The Argos Data Collection and location System (DCS) is a data collection and relay program that provides global coverage and platform location. The Argos program is administered under a joint agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the French Space Agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Additional partners include EUMETSAT and ISRO.
The system consists of in-situ data collection platforms equipped with sensors and transmitters and the Argos instrument aboard polar-orbiting satellites. The global environmental data sets are collected at telemetry ground stations in Fairbanks, Alaska; Wallops Island, Virginia; and Svalbard, Norway; and pre-processed by the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) in Suitland, Maryland. Two CNES subsidiary companies, Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS) in Toulouse, France and CLS America in Lanham, Maryland process the data and deliver it to the end user.
Flying the Argos system aboard polar-orbiting satellites provides worldwide coverage. Additionally, incorporating the Argos instrument on a moving satellite allows for locating an in-situ platform using Doppler shift calculations. This positioning capability permits a wide variety of applications such as monitoring drifting ocean buoys and studying wildlife migration paths.
There are currently more than 21,000 active Argos platforms collecting data for over 2,000 distinct projects in 100+ countries. Notably, U.S. applications account for ~40% of total system use, on average; and there are 44 distinct projects being managed by various NOAA offices.