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NGA Names Winners of Recent Geomagnetic Field Competition

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The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has unveiled the winners of an 18-month, $2.1 million challenge for technologies designed to measure or quantify the planet Earth’s magnetic field.

“The importance of the World Magnetic Model cannot be overstated: It is critical to keeping everyday navigational systems running,” said NGA senior GEOINT authority J.N. Markiel, Ph.D. “MagQuest has advanced scientific and technical innovations that could be key to the future of geomagnetic data collection, specifically approaches that are both sustainable and scalable.”

The first place winner, Iota Technology, will be awarded $350K, NGA said Tuesday. MagQuest seeks innovative technologies that could support the World Magnetic Model, a standard that guides navigation and referencing done through Earth’s geomagnetic field.

A Spire Global-SB Quantum team and University of Colorado Boulder will each receive $225K as the competition’s second placers. NGA plans to use MagQuest’s results as input for the future procurement of a global magnetic field data collection system. The agency seeks to operate the sought technology by 2027.

“We are thrilled by how open innovation has allowed us to bring pioneering ideas to life and spur novel technological advancements,” Markiel said. “The competition has not only driven new approaches to geomagnetic data collection, but also shows how open innovation can be used to support the future of critical scientific infrastructure.”