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NSF 19-072

Dear Colleague Letter: The future sustainability of operational and maintenance support for continuous GPS/GNSS Networks

June 10, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) is to inform the community of NSF's considerations for divestment of about 10% of the Global Positioning System (GPS)/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations that comprise the Network of the Americas (NOTA) as part of the Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geosciences award to UNAVCO, Inc. (GAGE, EAR-1851159). NSF may consider providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain divested stations (including instrumentation and station monuments) or station monuments where existing instrumentation is poorly performing in exchange for those parties agreement to sponsor continued operations of the stations, including by making collected data freely available to the geoscience research community through September 30, 2023, and archiving it at the Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geosciences award to UNAVCO, Inc. (GAGE, EAR-1851159) data repository for at least that same period.

NOTA is currently comprised of 1278 stations that span much of the North American continent including stations across the continental U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean basin. NSF anticipates future funding availability to support a network of about 1100 stations. Considerations for anticipated prioritization for station divestment has been based on community input from the 2014 Community Workshop: The Future of PBO in the GAGE Facility (2013-2018) and after EarthScope and a GAGE Geodetic Infrastructure Advisory Committee report that was approved by the UNAVCO Board of Directors. Under GAGE, UNAVCO has evaluated stations for possible decommissioning with a focus on the following reasons: 1) poor performance of existing instrumentation; 2) spatial redundancy; 3) high operations or permitting costs; 4) requirements for ongoing manual data downloading; and 5) lower scientific priority for NSF-supported principal investigators. NSF has assessed these inputs and generally supports the considerations and rationale. More information about NOTA, a list of stations slated for divestment, and station prioritization information can be found at: https://www.unavco.org/projects/major-projects/nota/nota.html.

NSF/Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) welcomes parties interested in adopting one or more of these stations or related station monuments to contact the GAGE program officer identified below by no later than September 30, 2019. NSF may share information submitted in response to this DCL with UNAVCO, Inc. and will otherwise handle the material as nonpublic to the extent allowed by law. This DCL is not a solicitation. No award(s) will be issued as a result of any response. NSF is not committing or obligating any appropriations as a result of this DCL.

For responses or for more information, please contact:

Margaret Benoit, Program Director, GAGE, Division of Earth Sciences

Sincerely,
William E. Easterling
Assistant Director for Geosciences