MagQuest Challenge

Millions of dollars in funding to build, launch & operate new technology that maps the world’s magnetic fields

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding

The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is sponsoring MagQuest to accelerate novel approaches to geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model (WMM). Because the Earth’s magnetic fields are constantly in motion, government agencies and private businesses alike depend on regularly updated measurements to keep modern life running smoothly. All of our navigation systems, from the GPS guiding commercial airliners to the map apps in our smartphones count on the WMM. Yet the current WMM relies on data from an aging satellite system.

With MagQuest, NGA aims to inspire and encourage the development of powerful new technologies to collect the magnetic measurements essential for updating and maintaining the WMM. During this stage of the competition, Phase 4a, the three remaining teams will build their proposed magnetometers — tools to measure magnet forces. Then, their magnetometers will undergo independent testing at NASA’s world-renowned Goddard Space Flight Center.

Episode 36: Get to know the World Magnetic Model

Today, we’re talking about something that’s kind of a big deal, but most people have never heard of it. Here’s a few hints. It’s embedded in thousands of systems, including more than a billion smartphones for mobile navigation apps. It’s critical for the military and commercial uses around the world and is the standard for the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Defense, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the International Hydrographic Organization. It supports navigation for submarines, satellites and aircraft, while also informing operational logistics, like the numbering of runways. And, beyond navigation, it ensures precise orientation that supports applications and industries as diverse of energy and telecommunications. If you haven’t guessed what it is yet -- we don’t blame you. We’re talking about the world magnetic model.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.

Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.