An evaluation of interpolation techniques for reconstructing ionospheric TEC maps

Matthew Foster, Adrian Evans

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Maps of the total electron content (TEC) of the ionosphere can be reconstructed using data extracted from GPS signals. For historic and other sparse data sets the reconstruction of TEC images is often performed using a multivariate interpolation technique. Although there are many interpolation methods available only a limited number, for example kriging, have been applied to TEC data. This paper presents a quantitative comparison of various commonly used algorithms for scattered data interpolation over a range of sparsities. Techniques evaluated include a relatively new approach called adaptive normalised convolution ANC, that has not previously been applied to ionospheric reconstruction. The proposed evaluation scheme employs a quantitative methodology applied to both simulated and real TEC data. Results show that although the performance of kriging is good in many cases, it is several times worse than the best performing techniques at some sparsities. Natural neighbour interpolation has a better overall performance than kriging for both simulated and TEC data. Although its performance is a few percent worse than other methods for the simulated data, ANC produces the best performance for the TEC reconstructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2153-2164
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
Early online date15 May 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Reconstruction
  • Ionosphere
  • TEC
  • Interpolation


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