Come and join in with Magnetic Earth!


Magnetic Earth is a web resource to share the science of geomagnetism. Aimed at students and new researchers (or anyone with an interest), I created the website to provide a friendly introduction to the subject with links to other locations on the internet for people to dig deeper. Moving forward, I want to encourage contributions from others in order to grow this concept as an open community hub to help people navigate research activities, tools, and organisations relevant to studying Earth’s magnetic field.

At you will find a handful of pages with very short introductions to topics related to geomagnetism - mainly about global field modelling as that is what I am familiar with. The content is intentionally kept succinct so that it can quickly give a very broad overview of many areas and be understandable by a wide audience. It is not a tutorial, but a starting point and reference to interlink other resources on the web.

At (“Swarm Notebooks”) you will find a collection of Python-based recipes that can help scientists get started with accessing and analysing data from ESA’s Swarm spacecraft mission which is mapping and monitoring Earth’s magnetic field from space. I am developing this as part of my work in supporting the Swarm Virtual Research Environment - a project which provides a cloud-based computing environment enabling people to more easily write and run code directly through a web browser. The wider goal here is to foster more collaboration and development of sustainable software to interact with Swarm mission products. The Swarm Notebooks website is an example of a more in-depth guide that can be linked to from Magnetic Earth.

How can you help?

An informational resource is only as useful as its content. With more voices we can cover more stuff and multiply its usefulness, so I am trying to make it as easy as possible for anyone to contribute!

  1. Take a quick look at the website - is it useful to you? what is missing?

  2. Check the instructions there for the multiple ways you can give feedback or get involved

How does it work?

The website is generated from code which sits in a repository on GitHub, under the Magnetic Earth GitHub Organisation. GitHub provides the collaborative tooling that lets us robustly and openly develop the website, and directly publish it using GitHub Pages - all for free. I own the domain so that we have a nicer URL, and it also leaves the option open to change the web hosting without changing the location.

The code-driven approach to the website makes it more difficult for people with fewer software skills to edit it but is a longer term maintainable solution - the content source files are written in Markdown so can be transferred to different website generation systems in the future. To alleviate this problem, I provide several no-code ways that people can submit suggestions for content changes/additions. The spirit with which I have set up the website is following in the footsteps of several other great resources out there, such as The Turing Way - a guide to open source community-driven data science.

Ashley Smith is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh, working as part of the Swarm DISC (Data, Innovation, and Science Cluster). He is passionate about computing technologies and open source software and his research interests include geomagnetic field modelling and space weather. He can be contacted by email at


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