Scalar Calibration of Vector Magnetometers

José M.G. Merayo, Peter Brauer, Fritz Primdahl, Jan Raagaard Petersen, Otto V Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The calibration parameters of a vector magnetometer are estimated only by the use of a scalar reference magnetometer. The method presented in this paper differs from those previously reported in its linearized parametrization. This allows the determination of three offsets or signals in the absence of a magnetic field, three scale factors for normalization of the axes and three non-orthogonality angles which build up an orthogonal system intrinsically in the sensor. The advantage of this method compared with others lies in its linear least squares estimator, which finds independently and uniquely the parameters for a given data set. Therefore, a magnetometer may be characterized inexpensively in the Earth's magnetic-field environment. This procedure has been used successfully in the pre-flight calibration of the state-of-the-art magnetometers on board the magnetic mapping satellites Orsted, Astrid-2, CHAMP and SAC-C. By using this method, full-Earth-field-range magnetometers (+/-65536.0 nT) can be characterized down to an absolute precision of 0.5 nT, non-orthogonality of only 2 arcsec and a resolution of 0.2 nT.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMeas. Sci. Technol.
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)120-132
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • linearization
  • tri-axial magnetometer
  • least squares
  • calibration

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