planning & Budget Development for New Proposals.

[+] What costs does the PI typically incur for UNAVCO's participation? What UNAVCO resources are provided free?

Salaries of UNAVCO staff members are provided by NSF and NASA for participation in supported projects and need not be budgeted for in the PIs budget. Travel, shipping, non-pool equipment and other related project costs are paid for by the PI. Funds for these are made available through subaward or through direct transfer from NSF. Authorized users may use pool equipment for free. Access to archive and related services is free. Where equipment purchases are required, substantial discounts are available on commonly used items through pre negotiated arrangements.

[+] Does UNAVCO maintain a set of guidelines or best practices for GNSS based science investigations?

Yes, we provide extensive guidelines for PIs, including best practice information for GPS/GNSS Campaign & Kinematic surveys and for GPS/GNSS Permanent Station support, both of which include information about equipment and field procedures for high precision GNSS applications.

[+] What are some of the forms I'll need during my project?

[+] Does UNAVCO provide user training in high-precision GNSS data collection?

UNAVCO provides user training in all aspects of high precision GNSS data collection. This is typically provided in conjunction with support for specific projects, but occasionally, general training sessions are provided.

Instrumentation & Equipment FAQs

[+] What instruments/equipment is available through the UNAVCO equipment pool?

Instruments and equipment, available on priority basis to assigned projects, include the following:

  • Topcon GB-1000 GPS/GLONASS receivers
  • Trimble 5700/R7 GPS receivers
  • Trimble NetRS GPS and NetR9 GNSS receivers
  • Multiple antenna types
  • Ancillary equipment for campaign and semi permanent deployments; limited RTK equipment available
  • Terrestrial laser scanners

More information about equipment available to NSF-EAR and NASA PIs and NSF-OPP PIs.

[+] Are there any policies I should know of regarding use of UNAVCO pool equipment?

Yes, equipment is assigned on a highest priority, first come first served basis to projects sponsored by NSF-EAR, NSF-OPP and NASA Science Mission Directorate. GNSS equipment may be used for campaigns or RTK surveys or for semi permanent deployment where equipment will be returned to the pool after an agreed upon term. Pool equipment cannot be used for permanent installation. UNAVCO policy requires PIs to be qualified to properly use and care for equipment through participation in UNAVCO training (or be waived based on previous experience) prior to accessing pool equipment. The PI or an authorized representative of the PI's institution must sign an Equipment Loan Agreement that specifies specific terms and responsibilities.

[+] Where can I find more information on equipment discounts available to UNAVCO members?

As a benefit to members, UNAVCO has established special pricing with a number of vendors who supply equipment that is commonly used and supported within the community. These arrangements allow UNAVCO members to take advantage of discounts that may not otherwise be available. See more about special pricing available to UNAVCO members at Instrumentation/Equipment Purchases.

[+] What are UNAVCO's equipment testing capabilities and where can I find information on tests performed?

UNAVCO is the community's primary resource for technical information about equipment. Part of the resource provided by UNAVCO is the capability to facilitate and perform testing of GPS receivers and related equipment such as DC power and communication systems. UNAVCO maintains the capability to conduct a number of testing activities designed to assess various data quality issues, power consumption, usability and worthiness under harsh circumstances. Capabilities include data collection, processing, and analysis. Special facilities include an environmental testing chamber and special accommodations at the Marshall Test Facility, where monument, antenna and communications testing is conducted, and at the Niwot Ridge TundraLab where specialized cold weather testing is conducted for polar projects. See more information on other Development & Testing activities.

[+] What information about equipment is available through the UNAVCO web site?

Yes, we provide extensive information for both GPS/GNSS Campaign and Permanent Station Equipment commonly used within the community. Also see Instrumentation.

Data FAQs

[+] What is the UNAVCO GPS/GNSS archive?

As part of the UNAVCO Data Center, UNAVCO operates a community GPS/GNSS archive, which provides long-term secure storage and easy retrieval of GNSS data, various derived products, and related metadata. The GPS/GNSS Archive primarily stores high-precision geodetic data used for research purposes, collected under National Science Foundation and NASA sponsored projects. A relational database management system (RDBMS) is used to facilitate data and metadata entry and retrieval. Find more information about Data Management & Archiving.

[+] What is the UNAVCO SAR archive?

As part of the UNAVCO Data Center, UNAVCO operates a community SAR archive, which provides long-term secure storage and easy retrieval of SAR data, related metadata, and (in the near future) various derived products. Please see SAR Data for more information.

[+] What are UNAVCO policies regarding data?

All GPS/GNSS data collected on NSF-EAR funded projects must be submitted to the UNAVCO Archive for long term preservation. Data distribution policy includes free availability of all GNSS data. See the UNAVCO Data Policy. Policies for SAR data are determined by the space agency source; see SAR Satellites.

[+] How do I access data in the UNAVCO GPS/GNSS archive?

There are various GPS/GNSS access methods. For example, RINEX formatted GNSS data and other data can be retrieved using anonymous ftp.

[+] How do I access data in the UNAVCO SAR archive?

You will need to be a member of WInSAR and Apply for SAR Data Access.

[+] How do I submit data or solutions to the UNAVCO GPS/GNSS archive?

See instructions for Submission of Data.

[+] What is GSAC and where can I get more information?

The Geodetic Seamless Archive Centers (GSACs) are a collection of geodesy data archives and their operating agencies who agree to exchange information about data holdings in order that users need not contact each archive separately to locate data. GSAC is also the software that facilites this activity. It also provides data and metadata via web services. See more information about the GSAC project.

