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Precise GNSS helps researchers understand the behavior of active volcanoes.

How we helped provide accurate location data in challenging and remote locations.
To understand the movement of magma within Italy’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, researchers like Juraj Papčo look to improve their ability to predict volcanic unrest or eruption. The work requires accurate GNSS positioning in difficult— and sometimes dangerous—environments.

Measuring vertical gradients of gravity on the slopes of Mount Etna helps forecast volcanic hazards. While Mount Etna is surrounded by geodetic control points, conducting real-time GNSS observations was challenging, and quite dangerous. Inconsistent cellular service made connection to Italy’s real-time GNSS network difficult and constraints on radio licensing ruled out conventional survey approach.


To ensure reliable GNSS performance, Papčo turned to Trimble® CenterPoint ® RTX positioning service. Papčo used CenterPoint RTX to capture data at 17 locations where gravity data was collected. At each gravity point, he measured additional ground points to provide check data for the elevation models. He processed the static data using Trimble Business Center software (TBC) and compared the results with Trimble RTX and previous measurements by the Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology.

“Using RTX corrections was very exciting. On many points, especially the higher part of the volcano, internet signals were poor or none at all. Only by using RTX were we able to collect real-time data. Without RTX, it would have been very difficult and complicated to navigate to the desired points.” – Juraj Papčo


The work on Mount Etna is helping scientists understand how surface deformations and gravity changes indicate the magma redistribution. It is providing tools to better predict and characterize volcanic unrest or eruption activity.

About Trimble CenterPoint RTX

Built on Trimble’s exclusive RTX technology, Trimble CenterPoint RTX provides high-accuracy GPS positioning services via satellite or cellular delivery worldwide. It’s ideal for jobs requiring high accuracy in remote locations.
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