Geospatial Research Seminar Series (GRISS) – 20 April 2023


The Rongowai airborne remote sensing mission for GNSS-Reflectometry across New Zealand


Speakers: Prof. Matt Wilson and Prof. Delwyn Moller


Prof Matt Wilson, Director, GRI, University of Canterbury

Prof Delwyn MollerUniversity of Auckland


The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), such as from the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Galileo constellations, emit radio signals in the L-band to enable precise positioning on the Earth’s surface. GNSS has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives, underpinning location-based technologies from traffic routing to precision agriculture. These GNSS “signals of opportunity” have been used in novel space borne missions such as CyGNSS (Cyclone GNSS), which is primarily designed to observe the ocean surface under tropical cyclone systems. However, signals reflected from the land surface have been found to sensitive to soil moisture and surface water, providing a valuable additional source of data for the terrestrial hydrosphere.

Building on the legacy of CyGNSS, in a unique partnership, the Rongowai mission comprises of a next-generation receiver (NGRx) mounted on a domestic Air New Zealand Q300 aircraft (ZK-NFA), for a planned aircraft lifetime until 2030. During the aircrafts’ routine scheduled operations, Rongowai autonomously records reflected GNSS signals, then transmits data via a cellular connection once the aircraft has landed. Since its first flight on 13 September 2022, with around 50 flights per week, Rongowai has recorded reflected GNSS signals across much of the country, including observing floods in the Auckland and Northland regions in early February 2023. In this talk, we will provide an overview of the mission, outline the current and planned data processing, and present some of the early findings.





Thursday 20 April 2023
Ernest Rutherford 263 | University of Canterbury or Online via Zoom

  • Refreshments & Networking:  12:30-13:00
  • Seminar:   13:00-14:00


All are welcome!



Seminar’s video recording:



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