Software FAQs

[+] What software tools does UNAVCO support?

UNAVCO supports software for various GPS/GNSS data requirements, for TLS and SAR data, visualization, and geodetic tools. See more information on Software.

[+] What is TEQC and where can I find more information about it?

TEQC is a software tool kit developed by UNAVCO for translating, editing and quality checking GPS or other GNSS data, including related augmentation data, such as meteorological data co-collected with GPS/GNSS data. See more about teqc.

[+] Does UNAVCO support high precision data processing?

UNAVCO does provide high precision data processing as a service, both through the GAGE processing service and through related facilities. See more information on GPS/GNSS Post-Processing.

Science FAQs

[+] Who do I contact at UNAVCO about media relations?

If you are a reporter, press officer or other media contact who would like to discuss any type of media relation, such as an interview, information for a story, how to reach researchers for information/interview, notification of a press release or story release or other media-related information, please contact scienceunavco.org.

[+] What science discoveries are highlighted in Science Snapshots?

UNAVCO's Geodetic Science Snapshots typically highlight recent peer-reviewed publications of interesting science discoveries where UNAVCO services or support were involved.

[+] How do I suggest a publication or science discovery to highlight on UNAVCO's Geodetic Science Snapshots?

Please contact scienceunavco.org with any suggestions for publications or science discoveries to highlight on Science Snapshots.

[+] Does UNAVCO maintain an archive of news coverage of UNAVCO-supported science and services?

Yes, UNAVCO maintains a non-comprehensive list of links to news coverage of science and services related to UNAVCO in our News area.

[+] Does UNAVCO maintain an archive of peer-reviewed publications that cite UNAVCO?

Yes, UNAVCO maintains a non-comprehensive list of publications that cite UNAVCO plus some statistics on uses of UNAVCO services by the research community in our Community Publications.

[+] How do I suggest a media posting or publication for inclusion in UNAVCO's lists of news or publications respectively?

Please contact scienceunavco.org with full citation of a publication or media posting.

[+] How can I get nearly "instant" coverage of publications, media coverage or other research highlights where UNAVCO was involved?

Please contact scienceunavco.org for consideration of a near real-time Tweet of your research highlight.

[+] How do I cite UNAVCO's services or support in a publication or other posting?

Please see UNAVCO's Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Citation Guidance and Attribution of UNAVCO Support & Community Data Sets for more information about citing UNAVCO services, using UNAVCO's DOIs for data and other citation/attribution information.

Education & Outreach FAQs

[+] What type of education and outreach activities is UNAVCO involved in?

UNAVCO can assist with:

  • the development and writing of the Broader Impacts section of community PI proposals
  • guidance and best practices on student mentoring
  • student mentoring through RESESS
  • geodetic-focused field education
  • professional development for early-career graduate and undergraduate students and researchers
  • educational materials review and dissemination

See Education & Outreach Services for more details.

[+] What kind of proposal guidance for broader impacts does UNAVCO provide?

UNAVCO will assist PIs in development of their broader impacts for NSF proposals as well as for the education and public outreach component of NASA proposals. The NSF Grant Proposal Guide is an excellent place to start. NASA provides guidance online as well.

UNAVCO staff can work with you on refining your broader impacts, helping to set a reasonable budget for implementation & evaluation, and executing your projects. Please see our Broader Impacts page for more info.

Other general tips:

  • Broader Impacts includes education (formal and informal) and public outreach activities.
  • Outreach needs to be top notch and visible.
  • Build relationships before specific grant opportunity is needed.
  • Impact should fit with your research, it must use your research/discoveries as the base, and it needs to make sense.
  • Be clear about how you will fund broader impact activities.
  • Be clear about how you will measure success (evaluation).

[+] What kind of proposal guidance is available for student support?

UNAVCO manages RESESS, an undergraduate research internship focused on increasing the diversity in geosciences. PIs can include support for an undergraduate student to conduct research with them for one or more summers.

87% of RESESS alumni are in geoscience graduate school or working in a geosciences-focused profession. PIs provide support for salary. Programmatic support is funded by the RESESS program and UNAVCO. (Programmatic support includes conference travel, registration, GRE preparation, communications workshop, and leadership training in addition to other infrastructure support). Please see our Student Support Proposal Guidance section of our Broader Impacts page for more info.

To include support for a RESESS student in your proposal, send an email to resessresess's email addressunavco.org.

[+] How can UNAVCO help PIs with conducting Short Courses?

UNAVCO provides an annual series of short courses focused on UNAVCO tools and data streams. Short Courses are offered to enhance the capacity of our scientific community to process, analyze, and interpret various types of geodetic data. PIs who are developing tools, data products, and related materials focused on UNAVCO-supported science can receive logistical support for short courses. PIs support student and instructor travel expenses and food during the short course; UNAVCO provides logistical support and can host the short course. Please contact educationunavco.org

[+] What is available to PIs in terms of curriculum design and instructional support?

UNAVCO provides support to instructional staff and faculty on curriculum design and instruction focused on geodesy and UNAVCO-supported science. Services include facilitation of new curriculum materials, guidance on revision of existing materials, and development of ancillary tools and materials.

[+] When is the next UNAVCO short course or workshop on TLS, or SAR, or GPS/GNSS ...?

See Short Courses in our Education section.

[+] What opportunities are available for students?


Last modified: 2019-12-24  01:31:44  America/Denver