Watching and Waiting. And Questioning. GPS in the Balance

August 25, 2011 - By

The difference between navigation and communication signals — a key point not well or not at all understood in Washington — and an FCC rule that could cause LightSquared to foot substantial GPS refitting bills even if it prevails to interfere, were two of several subjects that came to light in last week’s “LightSquared Watch” webinar. As the Federal Communications Commission goes through its deliberations, two inside-the-Beltway experts joined me to speculate on what may happen, what we might do about it at that time, and the long, strange trip that brought us to this point. These matters, and your questions answered, in this month’s column. read more

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LightSquared: The Ball is in the FCC’s Court

August 18, 2011 - By

The FCC's public comment period regarding the LightSquared/GPS interference issue has ended and the reply comment period is over as well. To date, more than 3,300 comments were entered that the FCC must sift through and arrive at some sort of conclusion. Following are my last comments filed with the FCC as well as my best guess at where this is heading. read more

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Microsoft Missteps Add to Privacy Jitters

August 17, 2011 - By

Microsoft is contributing to the latest location privacy jitters. Missteps by Microsoft, Apple, and Google have the potential to dampen uptake of location solutions. Microsoft published the estimated locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections. The location database was assembled by Microsoft’s access to Windows phones and by vehicles that drive streets and record Wi-Fi signals accessible from public roads. The data were published on Microsoft’s website. read more

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Last Week’s Solar Storm and the Final LightSquared Push

August 10, 2011 - By

You may not have noticed it, but last Friday we experienced the first serious geomagnetic storm in this solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24), which began in 2009. Not all types of solar activity (sun spots, solar flares, solar burst, and solar radiation) affect GPS receiver operations. Geomagnetic storms are the ones that can cause problems for GPS receivers if those storms are powerful enough. read more

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Product Review: The Trimble Ranger 3

August 10, 2011 - By

The Ranger 3 impressed me from the very first moment I saw the unit. First of all, it is designated correctly by Trimble, and the military and first responder users who wrote me, as a rugged handheld GPS-enabled computer, and it certainly fulfills all the requirements for that designation. If you are looking for a GPS device the size of an Apple iPhone, this is not the device for you. The Trimble Ranger 3 is for the user, and many of you are warfighters and first responders who need a portable and rugged but powerful handheld computer with tightly integrated GPS capabilities that can connect and communicate, wired and wirelessly, with other users and servers. The Ranger 3 can accomplish all that and much more. read more

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Google Buys The Dealmap, Is Social Shopping Market LBS Driver?

August 9, 2011 - By

Once again, it looks as if Google is taking a giant leap into location-based services with its recent acquisition of The Dealmap. Is this deal a signal that LBS market viability may be tied to the social shopping market? The market is potentially huge, with two big players and a third, Google, quickly developing. But is this the market that will propel LBS to the next level? One analyst says yes…and no. read more

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Faster? Shorter? Try Cheaper, Greener: Program Gives Drivers the Most Fuel-Efficient Route

August 1, 2011 - By

Most GPS devices in cars today give the driver two choices: shortest route or fastest route. GreenGPS provides a third option: most fuel-efficient route. With gas prices skyrocketing, many drivers would be happy to spend a few more minutes on the road, or take a different route, if it meant burning less gas. The answer could be the GreenGPS navigation service, now being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), which finds the most fuel-efficient route for your vehicle. read more

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