Abstract. We investigate the magnetospheric domain responsible for the generation of ionospheric travelling convection vortices (TCV) by comparing the location of the TCV to the locations of the low-altitude particle-precipitation boundaries deduced from the DMSP satellite measurements. For three very well documented TCV events we are able to identify suitable satellite passes, in the sense that for each event we can identify two to three passes occurring close to the TCV observation in both time and space. In all three cases the comparisons place the TCV centres at or equatorward of the central plasma sheet/boundary plasma sheet precipitation boundary. Thus our results indicate that the field-aligned currents related to the TCV originate in the plasma sheet rather than at the magnetopause or in the low-latitude boundary layer, as previous studies suggest.